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Special education graduate receives Distinguished Alumni Award for 2015

Six alumni and one university staff emerita will receive awards Dec. 19 from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association, recognizing their professional and personal successes as well as their contributions to UW-Eau Claire, their communities and their professions. The awards will be presented at a luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with winter commencement.

Learn more about the Alumni Association honorees below. Also read their words of advice for UW-Eau Claire's December graduates.

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award

The Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Jane Berenz ’82, bachelor’s degree in special education

BerenzJane Berenz is the superintendent of Minnesota’s Independent School District 196, known as the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools. The district is the fourth largest in the state, serving more than 27,000 students. Prior to becoming superintendent in 2009, Berenz served the district for 22 years as a classroom teacher, special education teacher, principal, director of elementary education, and director of teaching and learning.

Berenz, who has served in multiple advisory roles on legislative committees at the state and city levels, as well as on the advisory council for the Reading Recovery Council of North America, is nationally recognized for her skill and leadership in enhancing teacher professional development and improving student academic performance. In June she was awarded the 2015 national Teacher Leader Award from the Reading Recovery Council of North America for her leadership of her school district’s literacy efforts.