Wade Winner: Katie Alberg

Congratulations to Katie Alberg of Northeast Metro 916 Career and Technical Center on being chosen as our latest Wade Award winner! Ms. Alberg was nominated by coworker Dana Piper for this award, which is bestowed on those professionals who are recognized by their peers for consistently showcasing the qualities of a Wade:

  • Exuding passion for what they do
  • Sharing and inspiring their passion in others
  • Making a positive difference every day

In the nomination, Dana Piper wrote:

“Katie holds her students to a standard of excellence while connecting all classroom activities to life after high school. She embodies all of the characteristics of an empowering and effective career and technical educator specific to special education. She has a way of holding her learners accountable to the standards and expectations within each specific assessment that mirror life skills/tasks necessary for independent living. She encourages students to problem-solve and does everything in her power to ensure that they are prepared for whatever awaits them after k12 education. She celebrates student achievements daily. She maintains a professional persona while making each student feel valued and capable.”

We interviewed Ms. Alberg to learn more about her teaching philosophy and personal best practices. Here’s what she had to share:

Q: What made you choose education as your lifework?

A: In my early twenties I began coaching soccer. I really enjoyed the planning, organization, and responsibility that all tied into running a team. As I observed more and more progress from the players, I found myself feeling more and more passionate about coaching. Teaching is very similar in this way.

Q: What are some of the unique benefits of career-focused education for special needs students?

A: My career-focused education classes are designed for students that want to attend class and also to contribute in a positive and productive way. I teach my students that with a hard working attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to learn, they can have meaningful employment and be self-sufficient and successful.

Q: How do you help your students perform at their highest level?

A: Honor them by giving them opportunities that increase their level of responsibility. Allow students to develop critical thinking skills so that they can problem-solve and figure out how to work productively together.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

A: At the end of the each class, we as a collective group do “shout-outs” and “celebrations”. Each student is validated and affirmed. It’s a fun way to develop positive relationships and to help pave the way to a competitive advantage for our students.


We want to thank Ms. Alberg for taking the time to share these helpful insights, and congratulate her once again on her award. Please feel free to share your congratulations in the comments as well!

Also, we welcome your nominations for those colleagues in your organization who are true Wades. Visit our nomination page to submit a candidate today. We look forward to hearing from you!

About the Author
Mark C. Perna Mark C. Perna is a best-selling author and the founder of TFS in Cleveland, Ohio, a full-service strategic consulting firm whose mission is to share and support every client’s passion for making a difference.

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