Air Force Association honors Chapo as teacher of the year

A Lincoln North Star teacher was recently honored as 2021 state teacher of the year by the Air Force Association (AFA).

Representatives from the AFA Lincoln Chapter 187 presented the award to biology teacher Tracie Chapo in her classroom in October. On hand for the presentation were AFA Lincoln Chapter 187 Secretary Mark Musick, chapter Vice President for Aerospace Education Diane Bartels, chapter Vice President Lang Anderson, North Star Principal Ryan Zabawa and Lincoln Public Schools K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist Betsy Barent.

The annual award honors exemplary K-12 educators who make a profound difference in the lives of their students and the community. It salutes classroom teachers who promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and prepare students to use and contribute to tomorrow's technologies.

In their nomination letters, several former students, parents and administrators wrote of Chapo “leaving no one behind” and her dedication to all students having an equal chance of success. 

Chapo said she felt both “embarrassed and grateful” for the honor.

“Grateful because we all like to be acknowledged when we work hard, and embarrassed because there are so many terrific teachers in LPS who do not get this kind of recognition,” Chapo said. “I think it’s good for North Star because it lets people know this is a great school doing great stuff.”

This is Chapo’s 22nd year teaching. She began as a science specialist at Fredstrom Elementary School for three years, then moved to North Star when it opened in 2003.

“Fortunately what I found out was that I really relish making biology attainable to kids, whether they love it or not, and sometimes they find a new passion,” she said. “I teach regular biology to an incredibly diverse bunch of students with a wide variety of interests and strengths, which makes every day challenging, and different and fun.”

The AFA representatives presented Chapo with award certificates, AFA pins, an AFA padfolio and a jacket embroidered with the AFA emblem and the words "State Teacher of the Year." Chapo also received $1,000, which she designated to be used to support discovery airplane flights for several of the students in the North Star aviation program.

Published: November 30, 2021, Updated: December 6, 2021