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Recognized for equity work, BVSD teacher receives lifetime award

Lisa Cech has devoted her career to making education equitable.

“Education should be the great equalizer but unfortunately that is not true.  I have spent my career trying to make it so on a macro and micro level,” said Lisa Cech, a counselor at Angevine Middle School, about her work as an educator. 

Cech has spent her 40 years as an educator trying to be an ally of marginalized groups. This year she was awarded the Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award for her work.

The Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2017 to honor the legacy of Impact on Education's former Board Chair, Blake Peterson. 

“Blake deeply valued public education and devoted his life to community service and supporting quality education for all students,” said Impact on Education spokesperson Catherine Wessling.

The award recognizes individuals within BVSD who are difference makers and student advocates, who commits to tackling barriers to equity and student opportunity and positively impacts students’ lives and experiences.

Cech implemented the Safe and Drug Free Schools grant which brought prevention programs to BVSD, she said. She also has brought programs on bullying prevention, suicide prevention and done some resiliency work within the district. 

Cech also is an equity trainer bringing culturally responsive teaching trainings to BVSD staff. 

“It was great work and I felt it was impactful. Then I moved to a highly impacted middle school Angevine and tried to bring that knowledge and lens to my work here,” Cech said.

As a school counselor, Cech teaches students to recognize how their bodies and emotions are reacting when overwhelmed. 

“I teach them about fight, flight and freeze response and how  the amygdala can take over and that can make them  feel out of control — then we teach how they can help themselves get back into their thinking brain,” Cech said. 

Cech was presented the award on May 11. 

“It's been a difficult year, probably the hardest of my career and this award just helps me feel like maybe I have made a difference.  We don't get to hear that as educators that much so it is an amazing feeling,” she said.

Despite her recognition, Cech hopes her work insprires student to follow their passion. 

“... stay with what you're passionate about, be true to yourself and things work out,” she said.