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Classified Aplus Award Winner
Dennis Schumacher, Custodian at Anderson Grove Elementary
This individual has been a custodian in our District for the past 14 years. He was described by his nominators as unbelievably positive, a role model, a handy man, a care giver, a supporter, an educator and a whole lot more. Each of his supporting letters talked about the great relationships he builds with students and how he mentors kids that need extra attention….always finding a project for a student that needs to be occupied. He developed a program known as the golden tray award to encourage positive behavior in the cafeteria and he always talks and treats kids with kindness. But his impact on his school doesn’t stop there. 
One letter from a teacher said, “He often helps me think outside of the box on how to do a lesson for a class or helps make something I could use to teach a class.” This individual is truly making a difference in the education of our students.
Another letter says, “Every year he comes to my classroom to work with students during our electricity and magnetism unit. This is always one of the student’s favorite activities of the year. Even parents talk about how much students enjoy learning from him.”
In a final letter a teacher talks about coming to school and being presented with a hand crafted, custom build rocking chair for his 2 year old daughter. “Who does that?” the teacher said in the letter. Dennis Schumacher does it! And he does it for all the young children of the staff.
Rookie of the Year Aplus Award Winner
Seth Hiveley, P.E. Teacher at La vista West Elementary
This year’s recipient is an elementary PE teacher.   A common theme throughout his nomination packet was great teacher and great role model for students.  One of his colleagues said, “Students come first for him!  He goes above and beyond to strengthen relationships with every child.  Every morning he brings a smile and positive attitude to work.  He takes time to talk with all students in walking club starting their day off right.  He even attends the student’s baseball games, basketball games and any activities outside of school that are important to the students.”
This individual is seen a leader in the District for PE curriculum.  One letter said, “He feels it is his responsibility to provide strategies classroom teachers can use to incorporate movement into their daily routine for kids so he created integrated curriculum units to support reading, writing and math while engaged in physical activity.”  These units are now used districtwide.
One of the teachers in his building supported this when she wrote, “His classroom IDEAL goal focused on Kindergarten students being able to read and preform the PE tier vocabulary words.  He assessed student’s ability to read the word alone, to read the word with a picture and to perform the action of the word. “
This individual is truly about developing and growing the whole child. He uses his role as a PE teacher to teach students about staying fit and learning academics.    A final letter summarized his impact on the students she said, “He volunteers his plan time, his lunch time and any other time he can find to be a “reward” for kids. Classes can earn special activity time with him and individual students work for time with him as part of their behavior plan.”
Elementary Aplus Award Winner
Sue Pieper, Lit Facilitator at Walnut Creek Elementary
This individual has been with the Papillion-La Vista School District for the past 29 years. Two common themes emerged from her nomination packet… her impact on students and her impact on teachers.
As a lit Facilitator this individual has impacted the love of reading for hundreds of students.  One nominator wrote, “She sponsored the Battle of the Books program where almost 40 students participated.   All of them were excited about reading and discussing books.  One student particular thrived from her teaching.  This child became an avid reader and her grandparent thanked this individual for instilling a passion of learning onto her grandchild. Another parent thanked her for giving extra assistance to her son with special need so he could successfully participate in the program.  The parent said, due to this individuals impact her son’s self-esteem grew because of his ability to participate with his peers.”
There is no doubt that this individual has impacted hundreds or even thousands of students and their love for reading.  However, what sets her aside is the impact she has on teachers. One teacher wrote, “I cannot count the number of times I have slumped into her office, feeling defeated, and walked out with a number of great energizing ideas.  She would even take time out of her own busy schedule to model different ways to teach.”
Another teacher wrote, “She is a master in coaching other teachers to be better at what they do.  We have all benefited from her coaching.”
Secondary Aplus Award Winner
Nate Cain, Special Education Teacher at Papillion-La Vista South High School
As a teacher for students with special needs, this individual has impacted the lives of some of the most challenging and rewarding students in the high school.  He has served as a role model for other students and staff on accepting all and treating everyone with respect and dignity.
This 2014 Secondary teacher of the year is described as an individual that has NO limits when it comes to meeting the needs of his students. To illustrate the impact he has had on so many I want to share a story of two brothers with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy.    Our teacher was the advocate for these two boys in so many ways.  He saw to it that the students received adequate medical attention, particularly as the older brothers health began to worsen.   One of the nominators said, “I cannot shake the memories of our teacher giving up his own lunch time every day to sit next to the recliner brought into school for the oldest and making sure he ate lunch and had great conversation.   Through a wish granted by Make a Wish Foundation.  This individual took these two brothers to WWE wrestling live.  And he and his fiancé also took the boys to their first Nebraska game.  Even though they were Iowa natives they still wore red.
This past March when the older brother passed away it was our Aplus winner that told the younger brother that his best friend had died and together they told the younger sister who is now a freshman.    He then spent his spring break assisting the family with the funeral arrangement and was a speaker at the funeral.  A former student wrote about his talk at the funeral and she described it like this, “I was lucky enough to be at the funeral when he spoke about how knowing Reuben had changed his life.  This really touched me because even when he had done everything in his power to make Reuben’s short time here on Earth enjoyable, he believed Reuben had touched his life in an even bigger way.  This speaks volumes about his huge heart and how humble he is.”  
One of the nominators echoed this belief as she describes his role in a monumental moment at their school.  She said, “One Friday night this past fall following our homecoming football game, this individual proudly stood, quiet, and humble as the entire crowd erupted in cheers and tears as a student with Down Syndrome was crowned Homecoming King.  40,000 hits later on social media sites.  Our teacher would never be the one to brag about his role in the king’s popularity.  But those of us who watch him know that he played a large role in the inclusion of this student and all students. 
To summarize, I want to share a comment from a freshman student who has many behavior troubles and a very rough home life.  He said, “I want to be a man like Mr. Cain is, someone who others can look up to.”
Foundation Aplus Award Winner
Kiley Benson, Kids Club Site Director at Rumsey Station Elementary
This individual has been employed with the Kids Club program since 2001.  She is currently the Kids Club site Director at Rumsey Station Elementary.
She has been described by many as the go to site director, that knows how it should be done and models best practice for everyone.  She is known for putting the kids first and doing whatever it takes to make Kids club a fun, and safe place for students.  Her staff describes her as a great mentor and role model, influencing many to grow professionally.
She is known for promoting a true team environment at her site where everyone will do what it takes to meet the needs of the students and families.   She is known for making her summer program come to life for the students.  She has been describe has transposing the school gym into a different world centered around whatever the theme for the year may be.
Though she is focused on fun for the students she has mastered the skill of having fun in a structured and routine way so students know and understand boundaries and what is and is not acceptable.  Her site always operates in an orderly fashion that parents have grown to appreciate and students enjoy.


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