The purposes of this Association are to:

  • The purposes of this Association are to:
  • A. Promote and protect the interests, rights, and welfare of the retired educators of the Stevens Point area in conjunction with the Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association (WREA).
  • B. Monitor and work to improve the benefits for retired educators and other members of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).
  • C. Encourage Association members to maintain membership in the Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association (WREA).
  • D. Develop working relationships with local service organizations whose main emphasis is on aging groups and with organizations sharing goals similar to those of the Association.
  • E. Inform Association members about and advocate for educational and other relevant societal issues.
  • F. Inform members of activities in the area provided for senior citizens.
  • G. Encourage Association members to be active participants in community affairs on an individual basis.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

January's Newsletter

All current and prospective SPARTA members are invited to our luncheon and business meeting


January 9, 2023

Park Ridge Restaurant

3425 Church St.

Stevens Point, WI 54481


11:00 am Socializing

11:15 am Order Lunch 

11:30 am Business Meeting

12:15 pm Keynote Speaker




“Out of the Classroom and into the World” Lani Tierney, retired teacher, world traveler


12:45 Adjourn




President: Carol Colby

Vice President: Ginny Williams

Treasurer: Janet Langton                                 Secretary: Christine Neidlein

Data Manager: Sherrilee Wallermann                                                      Immediate Past President: Santha Bickford                                 

Emeritus Past President – Elbert Rackow


From the President

Giving is at the core of being an educator. We did that throughout our careers and continue doing that now through what I have entitled the SPARTA Service Spotlight.


Our first focus was American Education Week in November. Many thanks to coordinator Barb Clementi and to all who made our activities a success. Heartfelt messages to new staff in area schools and sweet treats for all were appreciated. I also addressed the school board at their monthly meeting about the significant roles played by all. I think it’s super important that the current educators know we support them and thank them for all they do each and every day.


Please look for details in this newsletter about our next SPARTA Service Spotlight…Books from the Heart. I’m excited to ask for your support for this amazing program.


It’s also important that we have some fun and ramp up the social side of our organization. Consider sticking around after our January 9th meeting for the White Elephant Gift Exchange. Again, more details about how to participate are in this newsletter. Look for, you guessed it, the white elephant.


Finally, I remember a certain gleefulness on Fridays when I had a chance to connect with colleagues for social camaraderie. Let’s create our own Happy Hour tradition, beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Amber Grill at the Holiday Inn. Details inside.


Please let me or the other officers know what you like, don’t like, are interested in, etc. We’ll do our best to make this organization a true reflection of your interests and needs. Hope to see you at our general meeting on January 9th and remember to bring a friend.


Thank you,


Stick around after the

January 9th meeting

for our bonus party


Scrounge around for “white elephant” gift

Don’t buy anything

Wrap it…Bring it…Exchange it


Meeting Minutes



SPARTA meeting – November 14, 2022

Park Ridge Restaurant 


At 11:25 Carol opened the meeting with remarks honoring our veterans.


The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Carol acknowledged veterans Jerry Kasdorf and Dean Calhoun, whose wife Donna was a guest.


27 members were present plus another guest Marge Gloudemans.


Carol Colby: Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to lead this group.


Ginny Williams: Thanks for allowing her to attend WREA conference.


Christine Neidlein: Mentioned WPEN (Wisconsin Public Education Network) another non-profit whose goals are aligned with ours / supporting public education. There are no dues and anyone can join to keep up with their undertakings.Find out more at: Wisconsin Public Education Network (


Jan Langton / Treasurer:


Meetings: WREA convention         144.00

SPARTA membership                       45.00

Supplies:                                             52.47

Grants: WREA Foundation             100.00


Wortuba-Polson                               200.00

Guest speaker stipend                    100.00

Book Sale:                                     1203.50

Total           1844.97


SPARTA dues                    228.00

Donations                            462.00

Total            690.00



WREA dues                       180.00


Membership Report (as of 10/01/22)

Paid 2022-2023        22

Life                              19

Emeritus                      3

Total              44


Members of WREA and SPARTA: 29      



Jan Langton moved that the following donations be accepted: $200 from anonymous and $150 from anonymous. Seconded by Judy Zimmerman.  The motion carried unanimously.


Jan Langton moved that donations to the SPARTA scholarships in the amount of $100 each be made in memory of Dorothy Helmrick and Joyce Wotruba-Polson. Seconded by Barb Clementi.  The motion carried unanimously.


Barb Clementi updated us on SPARTA plans for American Education Week.  Gift bags are being distributed to each school which contain “sweet treats” but more importantly information about SPARTA especially for those anticipating retirement. There are 80 new teachers in the district. 


