Late teacher to be remembered with center at Port High

Board OKs memorial to beloved educator that will reflect his support of reading

Port Washington High School students released appropriately colored balloons before a football game in honor of longtime teacher social studies Kelly Green (left) shortly after his death in 2017. Ozaukee Press file photo
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Longtime Port Washington High School social studies teacher Kelly Green died just days before he was to begin his 31st year of teaching in the school district in 2017.

Green is remembered for his ability to relate to and inspire students and his fellow teachers, and those memories will continue to shape students with the creation of the Kelly Green Enrichment Center at the high school.

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Feb. 11 approved the creation of the center, a memorial sought by the high school social studies department.

Principal Eric Burke told the School Board that the center would be a library of sorts, something that would reflect both the school’s emphasis on reading and Green’s support of that reading culture.

“It’s something, I think, that would make him smile,” Burke said. “Kelly Green was very supportive of education, of learning and reading.

“Kelly is a very important part of our school. He’s very deeply missed.”

The center will also be an embodiment of the philosophy that in order to help students succeed, you have to build relationships with them, Burke said.

“Kelly lived that,” he said. “He understood it. He created relationships with students and staff members, and he is a role model for that.”

School Board members were enthusiastic about the project.

“This is a great way to keep Kelly’s memory alive,” board member Sara McCutcheon said. “In a couple of years, there won’t be any students in the school who had him as a teacher, and this will give them the chance to know him.”

“I’m really excited about this,” added board member Brian McCutcheon. “I like the tribute to Kelly.” 

Green wasn’t just a teacher. He was also involved with students outside the classroom as a basketball, cross country, track and field and wrestling coach and a mock trial adviser.

He was a leader, mentor and advocate of teachers, a longtime chairman of the social studies department who held leadership roles in the Port Washington-Saukville Education Association, including president of the teachers union.  

The enrichment center, which would be maintained “as long as the building remains,” would be located in the social studies department and serve as a gathering space for small group projects and a spot for students to work quietly, according to board documents. It would be marked by a plaque outside the door.

“Every English classroom has a library,” Burke said. “The social studies department wants to create a library of resources geared to social studies content, a place where students could go during a study hall or before or after school, where they could delve deeper into topics. It will be a collaborative space.”

The enrichment center, which will be created in an empty classroom, would be funded initially through a $1,500 donation by Pirate Treasure, a charity fund created by high school students. Money raised by students for the fund is matched by the Port Washington Rotary Club.

The Kelly Green Enrichment Center is the Pirate Treasure’s first donation, Burke said, selected from a field of 25 projects.

The money will be used for materials for the center, he said, primarily books, audiobooks and other items and bookshelves and cases.

“We have some bigger plans,” Burke said, noting there is talk of creating a larger space that could function not only as a study area but also a lounge for students.

“It will take some more finances and fundraising,” he said. There is no cost estimate for the center, he said, noting that it is “a work in progress.”

Anyone who wants to contribute to the center may do so through the high school, Burke said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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