Star Excellence Award

Education Foundation logoStar Excellence Award Program

Two Teacher Honored by Ed Foundation

The Education Foundation of Hudson recently honored two former Hudson teachers with Star Excellence Awards. The winners were retired middle school teacher Gayle Hoaglund and former high school teacher Don “Pinky” Lee. Lee has honored posthumously.

Each teacher was honored by the Education Foundation during ceremonies at the high school in May. Each winner was among those nominated by the public earlier this spring. The Star Excellence Award includes $5,000 in cash for the teacher’s personal use and a handmade, engraved vase.

Hoaglund and her husband Bob, live in North Hudson. Hoaglund began her teaching career in Hudson in 1975 and retired in 2010. She has taught every subject in seventh grade except science but spent the majority of her time teaching communications and language arts.

Hoaglund is a native of New Glarus and earned her teaching degree at UW-Eau Claire. She was a stickler for study skills, most important among them the ability to keep a good notebook. When asked what advice she has for teachers just starting out, she urges them to find mentors among their experienced colleagues. As for students, she recommends trying everything. “Middle school is really the last time to do that. Your time and focus gets narrower in high school and you have to choose things.”

Lee, a native of Eau Claire taught at Hudson High School in 1965 and retired in 2000. He died May 16, 2023 at the age of 84.

He was a star athlete in high school and UW-Eau Claire where he earned his teaching degree.

Lee was a Physical Education teacher in Hudson. Over the years he also coached basketball, football and was the school’s first golf coach. After retirement, Lee moved to Oakdale Minnesota and became a popular figure at Tartan High School as an equipment manager, boys golf coach, and all-around worker at numerous games and events.

Lee is remembered for all the lives he touched and the kindness he showed everyone along the way. His wife Becky accepted the award.

Gayle Hoaglund receiving award.
Honored with a Star Excellence Award retired teacher Gayle Hoaglund, right. Presenting the award is Education Foundation board member Jodell Krause.
Mrs. Lee receiving an award.
Accepting a Star Excellence Award posthumously on behalf of former teacher Don Lee is his wife Becky, right. Presenting the award is Education Foundation board member Jodell Krause.

Excellence Award

The Star Excellence Award is designed to recognize teachers or staff members who have demonstrated an unusual commitment to inspire students to reach for difficult and lofty goals.


Any current or former full-time or part-time employee of a school within the Hudson School district (excluding day care facilities) is eligible for nomination.

Click here to access the Star Excellence Award nomination form. The nominator should mail the Star Excellence Award Nomination form no later than March 1 each year to: Education Foundation of Hudson, PO Box 252, Hudson WI 54016.

The Star Excellence Award is the highest honor the Foundation can bestow on an individual. The honor is designed to recognize teachers or staff who have demonstrated an unusual commitment to inspire students to reach for lofty goals. Persons recognized have earned the respect of students, parents and peers through sustained effort, high moral standards and the likelihood of enduring beneficial effects on the students with whom he/she has worked.

Individuals receiving the Star Excellence Award receive $5,000 for personal use and an engraved vase.

Ed Foundation star excellence award apple shaped plaque.

Star Excellence Award Criteria

  • The basis for nomination is consistent with the mission statement of the Foundation.
  • The nomination should address the extraordinary aspects of the nominee (exceptional creativity, extraordinary commitment to students, enduring interest and encouragement for the attainment of worthy objectives, exemplary character, role model, etc.).
  • The nomination should contain examples of the worthiness of the nominee.