On Sunday July 13, 2015 Mrs. Freddie Ruth Bradley celebrated her 70th Birthday at the Doubletree Hotel Downtown Milwaukee.
Media contact: Tony Tagliavia, Media Manager
WHAT and WHO
As Milwaukee Public Schools marks the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver will visit Craig Montessori School to deliver her message of appreciation in person
It’s one of a number of Teacher Appreciation Week events around the district, including video and email messages from Dr. Driver for all schools, certificates of appreciation for every teacher and digital billboards courtesy of Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel.
Activities at the school level include sharing area discounts and promotions that MPS has arranged with local retailers and cultural organizations, “Thank A Teacher” signs to be shared for use by students and families, and Tumblr postings by students and families (http://milwaukeemps.tumblr.com).
News media interested in spending an hour shadowing a Craig teacher following the event are encouraged and invited to contact Tony Tagliavia, MPS media manager.
Monday, May 4, 2015 at 8:30 a.m
MPS’ Craig Montessori School, 7667 W. Congress Street, Milwaukee 53218
The Milwaukee Youth Council (MYC) will hear from new Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver to gain perspective on issues within the school district and to share their insights on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The formal meeting of the MYC is slated for 4:30 p.m. in the third floor Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.
The Youth Council, composed of young leaders between 14 and 18 years of age, is invested in serving youth in the community. Earlier this month, the Youth Council sent members to the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., and tomorrow the MYC is expected to discuss that trip and ideas and issues garnered from it.
Wednesday’s meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (Channel 25 on Time Warner Cable and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99) in the City of Milwaukee. It can also be viewed via streaming video on the city website at www.city.milwaukee.gov/Channel25.
Go to http://city.milwaukee.gov/YouthCouncil to learn more about the Youth Council.
What: Youth Council meeting
When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
Where: City Hall, third floor Council Chamber
Tony Tagliavia | Media Manager Milwaukee Public Schools
Ronald Reagan IB High School junior Julia Brunson and U.S. History instructor Margaret Holtgreive have been selected to represent Wisconsin in the National History Day organization’s 5th annual Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert Small Student and Teacher Institute.
This powerful program is hosted by the NHD to “provide life-changing educational opportunities to students.”
Brunson, with the guidance of Ms. Holtgreive, will select and research a soldier from Milwaukee who lost his life during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day (June 6, 1944).
Her work will involve research at local and national archives, readings, video interviews and online discussions with other students chosen to participate in this program.
Brunson and Holtgreive will travel to Washington, D.C. and the Normandy region of France this summer to walk in the footsteps of the fallen.
All of Brunson’s hard work will culminate in Normandy where she will present a eulogy to read at the fallen soldier’s gravesite.
National History Day is a non-profit educational organization that was established in 1974 to offer academic programs to middle and high school students through original research work on various historical topics of interest.
Media Manager Department of Community Engagement
Milwaukee Public Schools
SPECIAL SURPRISE AT HIGH SCHOOL PRECEDES THE PUBLIC EVENT ON SUNDAY
MILWAUKEE, WIS. (JAN. 13, 2014) Milwaukee Public Schools and the Milwaukee Performing Center of the Arts will recognize a teacher for long-standing support of the 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration event through student-oriented programming. The award will be presented to a teacher who has contributed to the writing, speech and or art competitions annually and incorporated the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. program into their teaching curriculum.
The announcement will be made on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 that the 2015 winner will be English teacher from Milwaukee Public Schools’ Riverside University High School Ms. Whitney Gulbronson.
Ms. Gulbronson, who is a Riverside grad, was a longtime Dr. King essay contest participant and won a Dr. King scholarship as a student there. Now as a teacher at her alma mater, she encourages her students and students across the school to participate. Recently, Ms. Gulbronson’s students have gone to the semifinal rounds in both the essay and speech contests. Her colleagues recognize her as a dynamic educator who mentors students and is a leader among the staff.
For her exceptional efforts and dedication to the program, Ms. Gulbronson will be recognized in her classroom with a plaque, roses, balloons, a pair of tickets to Blue Man Group showing at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts, and an iPad mini. The award is sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants of Southeastern Wisconsin.
The annual citywide Dr. King celebration will take place at the Marcus Center on Sunday, January 18, 2015. Beginning at 1:00 p.m., the event is free to the public and showcases the diverse talents of Milwaukee’s ethnic performing arts groups.
