Ryan Hammernik Named 2019 Outstanding Administrator by Wisconsin ASTA

Ryan Hammernik Named 2019 Outstanding Administrator by Wisconsin ASTA
Posted on 10/14/2019
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On Friday, October 25, 2019, West Allis-West Milwaukee School District Assistant Principal, Ryan Hammernik will be recognized as the Wisconsin-American String Teachers Association Outstanding Administrator of the Year. Wisconsin ASTA is made up of studio, public school, and private school strings/orchestra teachers throughout the state of Wisconsin. 

Hammernik started his career with the District 19 years ago.  He was a Physical Education Teacher and Dean of Students at West Allis Central High School. He then served as Assistant Principal at Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School and West Milwaukee Intermediate School. Currently, he is the Assistant Principal at Lane Intermediate School. For the past two years, Hammernik has also been the Physical Education Curriculum Co-Lead for the District. In this current role, he provides leadership to 25 teachers in 17 schools. He oversees monthly meetings, prepares professional development, and collaborates with other department leads on a regular basis.  

Recipients of this Wi-ASTA award are nominated by orchestra teachers who are members of the organization. According to Orchestra teacher and Curriculum Lead for Music programming, Mary Pat Michels, “Ryan is more than an administrator - he is a colleague, a friend and a confidant. He is always there to support students and teachers. He will be the first to admit he has no musical talent, but that he sees the value of music education. He encourages children to join one of the music ensembles. He brings his family to school musicals and his daughter has attended our concerts with him. It was an honor to nominate him for this award.”

“When he was reassigned to Lane, my students at West Milwaukee said they were grateful they had him as their assistant principal and they were excited that he had an opportunity to help other kids their age. It was touching that they saw his departure as a positive for others, even though they knew they would miss him.”

Hammernik doesn’t want to be the center of attention and is always pointing out the work of others to families and colleagues. Michels explains, “When I received my own Civic Music awards, he made announcements to the audience at a concert, he came to the awards ceremony, and offered support when I was uncomfortable being the center of attention!"

“Every time I have wanted to start something new...a Multicultural Night, a Benefit Concert & Reception, a new community orchestra, Mr. Hammernik was there supporting and trouble-shooting. When we both became curriculum leads, we worked together to make sure we offered teachers the most we could. He will say that I do a huge amount of this combined work and that I don't give myself credit, but he's the one who shared his years of leadership experience with me and answered all of my questions with patience and caring!” 

Joseph Elliott, a senior at Nathan Hale High School that has played violin since first grade says, “I remember Mr. Hammernik being at so many Frank Lloyd Wright Orchestra concerts, and giving us glowing reviews that he emailed to the entire staff and read on the PA during morning announcements. Hearing what he had to say about our performances was just as important to us as reading the judge’s comments after Solo-Ensemble Festival. One favorite memory is when we tricked him into playing violin with 7th grade orchestra on a song called “Guest Soloist.” He was always tremendously supportive and we felt he was as proud of us as our parents were. We also knew he respected our orchestra teacher as much as we did and that meant the world to us.” 

Michels adds, “A West Allis Central graduate and mom of a 7th grade orchestra student told me that she was glad Mr. Hammernik is at the school her daughter attends.  She feels her daughter will enjoy that sense of security and support that she had.”

For Hammernik, supporting teachers and students has always been his focus. “It is always an honor to receive recognition for your work, but to receive a nomination from someone you have worked with throughout your entire career is truly very special. It speaks to the very nature of how we collaborate. Our District functions as a community and our elective departments function as a family. Mrs. Michels and I have served the same schools for almost two decades. We work for the common goal of doing what is best for kids by providing them with electives and experiences they love. We have one of the strongest music education programs in the area. This is something we know students will have for the rest of their lives, whether they are performers, supporters, or audience members.” 

Hammernik will receive his award at the WiASTA annual membership luncheon in Madison at the WMEA Conference on October 25, 2019. During the private event, he will speak to strings/orchestra teachers about the importance of music education; advocating for programs and affirming the hard work and dedication of music teachers.

Wisconsin-American String Teachers Association’s mission is
to enrich lives through the joy of teaching and playing stringed instruments.  For more information, go to  http://www.wiasta.org