Two teachers, one from central Wisconsin and one from the Fox Valley, are being honored as recipients of Lawrence University’s 2019 Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award.

This year’s honorees are Joann Kekula, a band director at Wittenberg-Birnamwood Middle and High School, and Paula Meyer, a Spanish teacher at Appleton North High School.

Recipients are nominated by Lawrence seniors and selected on their abilities to communicate effectively, create a sense of excitement in the classroom, motivate their students to pursue academic excellence while showing a genuine concern for them in and outside the classroom. Since launching the award program in 1985, Lawrence has recognized 70 state teachers.

Kekula and Meyer will be honored at Saturday’s Baccalaureate Service in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, part of Commencement weekend activities.

Joanne Kekula

Kekula, of Bowler, earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1985 and her Master’s of Music Education degree from UW-Stevens Point in 1995.

She has taught at Wittenberg-Birnamwood since 1986. She has membership in several National Honor Societies, including Alpha Kappa Lambda (music), Kappa Delta Pi (education), and Phi Kappa Phi (scholastic achievement). She also belongs to Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women.

Kekula is on the regional executive board of the Wisconsin Education Association and is active with the National Band Association. She has been on the Wisconsin Ambassadors of Music staff since 2006 and has been a leader on student performance tours in seven European countries.

Paula Meyer

Meyer, of Appleton, earned her Bachelor of Science degree, with majors in mathematics and Spanish, from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1990 and her Master’s of Arts in Education from Viterbo University in La Crosse in 1998. 

She has worked in the Appleton Area School District as a Spanish teacher since 1990.

She is a member of the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages and the Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers (WAFLT). She was named the WAFLT Teacher of the Year in 2013 and earned the WAFLT Recognition of Merit Award in 2005.

In 2014, Meyer earned National Board certification as a teacher for world languages other than English.

She’s been active in distance running and has been an advocate for people struggling with addictions.


Lawrence’s Teacher Certification program