Olga Mwenentanda moved to Lincoln from Congo when she was 11 years old. She only knew a few sentences of English when she enrolled at Park Middle School.
Now, more than a decade later, she’ll start work as a second-grade resource teacher at Belmont Elementary School when the new school year begins Aug. 13. She credits those early teachers at Park for helping her get to this point.
“Now I want to have that same effect on students,” Mwenentanda said.
She was one of more than 400 new Lincoln Public Schools teachers who attended a welcome breakfast and all-day orientation on Monday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. They heard from Lincoln Board of Education President Connie Duncan, LPS Superintendent Steve Joel, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, 2017 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Amber Vlasnik from Lincoln High School, as well as a host of other LPS administrators and representatives from the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Education Association.
They heard vital information about a variety of subjects - student services, special education, school security, child abuse and neglect training. They heard inspiring words about the importance of their work. And they heard from each other, sitting at tables with other new teachers from their schools. They used the time between speakers to get to know each other and to discuss issues related to teaching and education.
They also bonded over the butterflies that come with the start of - for most of them - their first teaching jobs.
“I don’t know what to expect. I’m nervous - but a good nervous,” Mwenentanda said.
Katie Kovanda, a new fourth-grade teacher at Belmont, said she’s feeling a “mixture of excited and nervous.”
“But mostly I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I landed my dream job. This is where I wanted to teach.”
Many of the new teachers stopped by the LPS photo booth on their into Monday's breakfast. Check out the photos here.
Published: July 31, 2018, Updated: August 6, 2018