WHAT: Ms. Whitney Gulbronson, high school English teacher, will be surprised and awarded with tokens of appreciation for her long-standing commitment and support of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
program, provided by McDonald’s
WHEN: Wednesday, January 14 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Riverside University High School, Room 321 1615 E Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI 53211
VISUALS: Principal Michael Harris
President & CEO of the Marcus Center, Mr. Paul Mathews
Ronald McDonald presenting Ms. Gulbronson with gifts
The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) shared and celebrated a record $10 million loan portfolio, its highest in organizational history, at the Annual WWBIC Luncheon on Tuesday, November 11th. The WWBIC Annual Luncheon is the region’s premier microenterprise gathering, drawing high level stakeholders from many worlds: government, financial, corporate, nonprofit, foundations, and other fields.
President/CVO Wendy K. Baumann called out to the audience – noting the current WWBIC ‘million dollar club members’ of PNC Bank, Northern Trust Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago – and asked if other financial institutions wanted to join the ‘club’. Less than one week later, Guaranty Bank stepped up to the table with a million dollar investment in WWBIC’s Loan Impact Fund!
Baumann stated, “I was thrilled with the call from Guaranty Bank and their interest in making another investment and increasing their support to the million dollar level. The power of suggestion and friendly competition amongst financial institutions is strong. Everyone truly wins when banks and credit unions get behind solid lending with business support for local and independent small businesses in our urban and rural communities in Wisconsin.”
WWBIC is having another record year with already 139 micro and small business loans approved totaling $5.8 million and 120 loans closed totaling $4.7 million.
Guaranty Bank’s Senior Vice President/CRA Officer, Nina Johnson, said “We’re happy to join the ranks of other financial institutions contributing significant investments to WWBIC. It’s a natural and mutually beneficial partnership given Guaranty’s commitment to serving hardworking families for more than 90 years. Our Chairman, Gerald Levy, and CEO, Doug Levy, have always reinforced the importance of community in light of the bank’s mission. Guaranty’s dedication to helping customers achieve their financial dreams is demonstrated through a wide array of products such as our latest innovative solution, “Credit Builder”, a $1,000 loan and savings product that is used to help customers build and repair their credit scores. We look forward to supporting WWBIC’s Loan Impact Fund and providing their clients with solutions that strengthen their overall credit rating.”
Guaranty operates more than 120 branches in five states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois, and in Michigan and Georgia under the BestBank banner. As one of the top ten supermarket banks in the country, Guaranty is firmly committed to serving hardworking families and providing customers with the most accessible and convenient banking experiences possible.
WWBIC is a leading innovative statewide economic development corporation “Putting Dreams to Work.” We focus on individuals who face barriers of traditional means by opening opportunity for pursuit of their dreams and economic well-being. We provide targeted individuals interested in starting, strengthening or expanding businesses with access to vital resources and tools such as quality financial and business education and responsible financial products. We improve the economic well-being of targeted low income individuals by building assets and advancing economic self-sufficiency. We particularly focus on women, people of color, and low-income individuals, providing direct lending and access to fair and responsible capital, quality business education, one-on-one technical business assistance and education to increase financial capability.
For more information about WWBIC, please visit
www.wwbic.com<;http://www.wwbic.com> and for more information about Guaranty Bank, please visit
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue…. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” –Proverbs31, in Honor of former State Rep. Polly Williams, courtesy of Urban Cusp.
Former Wisconsin State Representative Annette Polly Williams, nationally and internationally known as the “Mother of Parental School Choice,” a revolutionary, ground-breaking program that allowed parents of any income level—particularly low-income—to send their children to private schools in the Milwaukee and other parts of the state, died Sunday at age 77.
Williams represented the predominately Black and Democratic 10th Assembly District in the Legislature from 1980 when she was first elected, until January 3, 2011.
When she retired, Williams left as the longest serving woman in the history of the Wisconsin state Legislature, serving in that body for 30 years.
The official cause of death has not been publically released. Funeral services will be held Thursday, Nov. 20, at 12 Noon at Parklawn Assembly of God, 3725 N. Sherman Blvd. Visitation will be Tuesday from 9 a.m. at the church until the start of the services.
In a statement, Cong. Gwen Moore, who served with Williams in the state Assembly before moving on to the state Senate and eventually the U.S. Congress, called Williams “a political powerhouse in Wisconsin and throughout the nation, leaving behind a proud, historic legacy of public service.
“She was fiercely independent,” Moore continued, “a free thinker whose determination was only matched by her compassion and concern for her constituents.
“I knew Polly not only as a colleague and mentor, but as a cherished friend,” Moore recalled. “Polly, however powerful, perfected the ‘servant leader’ model. She inspired me and other legislators across Wisconsin, demonstrating honest leadership through service.”
