Micki Uppena

Elementary Library Media Technology Specialist


Hometown: Bloomington, Wisconsin

High school graduated from: Bloomington High School

College: Micki earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education (Pre K-6) with an Early Childhood Minor from UW-Platteville in 1997. From Viterbo University, she earned her Reading Teacher Certification in 2007, her Master’s in Education in 2008, and Reading Specialist License in 2013. Most recently, she obtained her Instructional Library Media Specialist certification from UW-Whitewater in 2017.

Previous employment: During her elementary teaching career, Micki taught 4K, Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade at St. Charles Borromeo in Cassville from 1997-99 and Winskill Elementary in Lancaster from 2000-14. In 2014, she became the Pre K-12th Grade Library Media Specialist for Lancaster Community Schools.

Honors: Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA) Board President-Elect, Member of the WI Department of Public Instruction School Library Work Group, PBS Digital Innovator 2017, Member of Wisconsin Delegation Attending 2018 National Library Legislative Days.

Spouse and/or children: I have three amazing children! Will is a sophomore at UW-Madison. Jackson is a junior and Sophie is a freshman at Lancaster High School.

Hobbies/Free time interests:  My children are extremely involved in high school activities. I enjoy my time supporting them and being their mom! I truly feel that everything that I do in my life has application to my job. Because of this, I tend to push myself outside of my comfort zone when traveling, reading, or trying new things! This summer I will be attending an Entrepreneurs in History class at Valley Forge because I think it has great application for library makerspaces. I will also be going to Miami Beach, New York City, and Michigan. Travel brings me joy!

Quotable: I am extremely interested in working in an elementary library setting as a literacy and technology leader and as a member of a district library and technology team. My library media practicum took place in the MPUSD with Kris McCoy and Kari Kabat. This experience gave me an inside look at the many ways your staff collaborates to ensure excellence for students. I left each day energized as I reflected on the positive and professional environment created in Mineral Point.

My natural ability to spark student interest in reading and technology has grown exponentially because of my diverse range of teaching and professional development experiences. I am extremely proud of how the physical library spaces have changed and how the libraries have come to be the hubs of our schools.

During my years in Lancaster, I have continuously sought out professional development opportunities to stay current with educational trends. As an avid reader, I am always able to recommend books to children and adults alike. I have often said that the school library is the most important part of a quality reading program.  It is my wish to work collaboratively with classroom teachers to support the curriculum. I strive to model passion for learning every single day!

I pride myself in maintaining an engaging literature collection and connecting students with authors and global classrooms. As a member of the Literacy on the Lakes program at UW Madison this year, I focused on the inclusion of socially just books and own voice books in each schools’ collections.  I travel to Nerd Camp Michigan yearly to work hand in hand with authors. Because of these relationships I am able to bring authors to school through school visits and author skypes. These experiences bring books to life for readers!

Building and developing relationships is the foundation of education. I work diligently to connect with students through literature and by creating motivating learning experiences. This is done by allowing students voice and choice in their learning. In the library this occurs when you  connect students to books that they are interested in. For me to do this successfully, I need to be a voracious reader of children’s literature in order to recommend books to students.

Makerspaces allow students to explore new areas through hands-on and minds-on activities. Students are in an environment that promotes risk-taking, questioning, skill application, and reflection.  I truly feel that the library is a place that each student can find something to broaden their mind and motivate them to ask more!

Technology is used as a tool for students to find information and create new ways to demonstrate their learning. It is a way for students to connect to experts in the world. Technology allows students and teachers to break down barriers and create a classroom without limits.

I feel it is imperative that I model a growth mindset as an educator for students and staff with whom I work. I am a risk taker when it comes to learning. I continuously strive to push myself out of my comfort zone. Traveling is a big part of who I am as an educator. I look for professional development opportunities that will help me be a more balanced educator. Each summer I connect with authors and educators at Nerd Camp MIchigan so that I can create authentic reading experiences for my students by connecting them with authors. This summer I will be traveling to Valley Forge to take a “History of Entrepreneurs” seminar through a scholarship from the Freedoms Foundation. I continuously work on learning new technologies by engaging in webinars, workshops, twitter chats, and blogs.

I feel that being an active volunteer is imperative. It shows students that we are responsible for giving back and creating the world in which we live.