Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Outstanding Alumni

A Tradition of Excellence in Teacher Education

Chadron State College’s reputation as an outstanding teacher education training institution continues to grow. Year after year, Chadron State graduates are recognized for the outstanding work they do in the classroom and as administrators.

The following is a partial list of those who have been recognized in the past decade.

Among those who have been honored are:

Marla Payne Aguilara, a kindergarten teacher at Somerton Primary School at Somerton, Ariz., was named Teacher of the Year by Arizona’s Small and Rural Schools Association in 1999.

Betty Ash, second grade teacher at the Platte Valley Elementary School at Sedgwick, Colo., was named Colorado’s Outstanding Mathematics Teacher for 1999.

Basil Brave Heart of Pine Ridge , S.D. , was honored in May 2006 by the Hazelden Foundation based in Minnesota for his work in addiction recovery. He earned a bachelor's degree from CSC with majors in English, biology and physical education in 1957. Brave Heart received the Consistent Activity in Recovery in Education Award. He has spent much of his career as an administrator in schools on Indian reservations in Montana , Wyoming and South Dakota . His achievements include founding the Circle of Hope program to provide information and share resources in combating alcoholism and drug addiction in the schools and the community.

Theresa Bustos Bartelo, third grade teacher at the Penrose Elementary School in Colorado Springs, was one of six Crystal Apple Award recipients in her district in 1999.

Dave Bellis, band director at Worland High School in Wyoming, received the Award of Merit from the Wyoming Chapter of the National Federation of Music Teachers in both 1992 and 2000, and was one of 10 recipients nationwide of the John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor Award in 1998. He also was one of 10 Wyoming educators presented the Arch Coal “Teacher Achievement Award for Excellence” in 2001. In addition to his duties at Worland, he has been executive director of the Wyoming All-State Band program since 1991. He has led bands made up of musicians from across the state to the Rose Bowl Parade in both 1991 and 2000, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City in 1994, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, in 1998 and the Bush/Cheney Inauguration Parades in Washington, D.C., in 2001 and 2005.

Suzanne Hess Bottorff, third grade teacher from Gordon, received the Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year Award from the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association in 1999. There were more than 100 applicants for the award.

Claire Coffee Brown, a 1962 Chadron State graduate, received the Excellence in Teaching Award for 2003-04 from the School of Education at the University of Albany in New York. The award is given to the most outstanding of the school’s part-time instructors. During the spring semester, Brown supervised 26 interns being trained to serve as school administrators or school business administrators. She also teaches a graduate course in educational administration.

Marilyn Bush of Truth or Consequences, N.M., where she teaches fourth grade, was that state’s Audubon Society Teacher of the Year in 1998 for her outdoor education project.

Lisa Carder, a business teacher at Boone Central High School in Albion, was among the recipients of the 2002 Nebraska Teacher Achievement Awards presented by the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha. Carder, who received a bachelor’s degree from CSC in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1989, was cited for the “Entrepreneurship Education” project in which she and another Boone Central teacher organized students in purchasing, cleaning and managing the movie theater in Albion. Winners of the Kiewit awards are chosen for significant achievements in curriculum development, student motivation and commitment to the teaching profession. The recipients receive a package totaling $7,000. The $5,000 “base” portion of the award is intended to be used to benefit the recipients’ students and schools. The remaining $2,000 may be used as the recipients choose.

Chris Carlisle, a 1985 CSC graduate with a degree in social science and physical education, was named the 2006 National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society. Carlisle is in his sixth year as director of physical development at the University of Southern California , where he supervises the weight training and conditioning for all 19 of the Trojans' athletic teams. Early in his tenure there, he battled Hodgkin's Disease, which has been in remission the past five years.

Sunny Chancy , who earned both her bachelor's degree (1988) and her master's degree (2000) from CSC, has been selected as the Teacher of the Year for 2007 at Wakulla High School in Florida . She teaches environmental science and biology. She noted that some of her students are so excited to learn that they arrived at their first period class more than 30 minutes early. “I try to push them,” she said, “because many of them don't realize what they can do until they have been pushed. A lot of them want so badly to do well, and it's my job to make them realize that they can.”

Nels Christiansen, a former CSC basketball star, was honored at halftime of the Chadron State-Montana State-Billings basketball game in Billings in December 2002 during “Nels Christiansen night.” He coached and was on the physical education faculty at MSU-B for 35 years before retiring in 1995. During his career, he has been inducted into five halls of fame.

