Talk about a full-circle moment.
When Dr. Tanya Skalecki was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, one of her professors, Dr. Terri Kronzer, motivated her to pursue her dreams and create new ones.
“I set a goal of ending my career by giving back and teaching at the university level,” she said. “Dr. Kronzer inspired me to go to law school and become a university instructor.
“I took her School Law class, and I realized I wanted to go into that area to help more in civil rights law. I wanted to know more about school law because I was a school administrator at the time.”
Fifteen years after Dr. Skalecki graduated with a master’s degree focused on science in education, Dr. Kronzer interviewed her for an adjunct instructor role at UW-Superior.
“Now, I teach full time at UW-Superior,” she said. “Dr. Kronzer isn’t teaching here anymore, but it was pretty special that she was the one who initially interviewed me for my final career goal.”
Dr. Skalecki teaches in UW-Superior’s Educational Administration online program.
“I love it,” she said. “I have been teaching at the university level for nine years now. I also taught online at the graduate and undergraduate level in Colorado. I get to teach students all across Wisconsin and Minnesota. I also have students in California, Iowa, and Illinois, and I have taught students as far away as Japan and Taiwan.”
The best part of teaching online for Dr. Skalecki is that online learning enables students to earn a degree on their own schedules because of the program’s asynchronous format.
“Earning a master’s degree online gives students an opportunity they might not have had in the past to further their professional development and learning while balancing their work and family life,” she said. “It’s an extremely popular learning option for working professionals.”
Home, Sweet Home
Dr. Skalecki grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career as an educator.
“My best friend from eighth grade, Janell Groskreutz, is blind,” she said. “She inspired me to be a special education teacher. I knew coming out of high school that I wanted to go to college with Janell and be a special education teacher. Janell and I both graduated with our teaching degrees and ended up co-teaching at our alma mater at Chippewa Falls Senior High School.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in vocational rehabilitation with a concentration in special education from UW-Stout in 1994, Dr. Skalecki taught special education, serving as a principal and director of special education in Wisconsin. Upon completing her doctoral degree in law, Dr. Skalecki was hired as a school administrator in Colorado before she returned to the Badger State.
“I was lucky enough to be an adjunct at UW-Superior for a couple of years before I came on full time,” she said. “It was an easy transition as I went to school at UW-Superior, so I was familiar with the campus.”
Dr. Skalecki graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Concord Law School in 2010. After over 20 years in education, she left school administration for five years to work as a CEO for a civil rights agency using her law degree outside the educational system. However, teaching has always been her passion, and she was delighted, therefore, to return to the education world once more in 2020.
Yellowjacket for Life
In the time Dr. Skalecki has been teaching at UW-Superior, she has seen the program grow while providing a quality education for students.
“Our program has a variety of options,” she said. “A lot of our students at UW-Superior get multiple administrative licenses. I myself have multiple licenses. The flexibility at UW-Superior is there.
“I believe, with the MSE and/or Ed. Specialist degree, students will get the skills they need to be prepared and confident instructional leaders.”
In the courses that she teaches, Dr. Skalecki focuses on providing real-world examples that immediately apply to educational administration.
“I want to have students achieve competency of the learning objectives through targeted instruction in my courses,” she said. “Students will participate in activities that are meaningful and useful for their professional practice.”
Dr. Skalecki’s passion for teaching is evident. She was named the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District Teacher of the Year in 2000. She was also chosen as Colorado Christian University Outstanding Faculty of the Year in 2016 and received the Students’ Choice for Outstanding Teaching in an Online Program Award at UW-Superior in 2021.
“I love teaching students,” she said. “I know this is what I was always meant to do. Teaching at UW-Superior has been a great experience.”
In her free time, Dr. Skalecki enjoys reading, bow hunting and spending time with her family. She is proud to have taken Dr. Kronzer’s lead by teaching at her alma mater and inspiring future leaders.
“This is what I wanted to do,” she said. “This is my retirement. I wanted to give back everything that I learned as an administrator for the last 20 years to my students.”