A project for a SPARTA member to “adopt“ a pen pal who is teaching for their first year was introduced with a goal of supporting them and showing our appreciation.


Santha Bickford / Health and Wellness: Ask questions at ADRC (Aging & Disabilities Resource Center).  Go to to find answers to other questions.


Jerry Kasdorf encouraged all to get a flu shot this year and to make sure your COVID vaccine/booster is for the bivalent omicron strain.


Janeen Kwarciany/Book Committee: She thanked us for bringing book donations to the meeting.


The next book sale will be summer of 2023 as far as we know. If you know others who have books to donate, share their names with Janeen or a member of the Book Committee.


Dates to be aware of:

December 10th – Newsletter deadline.


December 13th – Executive Committee meeting 


January 9, 2023 – next SPARTA meeting. 

Speaker: Karla Lockman - Boston School Forest. Karla taught science at SPASH for 7 years and has been at Boston School Forest since 2015. She said, “Every day is a field trip. H.D. Boston donated 80 acres in 1937 and 2 trees were planted. Students have planted 111,000+ trees since 1937.  6000+ students are served every year.


Sally Ellingboe coordinated a fundraiser to build Oelke Lodge which serves 4K – 5th graders.


Noble Lodge serves 6th – 10th graders. There is also a Discovery Center and skis and cabins to utilize an outdoor shelter. Another building (which Anton Anday was instrumental in planning) is the Wisconsin Forest

History Cabin. They also facilitate Professional Development for Teachers. They try to be “super-sustainable “utilizing solar, geothermal and wind power.


Some dates to note: December 10th - 10 a.m.-Noon - “Polar Pond Plunge“- a fundraiser.


(2023) January 20th - Open House, April 23rd - Earth Day activities; August 18th - Forest Fun Run/Walk. There are many opportunities for volunteers at the school forest. Boston School Forest is paired with RSV, time and activities vary.


Lynne Kagelmann/Membership: Join WREA for only $60.00. We all reap the benefits. Our lobbyists fight for public education. Lynne added: Bring a friend to a SPARTA meeting.


Deb Kluz Baker/Programs: Share any ideas you might have for programs and speakers. These are some of the upcoming speakers: Traveler Lana Tierney , Sam Dinga or another representative from the District’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Dept, Michelle Venzke from “ Real Deals “ a local shop, John Harry, from  Portage County Historical Society at Heritage Park in the summer  Keith Olson, past SPAEA president and a program honoring veterans.


Eileen Payne/Social: Planning a spring 2023 Trolley tour, possibly to see our many murals. Possibly Antiquity Acres / March plantings; April – “The Music Man “sponsored by Lincoln Center. 


Joyce Chekouras: Thanks for submitting volunteer hours. Hint: Record them in a daily planner.


Nancy Kemmeter : She and Gene visited Elbert Rackow and suggested mailing holiday 



cards to him c/o his daughter, Elbert Rackow, c/o Helen Johannes , 512 W Cleveland St., Marshfield, WI 54449


Motion to adjourn made by Deb Kluz Baker and seconded by Santha Bickford. Motion carried.


Many AARP door prizes solicited by David Blado at the WREA conference were distributed and then: Laurel Hoeth told us to bring a White Elephant prize to the January meeting.

Submitted by Secretary / Christine Neidlein 


Treasurer’s Report (Nov. 1 - Dec. 10, 2022)

Jan Langton, Treasurer



Nov. Meeting              13.54

Convention                682.13

Supplies                     674.22

Nov. Stipend             100.00

Rent                            405.00

TOTAL:                $1,874.89



SPARTA dues                                  258.00




This incredible program needs your help.

Please bring a book (or two or three) appropriate for a K-2 grader or make a cash or check (payable to Books from the Heart) 

donation to this program at our January 9th meeting.

There are other opportunities to help; a fact sheet is included in this newsletter to help you publicize the book drive.


Books from the Heart, begun in 1998, has provided a free book for every public and parochial student in the Stevens Point area. More than 4000 books are needed each year. Kennedy School reading specialist Sally Crane is the coordinator and would really appreciate your support. 


You can send donations to Sally Crane, Kennedy Elementary School, 616 West 2nd St., Junction City, WI 54443 if you are not able to attend our January 9th meeting. 


Community Foundation 40th Anniversary

On the evening of November 17 our Community Foundation held a very fancy party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their founding. Santha Bickford represented SPARTA at the event. She wrote her check and proudly represented SPARTA. She definitely had not dressed up that much since the beginning of COVID! John Hartman took formal photos of each guest or party as they arrived and fancy meals were ordered in advance.


