July 2, 2020
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
Longtime track leader coached 86 state qualifiers
REEDSVILLE – Christine Shimek went full circle.
It was appropriate given her love of track and longtime coaching career in the sport to go full circle in her personal life too.
A graduate of Reedsville High School, she wound up teaching for 33 years for the same district she spent in K-12. She was hired to teach for Reedsville in the 1987-88 school year and retired this spring.
“I never intended on coming back to Reedsville, to be honest, but I think that was supposed to be the plan because that’s where I ended up,” Shimek said.
She became the head volleyball and track and field coach the year she was hired by the district. She coached volleyball for two years but led the track and field program until this spring.
Along the way she coached 86 state qualifiers. Thirteen of them became state champions. Shimek was a part of the driver’s education program, taught physical education for students from third grade to high school seniors, and officiates volleyball on the side.
Shimek lived in Wayside in her youth and spent time with a family member whose career path she would follow.
“I spent a great deal of time growing up with an aunt who was an elementary phy-ed teacher in Denmark, and we are still very close, and I tease her a lot … that I am who I am because of her,” Shimek said.
Shimek says her aunt had a big influence on her overall, including the path to teaching, though it did not come immediately. Her previous passion was in performing arts as a vocalist.
“At one point I had a very lovely voice. Thirty-six years of screaming in the gym has probably destroyed that,” Shimek said.
When she was a Reedsville student, the music program allowed female freshmen to be in a large girls’ choir – Girls’ Glee. She had to try out to be in the co-ed chorus. There was another performing choir group with light choreography. Shimek was in all three.
She went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for performance arts but changed months into her education to pursue teaching.
“I always loved kids. Like, when I was growing up, if there was a babysitting job it was mine. I always really loved kids and I used to say I wanted 12 of them of my own … that was a little bit too many, so I just became a teacher,” Shimek said.
As an athlete at Reedsville, she was a three-sport athlete in high school in volleyball, basketball, and track and field – all the sports for girls offered at the time.
Please see the complete feature in the July 2, 2020 edition of The Brillion News.