Fifteen Omaha Public Schools teachers were named 2019 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award winners.
The award recognizes 15 teachers annually who have shown dedication to their jobs. The award has been given out to nearly 300 teachers since it began two decades ago. Teachers or counselors in Pre-K through 12th grade with two years minimum experience are eligible for nomination.
The teachers, with nominations from students, parents, other teachers, administrators or the general public, are gifted $10,000, an Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award Medallion and $1,000 in McDonald’s gift cards.
Two teachers in Bellevue, Leslie Baxter from Chandler View Elementary and Jessica Korth from Bryan Middle School, were nominated and awarded late April.
Baxter has been teaching special education for 31 in the district, but 26 of those years have been at Chandler View.
Baxter said winning the award was “an honor.”
“It’s very humbling,” she said. “I love teaching so much and it’s not about the money — it’s just the honor of being recognized because I love my job and I love coming to school every day.
“It gives you a pat on the back that you hopefully made a difference in some kid’s life.”
Baxter, who has a small class of 12 students, said her favorite part of teaching is building close relationships with her students and their families.
“We build a little community in our class,” she said.
Korth has taught for 20 years, with 18 years at Bryan Middle School.
Along with middle schoolers, Korth is also a part-time instructor at Bellevue University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Korth, who teaches math at Bryan Middle, said she was “humbled and shocked” when she found out she won the award.
“It feels like a culmination of all of the hard work that I’ve put in over the past 20 years, and dedication I have to the kids,” she said.
Teaching students how to enjoy math is what Korth said is the best thing about being an educator.
“It’s always different, always refreshing,” she said. “There were so many people who didn’t enjoy math, and I knew there was a better way to teach it or enhance math ability.”