There were many toasts, awarding of honors, and fund-raising for all the many worthy causes they support in our community. Everybody who is anybody in Stevens Point was there. In the historical part of the program, she learned that the idea of establishing a fund was originally discussed as a way to sustain Boston School Forest. That sparked the idea of supporting many community causes and endeavors. Our current BSF folks were there as was Karen Dostal, the BSF director when she retired. It 

was fun to reconnect with friends and acquaintances, to celebrate the great things the Foundation has done, and to hope and plan for the future.   Santha


Committee Members 2022-2023

 *indicates chair     


Book Committee: *Janeen Kwarciany, Lynne Kagelmann, Nancy Kemmeter, Charlene Laurent, Mary Marks, Nancy Mezyk, Christine Neidlein, Chris Schlicher, Janet Swiston, Fran Vollrath

Data Committee: *Sherrilee Wallerman, Jack Allgaier, Janet Langton, Judy Zimmerman 

Grants Committee: *Janet Swiston, Nancy Kemmeter, Janeen Kwarciany, Nancy Mezyk, Eileen Payne, Fran Vollrath 

Health and Well-Being Committee: *Jerry Kasdorf, Santha Bickford, Bob Bowen

Historical Committee: *Eileen Payne, Christine Neidlein

Legislative Committee/Liaison To Coalition of WI Aging Groups: *Joyce Chekouras, Christine Neidlein  

Membership Committee:  *Lynne Kagelmann, Santha Bickford, Carol Colby, Jennifer Graboski, Jan Langton

Program Committee: *Deb Kluz Baker, Eileen Payne, Mary Zinda, Carol Colby 


Retirement Planning: Santha Bickford, Judy Zimmerman

Social Committee: *Eileen Payne, Barb Clementi, Mary Moore, Barb Clementi, Sherrilee Wallerman 

Sunshine Committee: *Mary Beth Anday, Sally Dehlinger, Suzanne Fee 

Volunteer Hours Recorder: *Joyce Chekouras


Book Look, our reading friend

Owners Ken Manske and Mary Lou Harris-Manske recently donated a number of boxes of books for our annual sale. Their generosity will help us help others.


Perhaps you can keep that cycle of support going by purchasing gifts for Books from the Heart or for personal gift-giving from them.

Book Look will be open through the month of December before taking a short hiatus for warmer temperatures. They are offering a 20% discount for all Books from the Heart purchases.


Call or contact them today to set a time to visit and support them just as they support us.



A big THANK YOU to all SPARTA members who participated in the voting process on November 8th! As we all know voting is the most important way to exercise our participation in our Democracy.


Another way to exercise our participation is to contact our representatives and congratulate those who have recently been elected. It’s critically important to establish a quality relationship with all our legislators in order to advocate for success.


As we look ahead to 2023 you are encouraged to become a WREA member if you aren’t already. When you do you can log-in to Legislative Notification Service (under WREA LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES) and get nightly email notifications regarding Wisconsin’s legislative activity. This enables you to follow legislation by subject proposal, committee, authors and more. The information will be critical in advocacy efforts.


More resources on the WREA LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES site include: “Who Are My Legislators”, “The Wheeler Report”, “CONGRESS – National Legislative information”, “Wisconsin Eye”, “Wisconsin Policy Forum”, “No Time to Lose Report”, “How A Bill Becomes A Law”.


Other key information on this site can be found under the following headings: PENSION, STATE BUDGET PROCESS, WREA LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS.


WREA works with SAA (State Administrators’ Association) regarding key bills being presented. The latest information and status of Governor Evers’ listening sessions can be found on the website: Please scan these bills as many will have critical impact on public education.


Thank you for all you’re doing in support of Wisconsin public education and the Wisconsin Retirement System, our pension.


Joyce Chekouras



Our next meeting in 2023 is:

Monday, March 13, 2023 – 11:00 AM


Challenge Award Grants Each year the WREA Foundation awards five $2,000 grants to each first place winner and five $250.00 awards to each second-place winner, in each of WREA's five districts.  The awards rotate between public elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

In the Spring of 2023, AWARDS will be presented to public middle schools for existing innovative projects implemented in the 2020-2021, 2021-2022, or 2022-2023 school years. The application period will begin November 1, 2022 and end February 1, 2023.