Dr. Charollene Coates, professor emeritus at Chadron State College, was selected as the 1996 Nebraska Professor of the Year, by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In February 2001, she was one of three recipients of the Friend of Reading Award given at the Nebraska State Reading Association Conference.

Francis Cortney was honored in 1998 when a junior high school in Las Vegas, Nev., was named for him after he’d been a middle school principal in that city for 17 years. Teachers from the school where he was principal submitted his name to the committee that made the decision.

John Deti, a 1963 CSC graduate, was inducted into the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame in June, 2004. He taught and coached football at Laramie High School 1977-2002, leading the Plainsmen to a 157-79 record that included seven state championship game appearances and state titles in 1984 and 1994.

Two Chadron State graduates at the Leyton Schools at Dalton, Neb., received the “Golden Apple Award” in 2000 given by KOLN/KGIN and the Nebraska State Education Association for “their contribution to education.” They are Harlin Dormann, the school’s principal, and Ruth Cottier, an elementary and junior high teacher.

Two CSC graduates were selected as Principals of the Year in their states in 1996. They are Rich Deaver of Sturgis, S.D., and Randy Ludeman of Sundance, Wyo.

Sharla Tollman Dowding, biology and chemistry teacher at Newcastle, Wyo., was selected as Wyoming’s Presidential High School Science Teacher of the Year for 2001. The honor includes a $7,500 stipend to strengthen her program. In 1999, she was a recipient of a national Radio Shack Tandy Scholarship Teacher’s Award that included a $2,500 grant and a trip to Boston for a conference.

Barbara Lee Dutrow, professor of geology at Louisiana State University, is a distinguished national lecturer for Sigma Xi and the Mineralogical Society of America. She served on the board of directors and as secretary of MSA, which also elected her to fellowship status. She has been the recipient of $1.5 million in grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies. She was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council’s Board on Earth Science and Resources in 1999.

Carolyn Escamilla, a fourth grade teacher at the Roosevelt School in Scottsbluff, received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2000. The awards are presented to teachers “who make a lasting impression,” and includes a $25,000 grant.

Bruce Ford, principal at Chamberlain High School in South Dakota, was inducted into the Job Corps Hall of Fame during July 2002 ceremonies in Washington, D.C. A high school dropout, Ford graduated from the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center in 1969. Sixteen years later he enrolled at Chadron State and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the college. Before going into administration, he taught math at both the Job Corps Center south of Chadron and at Northwest College at Powell, Wyo.

Patricia Fitzpatrick, a third grade teacher at Kimball, received a Peter Kiewit Foundation Nebraska Teacher Achievement Award in 2000. She was honored for developing a program in which her students study the world’s greatest artists, dating back to the masters who lived centuries ago.

Steven Gardiner, a 1977 graduate, teaches English and journalism at Billings Senior High School in Montana. He has received the Medal of Merit and the Master Journalism Educator Award from the Journalism Education Association and been named a Special Recognition Adviser by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund in Chicago. He also has written four books, three of them on his experiences while climbing mountains on nearly every continent. The latest is “Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading,” published in 2005. He also is the author of more than 500 articles that have been published in newspapers and magazines.

Patty Hawk , who graduated from CSC in 1985, has been named the 2006-2007 “Exemplary Teacher” by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church . She is a communications professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln . The church presents the award annually to express its support for outstanding teaching, value-centered education and service to students and the institution. The honor includes a $500 stipend.

Mary Gould-Traphagan of Crawford and Roy Ferris of Valentine, both CSC graduates, were among the Nebraska high school social science teachers selected in the spring of 2004 to participate in a “Teaching Democracy Appreciation” project sponsored by the Nebraska Legislature and the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

Gregg Gramberg, 1988 graduate, has more than 140 students daily at Dakota Middle School in Rapid City. He was named the South Dakota Technology Teacher of the Year by that state’s Technology Education Association in 2003. He was recognized for helping his students learn technology, communications and mechanical operations as they became involved in career exploration, desktop publishing, television production and pneumatics.

Kim Hanisch, a science teacher at Ogallala High School, received the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship in 2000. She is using much of the $28,245 grant that she received for computers and interactive software to develop a more research/inquiry –based science program for the school. “We’re putting more technology into our science program now,” she said. `

Paige Tuttle Havranek, now an English teacher in Scotland, S.D., was the Nebraska recipient of the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher honor while at Ainsworth, Neb., in 1995.