As an example, Moore recalled how Williams prepared meals for bereaved families stricken by tragedy and provided her entire community for the annual free holiday feast.
“She was an example not only to those who wished to serve, but also to all who shared her eagerness to make a difference in their community.”
Former state Senator, now City Treasurer, Spencer Coggs remembered Williams as not only a colleague, but as a maternal figure who counseled and mentored him and other Black members of the Legislature.
“She had gone gray early and she used that to her advantage,” Coggs recalled during a Sunday television interview with WITI-FOX 6 News. “She’d talk to people and say, ‘baby, you gotta do this a certain way,’” Coggs recalled during the interview.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who served with Williams in the Legislature in the 1980s before he too became a U.S. congressman, called Williams, “a fierce fighter for what she believed was right for African American children living in poverty.
“She was relentless on the education front and would go up against absolutely anybody and fight for what she believed in. She was the mother of ‘School Choice.’”
Another former fellow legislator, state Rep. Leon Young, called Williams a “mentor and a trusted colleague, who was always willing to impart some sage advice for the asking.
Noting that Williams will always be remembered for her myriad accomplishments and as the mother of School Choice, Young believed Williams’ greatest attributes was “her unbridled compassion and commitment to the issues she believed in.
“Our community and state has lost a spirited statesperson and advocate.”
Former Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent and education reform advocate, Dr. Howard Fuller, who carried on the Choice revolution in education after he stepped down from that position, reacted to Williams death in a Twitter post: “Our hearts are broken by the death of Polly Williams. Her life meant something to all of us who care about the plight of poor children.
“There would be no parent choice movement had it not been for the courage of Polly Williams. She was the definition of a warrior. May she RIP.”
Kenneth Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), which honored Williams for her courage and leadership in the Parental School Choice movement in 2013, said his organization fights everyday to ensure communities have access to high-quality educational options.
“Polly believed that too and she showed us by never giving up. We are who we are because of her bravery, her compassion and her strength. We will miss her.”
Educator Taki S. Raton, who founded and was principal of Blyden-Delaney Academy, a private Choice School located in the community, called Williams a true icon not just for Milwaukee, but the nation in the field of education, with a focus on African American children in particular.
“What the public school sector needed most was strong, uncompromising and straight forward open competition for area students and Williams’ historic School Choice bill provided that thrust,” Raton said in a statement.
“I am highly grateful and deeply honored that I had the opportunity to both participate and support the Milwaukee Parental Choice School initiative. (Williams’) work, dedication and vision will most certainly be remembered as a major contribution in the option to allow parents a choice in the education of their children.”
A native of Belzoni, Miss. Williams graduated from North Division High School (where, according to noted community activist and historian Reuben Harpole, she got her nickname “Polly” from a classmate), which produced many Black leaders in government, law enforcement, business and sports.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and worked various jobs including, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel typist, cashier, mental health assistant and counselor before her election to the state Assembly in 1980.
It was the same year the push for educational options began, according to a book by MCJ Associate Publisher Mikel Holt on the battle for school choice titled, “Not Yet Free At Last: The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement.”
In an excerpt from his book, Holt notes that out of the disappointment a majority of Black parents had for the 1976 Milwaukee Public School’s desegregation plan emerged, in 1980, newly elected state Representative Williams, a North Division, graduate who he described as: A “former Welfare mother and Urban Day (School) parent…(and) fiery social activist who cut her teeth fighting for predominately Black electorial districts under reapportionment.”
In another excerpt, Holt described Williams’ ambitious vision of education for Black children that became the foundation for the revolutionary reform initiative: “Polly Williams’ vision was the most ambitious of all. She wanted to expose and force the public school system into accountability, but she was also guided by a belief that the public school system as it was structured would never serve the interests of Black and poor people.
“As a result, Williams saw as her mission the creation of a separate Black public school district that would complement a private consortium of nonsectarian and parochial schools. An unwavering advocate of Black independent schools, Williams saw community control of institutions—public or private—as the ultimate goal.”
This ambitious vision would eventually be fashioned—with the help of her legislative aide and friend Larry Harwell, a brilliant strategist and thinker who brought Williams vision to life on paper as legislation—earning her the wrath of her political party, the Democratic Party, and even some of her Black colleagues in the Legislature, MPS and the community.
But it was embraced across the aisle by her Republican colleagues and championed by then Gov. Tommy Thompson. This alliance further strained to the near breaking point Williams’ relationship with her party.
