Our Schools, Our Stories: Pride runs deep in Nebraska's Public Schools

Our Schools, Our Stories: Pride runs deep in Nebraska's Public Schools

By Tyler Dahlgren

NCSA Communications Specialist



One by one, award-winning principals stepped on the podium at the Nebraska State Principal Conference in Kearney earlier this month.

Each one had a speech planned out, as a ballroom full of proud peers looked on. Most became emotional in thanking their families, their administrations, and their peers.

I was right in front of the stage, snapping photos (sorry about the flash) of these leaders in education. And in their respective schools, these principals are just that: Leaders.

Confident, staunch, proud, dedicated, steadfast leaders. To do the job they do, and to do it as well as they do it, one must hold an incontestable commitment to public education.

The really good ones are also caring, compassionate and understanding. These principals are at the foundation of what makes Nebraska’s public schools so special.

On that podium in a Kearney conference center, those honored had a moment to reflect and those in attendance had the opportunity to appreciate their peers. Not all of the award-winners cried (and I swore secrecy to a few that did), but you could feel their passion. It was almost tangible, even 20 feet in front of the stage.

I’m relatively new in my position with NCSA, and I am really new to the field of education. When I started in October, I knew that I believed in Nebraska’s public schools. I didn’t know, however, how special our schools really are.

Well, I’m learning fast.

For a little over two months, I’ve been visiting and talking with schools throughout the state, highlighting some of the success stories in our public schools for Nebraska Public School Advantage (NPSA), and working alongside Nebraska Loves Public Schools.


*Have you found the holiday spirit yet? They sure have at Lincoln's Huntington Elementary. Read about their Holiday Headquarters, which helps out families in need.Click Here!


*Did you miss the one about Pippin? The drive north to Laurel to meet the school’s therapy pony was definitely worth it. Get to know Pippin, a friend to many: Click Here!


*You might not have heard of Fullerton, Nebraska. It’s a school with a big time commitment to academic excellence in a town that really, really cares. And they won the Blue Ribbon Award. Click Here!


*I went back to my hometown and visited my old high school, where students enjoy a full-size greenhouse, which also houses an aquarium. Talk about a learning tool! Click Here!


*Teachers in Hastings, along with good-hearted high school students, came together to develop an impressive on-site food and supply pantry to help local kids in need. Click Here!


*On the panhandle, ESU 13 is taking an advanced approach to alternative education. No student gets left behind in the Scottsbluff area. VALTS and LifeLink are awesome schools ran by awesome people. Click Here!


*Clark Kolterman is fully engulfed in his teaching duties, and countless other endeavors, at Seward High School. Meet Mr. Seward. Click Here!


*At Thayer Central, they really know how to honor their Veterans. Click Here!


*And an elementary school in North Omaha that has no plans of giving up on its students any time soon. Read about Wakonda, Nebraska’s first “Turnaround” school. Click Here!


*Organizing trips to the State Capitol. Lining up a series of speakers. Running student elections. All in a day’s work for Norris government teacher Scott Harrington. Click Here!


These administrators and teachers were thrilled to share their stories, because they’re proud of where they work, and the students they work so tirelessly for.

Nebraska is filled with intuitive, creative and passionate leaders and educators.

Stick around, because we’re going to tell you all about them.