Sharon Arthur Hoffman, who has taught music at Bayard ever since graduating from Chadron State in 1979, was named the Nebraska Music Educator of the year at the 2005 fall conference of the Nebraska Music Educators. She was nominated for the award by another CSC graduate, Kathy Huerta Simpson, who teaches music at Millard West in Omaha . Both were charter inductees into the CSC Music Hall of Fame in 2002. Groups Hoffman directs have received numerous awards and sung at many locations, including Mount Rushmore, Worlds of Fun in Kansas City , Elitch's Gardens in Denver , the Jefferson Memorial and Pentagon in Washington , D.C. , Disney World in Florida and the cruise ship Fascination. In the spring of 2007, 26 students from Bayard will participate in First Lady Laura Bush's National Anthem project in Washington , D.C.

Moni Hourt, who is a teacher at Glen School in Sioux County, was presented the National Rural Education Association’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2004. She also received Peter Kiewit Foundation Nebraska Teacher Achievement Awards in 1996 and 2000 and was the Northwest Nebraska Region’s Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year in 2002. Two of her students have had projects place second at National History Day in Washington, D.C.

Rex Jones, a 1959 graduate, received the Section 5 (six states) Citation Award from the National Federation of State High School Associations in Boston in June 2002 shortly after he retired as associate director of Nebraska School Activities Association. In that capacity, Jones was a member of the National High School Football, Wrestling and Track and Field Rules Committees for many years. He was chairman of the wrestling committee for seven years and the football committee four years. He was presented Chadron State’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001. He began his career as a teacher and coach and also served as a high school principal.

Ivan Kerschner, principal at Eagle Valley High School at Gypsum, Colo., was a recipient of the $25,000 Milken National Education Award in 1996. The previous year, he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.

Mike Kinnaird, principal of Advanced Technology Academy in Las Vegas, was named the 1997 Principal of the Year for Nevada by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He also helped design the school. In addition, he has received the $25,000 Milken Family Foundation Award that is presented to educators who have “left a lasting impression.”

Don Knauss of Omaha, a 1955 graduate, was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in September 2004. He began his boys’ basketball coaching career at Gering, where his teams had a 118-51 record. He then was the boys’ coach at Omaha Benson for 15 years where his teams had a 199-98 record and won six district championships. He concluded his career by coaching the Omaha Central girls’ team five years and compiling a 57-48 record. A Bridgeport native.

Cindy Lanik, a 1989 CSC graduate, was honored by the U.S. Department of Education as Nebraska 's American Star of Teaching for 2006. The award goes to just one educator in each state. Lanik teaches math, spelling, science and the language arts to fourth, fifth and sixth graders in the Hemingford Middle School . She also is the high school's cross-country coach. Her willingness to spend extra time helping students and her obvious love for teaching were factors in her selection.

Gary Largo, a social studies teacher at Scottsbluff High School since graduating from CSC in 1976, was the first winner of the Nebraska State Education Association Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001. He was recognized for his “innovation and positive teaching methods.” Specifically, he was cited for developing two courses that he teaches, “Sectionalism, Civil War and Reconstruction” and “The ‘60s.”

Bill Lewis was one of 10 individuals receiving citations from the National Federation of High School Associations in the summer of 2004. He also was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 after serving 16 years as supervisor of officials for the Nebraska School Activities Association. A 1968 graduate of CSC, he began his career as an elementary teacher and later was an elementary principal.

Dayleen Collins Liakos of Pender was a co-recipient of a Peter Kiewit Foundation’s Nebraska Teacher Achievement Award in 1999 for the program “The Prairie Across the Curriculum.”

Catie Limbach , a 1986 Chadron State graduate who teaches kindergarten in her hometown of Crawford, was selected as Nebraska 's Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for 2006. The Wal-Mart Award includes a $10,000 educational grant for use by the winning teacher's school. In particular, Limbach was recognized for leaving her teaching position for a semester to help her school launch the preschool program last January. Those who nominated her said she spent countless hours and used many of her own resources to convert a storage room into an attractive classroom for the new program.