But Williams wouldn’t let partisan politics, nor criticism from segments of her own community and people, deter her from her mission and ultimate goal. “My fight is for our, for my black children — to be able to access this system and get the best that this system offers,” Williams reportedly said about her fight for School Choice.
The vision (albeit altered and somewhat reduced in size) became reality when it was passed by the legislature in 1990—with the backing of Republican lawmakers and Thompson and, ironically, with the opposition of her own Democratic colleagues.
The program spurred other education and community activists around the nation to push for a similar program, which was seen as revolutionary and on a level of importance with the historic U.S. Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
The Parental Choice revolution trail blazed a path that allowed for the creation of other unique education models such as charter schools and schools run by the private sector.
Choice is seen by many who were involved in the movement or who observed it from the periphery as igniting debates on race, class and quality within American education.
In the years following the landmark legislation and enactment of Choice, Williams focused on improving the educational outcomes for children within the Milwaukee Public School district, the very same district she butted heads with before and during her Choice crusade.
She formed an organization of retired educators, parents and concerned citizens called the African American Education Council, which gave the community a voice in the recent and ongoing efforts to reform MPS.
More recently, Williams took to the airwaves with her own radio talk show on Monday Mornings still addressing the issues of importance to the community from education, to politics, to the accurate representation of Black history and culture.
Also contributing to this story: May 2010 MCJ article, WITI-FOX 6 News website, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Twitter, the office of Cong. Gwen Moore, the Book: “Not Yet Free At Last: The Unfinished Business of the Civil Rights Movement,” by Mikel Holt.
Tony Tagliavia -Media Manager, MPS
MILWAUKEE – Wisconsin’s top elementary physical education teacher for 2014 — Gail Milbrath of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Greenfield Bilingual School — just learned she’s in line for an even higher honor.
Gail Milbrath is also the Midwest PE Teacher of the Year for 2015!
The word from the national Society of Health and Physical Educators or SHAPE America came less than a week after Milbrath was recognized for her state honor at the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education (WHPE) annual convention.
Two other MPS educators were honored at the WHPE event. Brett Fuller, MPS curriculum specialist for health, physical education and safe and supportive schools, was named president of WHPE. And Erika Minzlaff, who teachers PE at MPS’ Dr. Benjamin Carson Academy of Science, was one of just two “Promising Professionals” honored by the group.
The SHAPE America Midwest District recognition for Milbrath means she is in the running to be named national educator of the year.
“We are honored to have one of the best physical education teachers in the country at Greenfield Bilingual School,” MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver said.
Milbrath, a third-generation MPS graduate, says she was drawn to teaching to give back to her community and to bring as many resources as possible to her students. She focuses on continuous professional development and volunteering on professional committees both in the physical education community and at the school, district and state level.
“The staff I have worked with at Greenfield Bilingual have been very inspirational to me in my quest to continually pursue new ideas and programs for our students and families. I care deeply about my students and school community and hope to continue educating them about fitness and healthy nutrition,” she said.
Fuller, the MPS PE curriculum specialist, noted that Milbrath’s state win marked the second straight year an MPS educator won WHPE Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
“Ms. Milbrath and the other teachers recognized are an example of the great physical education teachers we have working with our students,” he said. “I am honored to be working with them!”
MPS has added more than 140 art, music and PE specialist teacher positions over the past three years.
Tony Tagliavia | Media Manager
MILWAUKEE (September 30, 2014) – Milwaukee Board of School Directors President Dr. Michael Bonds issued the following statement on the Board’s hiring of Dr. Darienne Driver as superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools effective October 1, 2014. Dr. Driver had been serving as acting superintendent since July 1.”We are proud to announce the Milwaukee Board of School Directors has appointed Dr. Darienne Driver as the permanent superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. Dr. Driver will be the first permanent female superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools
“Dr. Driver is a visionary, highly-qualified and energetic educator. We are thrilled to have her lead us through this next chapter of MPS. The board has every confidence that Dr. Driver will continue to lead the district in a positive direction and continue our efforts and commitment to improve outcomes for children of the Milwaukee Public Schools.
“The Board will terminate its superintendent search contract. We have found the best candidate possible.”
Dr. Driver added: “I am deeply appreciative of the Board’s confidence. Working together with the board, administration, schools, students, staff, parents and the community, I truly believe anything is possible. If we stay focused on our core mission of teaching and learning and putting our students needs first, we will change the face of Milwaukee and the lives of our students and their families.”
Learn more about Dr. Driver by reading her biography.
This news release can be found online at: http://mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/News/MPS-Board-names-Dr.-Darienne-Driver-as-permanent-superintendent.htm.