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Playworks Wisconsin Staff Receives National Award

Aug. 29, 2014

Playworks Wisconsin “Coach,” Atoi Sinclair from Siefert Elementary School was recently awarded the Playworks National Rookie of the Year Award. This award recognizes a first-year Playworks program coordinator “coach” who implements exemplary Playworks programming, creating a positive school climate for every child both in and out of the classroom.

Within three weeks of Sinclair’s arrival, Siefert Elementary School principal shared her hopes of becoming one of Playworks’ highest performing partner schools. Fortunately for her, and for Siefert’s students, Sinclair was up to the task. Her intuitive decisions in selecting Junior Coaches, 4th and 5th grade students who lead recess and receive after-school leadership training, and her ability to create an innovative and inspiring playground experience, led to a successful program where children gained confidence and became more excited about recess and in turn, school!

“I enjoy the fact that my job does not feel like work and that what I am teaching these kids goes beyond sports,” said Sinclair. “I love the fact that I get to pass on my skills and knowledge to others and I can watch them succeed and grow.”

Prior to Playworks, Sinclair was a youth sports coach for five years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development from Kaplan University, Davenport, where she has continued her studies as a graduate student. Sinclair along with Playworks Wisconsin Executive Director, Kristina Olkowski, traveled to San Francisco in May for the Playworks Get in the Game event where Sinclair was presented the Rookie of the Year award.

“It was an amazing experience and an honor to travel to California to support Coach Atoi on such a memorable evening,” said Olkowski.“I speak for our entire team here at Playworks Wisconsin on how proud we are of Coach Atoi and the outstanding work she’s done for the children and staff at Siefert Elementary.”

About Playworks Wisconsin
Playworks transforms schools by creating safe, inclusive environments at recess and throughout the school day. We strengthen the social, emotional and physical development of our children, empowering them to thrive. Our programming restores valuable teaching time, reduces bullying, increases physical activity and improves the overall school climate. Playworks Wisconsin launched in Milwaukee in January 2012, and now serves nearly 6,000 elementary students at 12 low-income Milwaukee Public Schools. For more information about Playworks Wisconsin or to join our movement, visit

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