Daniel Long was the first recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth A.H. Green School Educator Award presented by the American String Teachers Association in conjunction with the National School Orchestra Association in 1997 while he was teaching music in the Ann Arbor, Mich., Schools. Earlier, he had been named Teacher of the Year by both the Michigan Band and Orchestra Association and Michigan’s American String Teacher Association.

Todd Lowry, who earned his master's degree from CSC in 2002, led the volleyball team from National American University at Rapid City , S.D. , to a perfect 41-0 record and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship in 2006. He was named the NAIA Coach of the Year. Just four of the Mavericks' 41 matches went four games.

Joe McKay of Kalispell, Mont., where he coached track and field at Flathead High School for about 35 years, was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001. He was selected as the association’s National Girls’ Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2001 and received that honor from the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association for 1999. Twelve of his Flathead High teams won Class AA state meet championships.

Carol Markheim was a recipient of the 2002 Nebraska Teaching Achievement Award presented by the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha. A first grade teacher at the Roosevelt School in Scottsbluff, Markheim was recognized for her language arts project, “Student to Parent,” in which children wrote stories in English and used a laptop computer to translate them into Spanish. The parents of 14 of her 17 students spoke Spanish. The project helped involve the parents in their children’s education. Markheim received her bachelor’s degree from CSC in 1986.

Nancy Helberg Miller, a 1976 graduate, was selected teacher of the year for 2005 in the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Ag Promotion and Agriculture in the Classroom program. She is a seventh and eighth grade teacher in the Potter-Dix Public Schools. She was recognized for incorporating agriculture into the school’s basic curriculum, and for giving her students hands-on experiences that relate to their everyday lives. She will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2006 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 20-24, and will be a candidate for the national award.

Cindy Moravek of Shoshoni, Wyo., received the Wyoming Presidential Award for Excellence in Math Teaching in 1998. The award included a $7,500 grant from the National Science Foundation and a trip to the National Math Convention in Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Murdock, who earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Chadron State , received the J.R. MacNeel Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Counselors for 2006 from the Wyoming Counseling Association. She is a doctoral student at the University of Wyoming . The award recognizes Murdock's innovation in putting UW's "Fundamentals of Counseling" course online and widening the discipline's exposure to new audiences.

Bud Murray, baseball coach at William S. Hart High School at Newhall, Calif., was named the High School Baseball Coach of the Year by the California Coaches Association in 1999 after his team won the Southern California division, which included teams from 26 leagues. His career coaching record when he retired that year was 516 wins and 178 losses.

Connie Neugebauer received the 1996 South Dakota Sallie May First Class Teacher Award while teaching in a rural school in the Custer County School District. She received a $1,500 scholarship with the honor.

Bill O'Boyle, who received his master's degree from Chadron State in 1991, was selected as the NCAA Division II National Football Coach of the Year by both Sportexe, a synthetic turf manufacturer, and Football Gazette, after leading the CSC Eagles to the playoff quarterfinals and a 12-1 record in 2006.

Michael Stedillie was named Teacher of the Year for the Natrona County School District at Casper , Wyo. , in the fall of 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree from CSC in 1974 and his master's degree in 1986. This is his 21 st year at Kelly Walsh High School , where he is the artistic and technical theatre director and a drama teacher. He meets with about 100 students a day. One of his told the Casper Star-Tribune that Stedillie teaches much more the subject matter. She said, “He was very strong on life skills as well. He stresses being trustworthy with people, being on time for events, taking responsibility.”

Jane Tangeman Newblom, a business teacher at Sheridan High School, located on the outskirts of Indianapolis, was named first-runner-up for Indiana Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Department of Education for 2006. She is a 1978 graduate of Chadron State. There are more than 66,000 teachers in Indiana.

Larry Overton, the orchestra director and district music coordinator at Fort Morgan, Colo., for 35 years, was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Association’s Hall of Fame in 1999 and into the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Hall of Fame in 2002. He was the first Colorado recipient of the John F. Kennedy Alliance for Arts Education Award in 1989.

JoAnne Owens-Nauslar was the first recipient of the Excellence in Advocacy Award given by P.E.4LIFE, based in Washington, D.C., in 2001. A resident of Lincoln, Owens-Nauslar is director of corporate and community relations for Walk4Life after serving 10 years as director of professional development for the American School Health Association. She flies at least 100,000 miles a year and has presented more than 1,000 keynote addresses at national, regional and state education gatherings in the past 10 years. In March 2006, her newest book, “Buts and Bellies Begone! Lessons on Being Fit and Faithful,” was published.

