2018 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award Winners

Arens, Rachael

Rachael Arens

RACHAEL ARENS » Science teacher at Northwest High School

» Bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Nebraska at Omaha

» Four years with OPS

A student said, “Her lively attitude and bubbly personality make her one of the most kind and approachable teachers I know.”

Armagan, Sezai (Hakan)

S. Hakan Armagan

S. HAKAN ARMAGAN » Physics teacher at Burke High School

» Bachelor’s from the University of Ankara and master’s from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

» 14 years with OPS

A student said, “Mr. Armagan is the most kind, loving and caring teacher there is. He cares about his students as much as he would his family.”

Eastwood, Penny

Penny Eastwood

PENNY EASTWOOD » Special education teacher at Davis Middle School

» Bachelor’s from Concordia University

» Five years with OPS

A colleague wrote, “Mrs. Eastwood has exhibited unmatched levels of compassion, patience, understanding and constant energy. She truly demonstrates that she cares about her students every moment of the day.”

Foster, Jimmie

Jimmie Foster

JIMMIE FOSTER » Social studies teacher at Central High School

» Bachelor’s and master’s from UNO

» 21 years with OPS

A student said, “In Mr. Foster’s class we learned how to be better students, and most of all, better people.”

Kurmel, Colleen

Colleen Kurmel

COLLEEN KURMEL » Special education teacher at Bancroft Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from Morningside College and master’s from UNO

» 35 years with OPS

A colleague said, “She is a very kind, gentle and calm person; this helps to calm her students, especially when they are agitated or upset.”

Marr, Laura

Laura Marr

LAURA MARR » Pre-kindergarten teacher at Liberty Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from UNO and master’s from Concordia University

» 13 years with OPS

An admirer said, “Lucky are the students that enter Laura Marr’s classroom. Mrs. Marr gives these students an introduction to school that will change their lives forever.”

Martinez, Jodie

Jodie Martinez

JODIE MARTINEZ » English teacher at Central High School

» Bachelor’s and master’s from UNO

» 31 years with OPS

A student said, “I can honestly say she is the reason for every good grade I received on a term paper in college. She has an uncanny way of helping each student shape and articulate their own voice.”

Oshlo, Deborah

Debbie Oshlo

DEBBIE OSHLO » English as a second language teacher at King Elementary School

» Bachelor’s and a master’s from UNO

» 13 years with OPS

A colleague said, “She works very hard to help her students adjust to a new country. She will often spend her own money to get her students what they need.”

Prososki, Durkhany

Durkhany Prososki

DURKHANY PROSOSKI » Fifth-grade teacher at Central Park Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from UNO and master’s from Wayne State College

» 14 years with OPS

A colleague said, “She spends the time to get to know each of her students personally. She is not only an instructor, but a counselor, liaison between parents and the school, as well as a friend.”

Rivera, Ana

Ana Rivera

ANA RIVERA » First-grade teacher at Gomez Heritage Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from the University of Puerto Rico and master’s from Concordia University

» 18 years with OPS

A colleague said, “Ana is willing to give her personal time to help students who may be struggling. She tutored a student who was having a difficult time with Spanish in the mornings, twice a week, on her own time.”

Rowe, Danielle

Danielle Rowe

DANIELLE ROWE » Kindergarten teacher at Washington Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from Wayne State College

» Nine years with OPS

A parent said, “She has the ability to recognize the different variety of students and to tailor her teaching to them. Her kindness and thoughtfulness were always something you could see shine through and that was reflected in the students themselves.”

Rydberg, Rose

Rose Rydberg

ROSE RYDBERG » Music teacher at McMillan Magnet Middle School and North High School

» Bachelor’s and master’s from UNO

» 10 years with OPS

A former student said, “Mrs. Rydberg has made and continues to make one of the longest lasting impressions on my life. She made me fall in love with music and with playing the violin.”

Spath, Nicholas

Nicholas Spath

NICHOLAS SPATH » Music teacher at Beveridge Magnet Middle School

» Bachelor’s and master’s from UNL

» 15 years with OPS

A student wrote, “Mr. Spath is the best music teacher I have ever had. I am able to play two instruments with almost no experience with either of them before middle school and I love it.”

Urbanski, John

John Urbanski

JOHN URBANSKI » Physical education teacher at Morton Middle School

» Bachelor’s from the University of Nebraska at Kearney

» 17 years with OPS

A parent wrote, “I always hoped my son would have wonderful role models and mentors in his life. John has been such a figure.”

Verraneault, Greg

Gregory Verraneault

GREGORY VERRANEAULT » Third-grade teacher at Fullerton Elementary School

» Bachelor’s from UNK and master’s from Peru State College

» 11 years with OPS

A parent said, “I have seen my son flourish under Mr. Verraneault’s guidance. He seems more confident in everything he does, especially with his day-to-day schoolwork.”

Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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