Will Bollwerk began with the Head Start program as an assistant teacher in 2008 and quickly advanced to his current position. He initiated and implemented a partnership between PLT and Salt Lake Head Start to introduce environmental education into all 84 Head Start preschool classrooms in the city that serve low-income families.
He leads numerous professional development workshops for Salt Lake early childhood education specialists, mentor coaches, and special needs coordinators, and visits classrooms to assist new and sometimes struggling teachers. Over the past five years, he has facilitated more than 25 PLT workshops throughout the state, always tailored to the group he is training, with themes ranging from educating children outdoors safely to using the environment to teach STEM concepts.
Will teaches at-risk children at The Road Home’s supportive housing development that helps people overcome homelessness. He enlisted the help of shelter residents and community members to turn an outdoor area into a working garden and uses PLT activities to introduce children to nature and create a new excitement for learning. He has implemented programs to recycle and reduce waste to increase children’s awareness and caring for the environment. In 2014, he was honored as the Utah Head Start Teacher of the Year.
Will was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2015.