Teacher of the Year

2021 Teacher of the Year Recipients:

Early Childhood Director of the Year
Rachel Miliacca

Grace Lutheran Early Childhood Center, Oak Creek

Early Childhood Teacher of the Year
Alison Pipkorn

First Immanuel, Cedarburg

Elementary Teacher of the Year
Sarah Schultz

St. John’s, West Bend

High School Teacher of the Year
Matthew Thiel

Sheboygan Lutheran High School


Monday – January 25  –  Early Childhood
Alison Pipkorn is the 3rd grade teacher at First Immanuel Lutheran in Cedarburg where she has served since 2012. She is actively involved in the Cedarburg Junior Women’s Club. When asked why she became a teacher, Alison wrote “My faith and personal relationship with God is the reason for which I was drawn to be an educator. I am able to share my belief of the importance of a Christ-centered life with my students and families that I serve.” Alison was nominated because of her ability to foster positive parent-teacher relationships, her commitment to providing a variety of learning styles, and her commitment to the success of her students.

Tuesday – January 26 – Elementary
Sarah Schultz serves as the 6th grade homeroom and middle school math teacher at St. John’s Lutheran in West Bend. Sarah writes that her “passion is to develop strong Christian leaders who actively live out their faith.” Sarah strives to “create an atmosphere of trust, respect, warmth and focus” in her classroom.  Sarah’s focus on growth mindset, partnerships with parents and a strong focus on her students’ social-emotional health are recognized throughout the St. John’s community.


Wednesday – January 27 – High School
Matthew Thiel
teaches music at Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School. In this role he also leads the Symphonic Band, Konzertchor, Jazz Band, Chamber Choir, Pep Band and Music Theory. Matthew wrote that his “philosophy of music education is built on the pillars of engaging the mind, touching the heart, and comforting the soul.” Additionally, Matthew wrote “a Lutheran school’s music department should look, act, and feel different than ‘the school down the road.’” Matthew has a passion for teacher leadership and individualized education.



Thursday – January 28 – Early Childhood Administrator
Rachel Miliacca is the Early Childhood Director at Grace Lutheran Early Childhood Center in Oak Creek. She has served in a variety of positions in the center since 2011. Prior to her employment in the center, she served as a Teacher Aide in the day school in both paid and volunteer roles. Prior to her arrival, the center was a 2-star school and on the verge of closing.  Her congregation president writes that Rachel led the center to a 5-star rating with the National Accreditation Commission and YoungStar Wisconsin through “her deep faith, total dedication, expertise and caring for our children and parents alike.” Pastor Taggatz says, “Rachel is a wonderful role model and Christian Educator. Her devotion to the parents, the students, and staff at Grace Early Childhood Center is wonderful. She truly cares for her staff and the families that she works with. During this Covid-19 Pandemic, Rachel has shown great leadership and patience as she daily works with the challenges that this state of emergency has brought to our Early Childhood Center. She is a wonderful blessing to our ministry here at Grace!” Pictured from left to right – Steve Gettelman, Principal, Grace Lutheran School, Oak Creek, Rachel Miliacca and Pastor John Taggatz, Grace Lutheran Church, Oak Creek.