Cheryl Bonlender Went to Same College with Two Other Arrowhead Math Teachers


Cheryl Bonlender

Maria Francis, Reporter

Cheryl Bonlender has taught at Arrowhead for nine years.

Bonlender teaches Algebra, Algebra B, Geometry, and Algebra/Geometry block.

As a kid, Bonlender would play school and act as a teacher. “But then in high school and even going into college, I really liked advertising and marketing and kind of the psychology behind advertisements. You know like why do people want that? That’s always been intriguing to me,” she said.

She says her high school AP Calculus teacher, Mrs. Fackleman, inspired her to become a teacher. She was a senior at West Bend East High School and during her first year, she struggled with math.

“She demanded I come into math tutoring and she worked with me everyday third period in math tutoring for the whole year. She’s a sweet lady. She treated me the same way she treated her Pre-Algebra students that also came in. She treated every kid the exact same way,” said Bonlender.

Bonlender went to St. Norbert College, majored in mathematics and secondary education, and received her Masters degree through University Wisconsin-Stout.

She was a classmate with Arrowhead math teachers Alicia Obermann and Laura Lampshire at St. Norbert. “We all went to the same college together and had all our classes together…they probably didn’t think those math classes were as hard. They’re crazy wicked smart. They were helping me through some of them,” she said.

During Bonlender’s freshman year of college, she started tutoring other math students and really liked it.

“I really liked tutoring others in math,” she said.

“Some of the upper math courses are really time consuming and really hard. And so it was a lot of time dedicated to visiting professors during office hours. Even some weekends [were spent] in the library studying with a group,” she said.

As far as teaching, she says, her favorite part is “Oh, the students,” she said. “For sure…the relationships…getting to know so many different types of kids on a daily basis. Everyday is a new day.”

Bonlender says the time commitment of grading, balancing time with family time and personal time, is a challenge but being able to connect with students and see how they grow into adults makes it all worth it.

Before she leaves school, she says she has the next day ready to go. She makes sure everything is printed out, all copies are made, and plans are ready.

She was the first to be a teacher on both sides of the family. “That’s kind of unusual, usually you follow suit of kind of the people,” she said.

Bonlender says her father was a Molding Factory manager for 35 plus years and her mother has done it all….cake decorator, child care, lunch lady, school secretary and then school discipline secretary.

“The importance of kids realizing how they do anything is how they do everything. Meaning like how you conduct yourself in a classroom is how you’ll conduct yourself on your sports team or in your club or activity. How you treat your locker and keep it clean is how you’re going to treat and keep your bedroom, and then your house someday, all those things matter,” she says.