Tari Nelson Phares, a 1991 graduate, was selected as the South Dakota Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year for 2005-06 by that state’s Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She teaches at the Black Hawk and Horace Mann Elementary Schools in Rapid City. At the awards ceremony, Phares was cited for “her dedication and commitment to her students and her concern for their physical well-being.”

Andrea Powers, who directs the alternative program at Hot Springs High School in South Dakota, was selected for the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program and spent a month visiting schools in Japan in the fall of 2000. Two hundred U.S. teachers participated. The trip was fully funded by the Japanese government.

Michael Pruter, a 1977 graduate of Chadron State, was the recipient of the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award for 2003-04. He is an elementary teacher at Lakeside Central Elementary School at Stratton, Neb. He has taught there 27 years and was chairman of the district’s school improvement steering committee at the time he received the award.

Patricia Randolph, Spanish teacher at Scottsbluff High School, was selected as the Teacher of the Year for Nebraska in 1998 by the National Council of Chief State School Officers and the Nebraska Department of Education. The previous year, she had received a Fulbright Inaugural Fellowship to Japan, was selected Nebraska’s Foreign Language Teacher of the Year and received a Peter Kiewit Nebraska Teacher Achievement Award. In the early 1990s, she received a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and a Kellogg Foundation Youth for Understanding Fellowship. In 2002, she was among the recipients of the Star Award given by the Nebraska Department of Education during the Nebraska Foreign Language Conference in Lincoln. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSC.

Sherry Shannon Retzlaff of Rushville received the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year Award for Nebraska for 2005. The $10,000 grant that the school received was used to purchase computers for the elementary teachers in Rushville. The award was not the first for Retzlaff. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Nebraska State Education Association’s Award for Teaching Excellence and was one of the five finalists for the National Education Association’s Award during a program in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received the Ike Friedman Teacher Leadership Award presented by Ak-Sar-Ben in 2003. That award included a $750 stipend, which was used to help start a pre-school program in Rushville.

Stacey Romick-Imig, a counselor at the Grandview School in Alliance, was presented a 1999 Nebraska Teacher Achievement Award from the Peter Kiewit Foundation for her career exploration curriculum that includes taking students to visit to her alma mater, Chadron State, and becoming “college students for a day.” She received a $7,000 stipend.

Dave Sanders was a Chadron State College graduate who died in the Columbine High School tragedy in Denver on April 20, 1999. He had taught at Columbine for 25 years, going there directly after graduating from CSC in 1974. That fateful day, His alert actions emptied the cafeteria of an estimated 200 students before the gunmen arrived. He then scurried to another part of the school to warn more students before he was fatally wounded. It was noted that he could have easily have fled to safety, but his concern was for the students. Among the many awards he received posthumously was the prestigious ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage on Valentine’s Day, 2000 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The audience, which included outstanding athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Mark McGwire, rose for a standing ovation after watching a video tribute to Sanders’ life. When Sanders was announced as the recipient of the award, ESPN Executive Editor John Walsh was quoted as saying “…he showed the world what real courage is all about when he gave his life for his students.”

Craig Schadwinkel of Gering was named the Outstanding Elementary Physical Education Instructor in Nebraska for 2005 by the Nebraska Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1980 and his master’s degree in 1998, both from Chadron State. He has taught elementary physical education in the Gering Schools for 26 years and has compiled a 411-97 record as the Bulldogs’ volleyball coach. One of Schadwinkel’s innovations was developing a skills check list to monitor his students’ progress. He also has attempted to integrate physical education with other subjects and has developed activities for students with special physical education needs.

Laurie Schmidt, a Chadron elementary teacher received her master’s degree from Chadron State in 1999, the same year as she was president of the Nebraska State Reading Association. She was recognized for several innovative practices she had put in place in her classroom when she received the Nebraska Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year Award in 2001 and also received the state’s only Celebrate Literary Award from the reading association in 2003.

Dennis Schmitz, superintendent at Pender, was selected as the Administrator of the Year for 2001 by the Nebraska State Reading Association after he took the lead in putting a more effective K-12 Language Arts Program at the school. The program included obtaining new materials and training of teachers.

