A Fond Farewell to our 2016 Retirees

Kathy Choren

Kathy Choren devoted nearly 31 years of her educational expertise to University School of Milwaukee, and is retiring following 40 years in education.

Choren taught for nine years in the Glendale-River Hills School District, before beginning her career at USM in 1985. Over her first 15 years with the School, she served as a junior kindergarten, 1st-grade, 3rd-grade, and 5th-grade teacher. In 2000, she moved into Lower School administration, where she served for 16 years, and also oversaw the After School Program, which has continued to grow for many years.

Through all of her positions, she has touched the lives of hundreds of students and shared her expert advice with many more parents. Choren’s calm and quiet manner has helped assure many a teacher, student, and parent that all is (or very soon will be!) well. A skilled professional in Preprimary and Lower School pedagogy, she has also mentored many teachers to help them be the best that they can be.

USM is grateful that Choren chose to share her so much of her professional life with the School, enriching our students’ and teachers’ lives and moving our School and our mission forward in so many ways.

Bob Geniusz

Following 27 years of service to University School of Milwaukee as the Lower School art teacher, Bob Geniusz announced his retirement.

Geniusz attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated with an art degree. During his time at USM, Geniusz has been a part of many activities that motivated students to learn about art, its history, and its ties to Milwaukee. Bob was a part of making wigwams with the entire 2nd-grade community at Camp Minikani, developed the Milwaukee Trip with 4th-grade teachers, coordinated countless artist-in-residence projects, visited schools in New York, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Ghana, and traveled to Paris on a USM Think Big grant.

Geniusz was awarded the first Wright Family Faculty Excellence Award in 1992 and became the Uihlein Fine Arts Chair a few years later. He also headed the Faculty/Staff Action Committee for two separate two-year terms. He has greatly enjoyed being at USM all those years.

By our rough count, more than 2,000 students have been introduced to a formal art class by Geniusz, also sharing in his joy and knowledge of trains.

Edie Lounsberry

After 12 years of service to USM as the Middle School administrative assistant, Edie Lounsberry has elected to retire.

Lounsberry has excelled at all aspects of her position, serving as the first welcoming presence that students, faculty, parents, and visitors encounter when they enter the office. Lounsberry’s great worth has been recognized during her time at USM with the Audrey Arndt Award and the Wright Technology Award.

On behalf of the Middle School faculty and USM, we thank Lounsberry for all she has done for the School, and all that she has meant to each of us, and we wish her well in her retirement.

Patricia Ziegelbauer

After nine years of service to University School of Milwaukee as the Lower School science coordinator, Patricia Ziegelbauer announced her retirement from the School.
Ziegelbauer has been an educator for the past 45 years, teaching high school on the east coast before moving to Wisconsin, where she taught middle school science, math, and English prior to joining USM in 2007. During her tenure at USM, Ziegelbauer served as the Lower School Science Coordinator and Department Chairperson and established an exemplary science lab for Lower School students. Additionally, Ziegelbauer was instrumental in developing labs that encourage and support experiential, inquiry-based, hands-on learning at every level.

After retirement, Pat and her husband of almost 44 years will travel more, especially to warm places with white sand beaches. And, of course, they will enjoy spending time with their children and six grandchildren.

Rebecca Schwartz

After 14 years of faithful service to USM’s Upper School as an English teacher, Rebecca Schwartz is retiring. Throughout her years at USM—in her office, in her classrooms, with students, advisees, and all of her peers—she is grateful to have worked with such wonderful and inspiring students, and such generous and creative colleagues.

Every single day, she was taught or reminded of something important: to be patient, to laugh, to take the long view, and to love our students, sometimes in spite of themselves. She will be greatly missed for her contributions to the School.

Lori VanderVelde

After 22 years, of teaching reading and writing to 10- and 11-year-old USM students, Lori VanderVelde has elected to retire. Her contributions as a teacher guiding students through their age of wonder, and her work with the Sunshine Fund, a school organization that reaches out to faculty and staff members during times of need,
will be sincerely missed.

VanderVelde will miss the beautiful School and grounds which have greeted her, and her colleagues who “go to the mat” for their students. She looks forward to doing cartwheels with her grandkids, farming with her family, traveling both near and far, reading paperback books until her eyes are sore, making movies for the Cannes Film Festival, learning everything she can, and who knows, perhaps even teaching again some day!

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