The Awards recognize ongoing, innovative projects not more than three years old.  The application form is simple and requires a project description limited to no more than 500 words.  The application form for public middle schools will be available from November 1 through February 1 during the application time.  Challenge Award Grant Application is only available online: 


February 4th – WREA Retirement ZOOM Presentation – for new retirees


February 8th – SPARTA Happy Hour – Amber Grill – 4:00 – 6:00 PM -  Open to All


May 4th – WREA Spring Conference – Holiday Inn – Stevens Point – Need Volunteers for Registration Desk – Theme - 

“Belonging is Key” – SAVE THE DATE



-       Meeting agendas

-       Meeting minutes

-       SPARTA updates

-       SPARTA newsletters  


Send website information to our webmaster:

Janet Langton –



Book In-Take Days

No In-Take Days during the winter. Any books, puzzles, CDs, or DVDs that you are saving for our 2023 sale can be brought to the January meeting. If members know of people who want to donate, please get their contact information: Name, Phone Number, Email or Text Number, and forward it to a Book Committee member.




Please consider writing a letter to the editor and/or posting info on your social media…or simply share with friends and family. Please be creative and make your letter sound unique.


Community sponsored program that provides a free book for every Stevens Point public and parochial student in kindergarten, first and second grade


Drive now through Feb. 10

Valentine’s Day gift to our young readers

Program in existence since 1998

Reinforces the love the reading and demonstrates the caring generosity of our community as we gather 4000 books each year for our young readers


Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers’ Association (SPARTA) assisting with the drive this year


Send monetary or book donations to coordinator (checks made out to Books from the Heart)

Sally Crane

Kennedy Elementary School

616 West 2nd St.

Junction City, WI 54443


Stevens Point Journal

Questions? Contact Jamie Rokus at or 715-424-7311


MetroWire Email letters to

Must express an opinion

Must be written in the body of an email, not attached as a document


Portage County Gazette Email letters to

Maximum of 500 words



Include the author’s full name and city of residence

Letters cannot be a thank you message or sponsorship listing

SPARTA Membership 2022-2023

Return this application and your dues to 

Jan Langton, 2010 Aspen Lane, Plover, WI 54467


Name _________________________________________________________________________________


Address _______________________________________________________________________________


City, State, Zip _________________________________________________________________________


District and school from which you retired ___________________________________________________


Preferred phone number __________________________________________________________________


Email  ________________________________________________________________________________


  Our default method of communication is through email.  If you wish to receive a paper copy of the newsletter, check this box.


☐    I’m a new member.  My first year is free!

☐    $15 annual

☐    $15 Associate annual 

        $200 Life


WREA Dues   

WREA dues can be paid directly to WREA.  You can pay dues online at or mail them to: WREA, 6405 Century Ave, Suite 201, Middleton, WI 53562.


Regular membership (retired teachers, current teachers, support staff, k-12, administrators, technical college and university.)  

             $60 annual

            ☐ $165 three-year

      ☐ $1,000 life


Associate membership (spouses of members, other annuitants in the Wisconsin Retirement System, friends of education.)  

            ☐ $40 annual

      ☐ $105 three-year


WREA and WEA are NOT the same organization. WREA’s main purpose is to protect the pension system and support public education.   WEA is/was the union.  Being a member of one doesn’t equate to being a member of the other.  Many of us are life members of both. 



Please estimate your time for September 2022 through August 2023 and submit this form to your unit in September 2023. 


There are numerous volunteer opportunities in our communities and many people interested in volunteering. Most people volunteer without the expectation of recognition or compensation because volunteering offers a personal satisfaction and reward that cannot be found in other activities. People volunteer for reasons and look to do something that not only benefits their community, but that also inspires them. Volunteering should provide a winning experience for everyone—the volunteer, your organization, and the community. (adapted from the NRTA Toolkit) 








UNIT NAME:____________________________________________ 


**This form may be returned at each unit meeting or at the end of the fiscal year depending on the operating procedure of the unit. 




Total Hours




o   Tutoring, Mentoring, Volunteer Teaching 

o   Church youth work, Youth Organizations

o   Special projects (Little Red Schoolhouse, etc.) 





o   Church activities

o   Hospital/Care center volunteer

o   Public office volunteer (city or county)

o   Docent (museums, garden tours, etc.

o   Public Service Board/Trustee/Foundation

o   Mobile meals/nutrition/transportation

o   Service Organization (VFW, AARP, etc.)




o   Serving as a unit officer or committee member

o   Attending Spring District Meeting

o   Attending workshops/seminars

o   Attending the WREA State Convention

o   Lobbying

o   Unit historical work

o   Other



Please list the organizations you volunteered for this year:

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