Terri Scofield Gaeddert received the McCreery Teaching Award during the 2006 spring commencement at Sterling College in Kansas . She is assistant professor of education at Sterling College the past four years. The McCreery Award was established in honor of Sterling College 's fourth president, William M. McCreery, and has been awarded annually since 1977 to a faculty member for providing unusually noteworthy and innovative instruction.

Annita Shaw, a visual art teacher at Central Kitsap Junior and Senior High School at Silverdale, Wash., received the National Art Education Association’s Middle Level Art Educator of the Year Award for 2001. She had earlier received the award for the state of Washington and the Pacific Region. She filled several offices, including president, of the state association and was named Washington’s Christa McAuliffe Award recipient for art education.

Lana Sides, who holds three degrees from CSC and is principal at the Sidney Middle School, received the Outstanding New Principal Award presented by the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals in 2002.

Marla Smith, science teacher at Imperial, received the Environmental Protection Agency’s National “Drinking Water Hero Award” in 1999. She was one of only seven honored and the only teacher. She also received the Ike Friedman Teacher Leadership Award for leadership, commitment and excellence in 2000. Earlier in the 1990s, she received a state award for conservation education, a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and an Excellence in Earth Science Teaching Award from the National Geological Society of America.

Milford Smith, superintendent of the Odell Public Schools for 28 years, was named co-recipient of the Administrator of the Year Honor by the Nebraska Rural Community School Association in 2000.

Cloyde Snook was honored in early 2001, when the new two-story art gallery at Adams State College at Alamosa, Colo., was named for him. Snook taught art at that institution for 26 year and was recognized numerous times for both his teaching abilities and as a ceramist.

Mike Speirs, a 1990 Chadron State graduate, was honored as Nebraska 's high school boys' coach of the year for 2006 by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star after leading the Howells Bobcats to six consecutive Nebraska Eight-Man 1 football championships. His teams have a 76-2 record during the six-year span.

Terry Statton was honored as the Wyoming Principal of the Year in 1997 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Statton and his wife Patty, also a CSC graduate, spent several years as educators at American International School in Egypt earlier this decade.

Frances Cortez Stokes, fifth grade teacher at Hot Springs, S.D., was awarded South Dakota’s Christa McAuliffe Fellowship for the 1999-2000 school year. The award is valued at approximately $23,000. She also was named the Outstanding Social Studies Teacher in South Dakota in 1983-94 and was first runner-up for the McAuliffe Fellowship in 1990. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSC.

Jamalee Stone, a math teacher at Rushville High School, was the Nebraska winner of the Christa McAuliffe Award for 2000. In addition, she was one of two secondary teachers in Nebraska to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Teaching in 1997 and was presented the Tandy Prize given through Texas Christian University to reward excellence in teaching math, science and computer science in 1998. In addition, she received an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship in 2003 and studied at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters in Washington, D.C., for about nine months.

Sandra Konrath Thompson of Bayard was selected as the Teacher of the Year for those with 13-plus years of teaching by the Family and Consumer Science Teachers of Nebraska in 1999. In addition, she was named the outstanding member of the Career and Technical Education Association (formerly vocational education) for 2000.

Jackie Klerk Waldie, a 1998 graduate, was just 27 years old when she was selected the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year for South Dakota in 2002. She is a fifth grade teacher at the Rapid Valley Elementary School in Rapid City. She was cited for taking a leadership role in integrating technology into the classroom. She said her system requires the students to “click around and find what they need,” and makes it possible for her to modify the assignments to assist both special-needs students and those who are gifted. With the funds the school received for the Wal-Mart award, a digital projection system was purchased, and she organized a monthly “virtual field trip” via satellite for all the Rapid Valley students to take.

Tim Walz, who teaches geography, history and sociology at Mankato West High School, was one of six Minnesota teachers to receive a $10,000 award recognizing their high performances and contributions to the teaching profession in the spring of 2002. He also received an Ethics in Education award from the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation. After graduating from CSC in 1989, Walz spent a year teaching in China. He has led several summer tours to China since returning. A parent of one of Walz’s students said, “The gift that Tim Walz gives his students is to think for themselves and to appreciate another point of view.”

Steve Wickham, assistant principal at Kearney High School, was named Assistant Principal of the Year for Nebraska at the 2000 Nebraska Assistant Principals Conference. The National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals and McDonald’s sponsor the award.

This document was compiled by the Information Office at Chadron State College. Some of the award recipients may no longer hold the jobs they had when they were honored.