KFOR/KFRX Thank You Teacher Winners For 2021

(KFOR NEWS  March 3, 2021)   Five educators were selected among more than 500 nominees in the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher contest, which asks current and former students throughout the community to write about how a favorite teacher impacted their lives.  The winning educators and students were honored this year at a ceremony with limited attendees held Tuesday at LPS District Office. The event also was available online.

The event was held in conjunction with Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day, which also was Tuesday.

This year’s winners in the five categories were:

  • Preschool-Grade 2: Ashley Livers, Beattie Elementary School, nominated by Jessica Mitchell-McCollough and her daughter, Violet. In her nomination letter, Mitchell-McCollough and her daughter said Livers has gone above and beyond to help her daughter, who has been a remote learner this school year.

“Mrs. Livers has truly been an example of resiliency and community building during a challenging year, always open and honest and willing to be flexible, always supportive and cheerful. What could have been a very hard year has instead turned into a year of opportunities for new kinds of growth and celebrations of new learning. Mrs. Livers deserves to be recognized for her outstanding work in the classroom and Zooming into our homes. She is an incredible educator that has made a world of difference, and I will forever be grateful to her for everything she does everyday for our kids and our community.”

  • Grades 3-5: Daisy Shada, Hill Elementary School, nominated by student Michael Donner and his mother, Jacqui Donner. They said this about Shada in their nomination letter:

“At first, I had a lot of trouble at school and I don’t know why I just couldn’t do what I was supposed to, but Mrs. Shada always made me feel like it was ok to make a mistake and it didn’t make me bad. I wanted to be a good student and she helped me learn what to do when I am mad or frustrated so I can do the right thing and make better choices. She makes me feel like she is proud of me and that makes me feel good because sometimes, before this year, I didn’t feel like I could do a good job in school. But now I love going to school and learning new things. I think Mrs. Shada deserves an award because she is the best teacher I had in my life!”

  • Middle School: Kenneth Pyle, Dawes Middle School, nominated by student Bella Brice. She said this about the impact he has had on her school experience:

“He has made science so much more fun and really tries his hardest everyday to make sure students are getting the education they need in order to succeed. He has helped me in so many ways. My mom passed away in mid-June of 2020 from an unexpected heart attack. It was hard coming back to school. On the first day when I walked into his classroom, I knew it was going to be good.”

  • High School: Lacey Kinning, Lincoln High School, nominated by former student Sona Buchholz, who is now studying to be a teacher herself. She credits her former teacher for her success in high school and now Nebraska Wesleyan University:

“I struggled with science courses throughout school and I absolutely hated them because I always felt weak and incapable due to my Cerebral Palsy. However,  Mrs. Kinning changed my view forever. She made me see that I was strong, smart and truly capable of anything I set my mind to.”

  • Retired: June Reta, Pyrtle Elementary School, nominated by former student and current Pyrtle teacher Sara Ewerth. Ewerth taught alongside Reta at Pyrtle before her retirement.

“June had, and still has, a remarkable memory. She can remember students that she has taught from the beginning of her career! I could barely remember my students’ names from year to year. Even to this day, June can remember her former students, their parents, siblings and where they are now. June has made a difference in my life and in so, so many other lives.”

Thank You Teacher is sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX radio.

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