Most teachers hold tightly to their summers off, with good reason. But Kristin Granchalek Pavelec, a fourth-grade teacher in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, might be even more busy at times during her annual summer break than the rest of the year. For several years, Pavelec has been the director of her local Camp Invention day camp, bringing STEM concepts to life for children through the nationwide program. Under Pavelec’s leadership, which includes managing 240 campers, hiring and managing staff and communicating with parents, the local program has grown to become the largest in Wisconsin.
Also during the summer, she is director of the Vacation Bible School program at St. Luke’s Lutheran in Middleton, creating a faith-building program to serve 160 children and managing more than 100 volunteers. One year, she set up boat rides for the VBS kids on a Madison lake to help teach the story of Jesus calming the sea. Pavelec also has served on St. Luke’s senior pastor call committee, dedicating many hours to identify the next faith leader at the church. “Through anything that Kristin is involved in here at church as well as in the community, her faith shines through all of it,” writes her pastor. “The faith that’s required to lead a lot of young people (as well as volunteers!), and the faithful patience and trust in God’s timing for a call process is demonstrated by Kristin’s leadership.”
As an educator, Pavelec’s love of learning is apparent. After earning her bachelor’s at Wartburg with a double major in elementary education and business administration, she went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in educational leadership and policy analysis. She also has earned certification to become a K-12 principal or director of instruction. At her school, Pavelec’s leadership and service are evident even outside of the classroom. She serves on several teams, including School Improvement, Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, and Science Curriculum Renewal. She has served as a mentor for new teachers and co-teaches with special education and ELL teachers to create an inclusive, welcoming environment. She has embraced learning about new technology to foster learning and student engagement, sought out training about culturally responsive practices, and steps into the role of substitute assistant principal on days when her support and leadership is needed. “She is energized by learning and improving her practice,” wrote a nominator. “The learning we have done around equity; historical marginalization; best practices in math, literacy and science; and social emotional learning, trauma, and more is all taken on with vigor by Kristin.”
“She thoughtfully makes time to honor the ones who have helped shape her life,” wrote another nominator. Pavelec, who visits her aging high school clarinet teacher each year, helped make one of his dreams come true by traveling out of state to ride a steam engine.
Pavelec and her husband, Derek ’04, have a daughter, Annabel, and a son, Isaac.