Union College honors LPS with Community Partnership Award

Union College honored Lincoln Public Schools with its annual Community Partnership Award on Tuesday during an event at the college.

The award recognizes Lincoln businesses, foundations and organizations that play an integral part in creating a personal, student-focused community that empowers Union College students for a lifetime of learning, service and leadership.

Union College representatives praised LPS for its dedication to teachers, including the opportunity for Union education majors to spend time in LPS classrooms. 

“They realize what a sacred calling it is to be a teacher in this society,” Union College President Vinita Sauder said.

Eric Weber, LPS associate superintendent for human resources, accepted the award on behalf of the school district.

“Our partnership with Union College allows us to continue our tradition of hiring the best teachers and getting them into our classrooms - making a difference in the lives of our 42,000-plus students at Lincoln Public Schools. There is a need - now more than ever - as dedicated professionals are reaching the end of their careers. Our collaboration with Union College allows us to train the next generation,” Weber said, noting that LPS has hired more than 20 Union graduates over the past four years.

One of those Union graduates is Maile Mekelburg, a second-grade teacher at Beattie Elementary School. Speaking Tuesday morning, she thanked both LPS and Union for a partnership that afforded her the opportunity to visit and learn in LPS classrooms as early as her freshman year.

“That’s where I got introduced to Lincoln Public Schools for the first time and I loved my experience with every single teacher I was around in a lot of different schools all across Lincoln,” said Mekelburg, a Pennsylvania native.

Previous winners of the Community Partnership Award are Bryan Health, the Capital Area and Eastern Nebraska Chapter of the American Red Cross, People’s City Mission and Union Bank & Trust.

Published: February 4, 2020, Updated: February 4, 2020

LPS Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Eric Weber accepts the award from Union College Education Program Director Peter Adams. At left is Union College President Vinita Sauder.