Two LPS world language educators win state awards
Tammy Lamprecht and Danielle Fulcher have given Lincoln Public Schools students the keys to unlocking new languages with their world-class teaching talents.
The Nebraska International Languages Association (NILA) and Nebraska Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (NATSP) recognized both LPS leaders at the statewide NILA convention. Lamprecht received the NILA Outstanding World Language Teacher Award and Fulcher received the NATSP Spanish Teacher of the Year Award. Lamprecht teaches Japanese at Southwest High School and Fulcher leads Spanish classes at Northwest High School.
Lamprecht has helped hundreds of people in her role as the district’s lone Japanese-language teacher. She has earned a large amount of goodwill from students, co-workers and area residents with her efforts.
Lamprecht said she was astonished when she heard her name called at the state convention.
“During the NILA conference when I received the award, I was utterly shocked because there are so many amazing teachers I work with every day who are also deserving, and it’s humbling to think that I was honored in this way,” Lamprecht said. “A feeling of gratitude washed over me because I know I didn’t get here on my own. Every day I get to teach the thing I love learning, and I get to work with so many great students.”
Sasha Van Zandt chairs Northwest’s world language department and is a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) liaison at Southwest. She said Lamprecht is beloved at LSW because of her positive and encouraging personality.
“I was able to see all of the student nominations that students submit throughout the year when they nominate their teachers for helping them succeed,” Van Zandt said. “In reading through all of the nominations, I can conclude that Tammy’s teaching approach is selfless and engaging, and the environment that she provides for students is welcoming and safe.”
Kelleen Rosebaugh said NILA Board of Directors members felt the same way. Rosebaugh served as NILA communications and program chair in 2023. She teaches German at both Southeast High School and Schoo Middle School.
“In reviewing Tammy’s recommendation, she had a long history of working towards goals in common with NILA and ACTFL (the national organization),” Rosebaugh said. “She works on building the proficiency of her students and supplying opportunities for them to build a community within the school as well as Nebraska and Japan.”
Lamprecht began studying Japanese in 1990. She was interested in the language because it was unique and different, and she wanted to see if she could learn each of the written characters. She was also fascinated with the mixture of traditional customs and technological advancements in Japanese culture.
Lamprecht attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the 1994-95 academic year studying abroad at Kwansei Gakuin University. She returned to Japan after graduation and worked for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Nagano Prefecture for three years. She taught at Blair High School for two years before moving to Southwest in 2002.
Lamprecht runs a pen-pal program between American and Japanese students and places Japanese study-abroad students with American families. She organizes student trips to Japan and sponsors a Japanese club at Southwest. She also encourages LSW students to take part in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Language Fair each year.
Lamprecht’s influence is also being felt in lower grades. Rosebaugh said LPS middle schools are piloting an exploratory curriculum this year that features various world languages. She said her sixth-grade students have enjoyed taking Japanese lessons that Lamprecht created.
Lamprecht said it is fun to have LSW alumni visit her classroom each year to share their experiences living, working or studying in Japan. It is also rewarding to watch the self-esteem of her current students skyrocket each semester.
“One thing I really enjoy is seeing students grow in confidence as they realize they can read those ‘different-looking’ characters (hiragana, katakana and kanji) in the Japanese language, and they can understand and be understood when they take risks and use their Japanese skills,” Lamprecht said.
Amber Leinart teaches Spanish at Logan View Public Schools and served as NATSP president in 2023. She led a portion of this year’s NILA convention and began describing the winner of the Nebraska Spanish Teacher of the Year Award to everyone. Fulcher said she was stunned as she heard Leinart list many familiar facts.
“The people at the table with me knew about my nomination and they said it was funny seeing the realization appear on my face,” Fulcher said. “I am so honored and blessed to have such wonderful colleagues in world language departments and schools across the state, and I am so grateful for the nomination.”
Leinart and Chrystal Liu said they were happy to see Fulcher receive statewide attention. Liu joined Crete teacher Angie Wagoner and Elkhorn teacher Alicia Shoemaker as co-nominators for the award.
“In my role as the world language specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education, I have had the privilege of collaborating closely with Danielle on various projects,” Liu said. “She is an exceptional educator, characterized by her unwavering drive, creative prowess, organizational acumen and an unwavering passion for her craft. These qualities have not only endeared her to her students but have also made her a respected figure among her colleagues.”
“She is an amazing advocate for world language programs and serves on numerous committees to create programs and resources for all Nebraska educators,” Leinart said.
Fulcher grew up in Lincoln and is a LPS grad. The educator attended Morley Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School. She fell in love with the language after taking her first Spanish class with Sharon Shipp in sixth grade. She said the positive qualities of Shipp and other Spanish instructors made a big impact on her.
“She was an amazing teacher!” Fulcher said. “Her class was so different from the other classes I’ve had before and her Spanish class was so vibrant! I learned something new every day, and all of my Spanish teachers from middle school through college always made the class interesting and fun.”
Fulcher earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008, and she secured a degree in secondary education and teaching from the Universidad de Castilla y La Mancha in 2012. She taught at several school districts outside of Lincoln before starting at Northwest this past July.
Fulcher said it is fun to connect students with the Spanish language by creating custom-made lesson plans. She asks them about their favorite foods, subjects and hobbies during each class. She then incorporates those personal preferences into the curriculum to help them learn the material more fully.
Fulcher said she also enjoys helping students find new skills they can become successful at through her Spanish courses. She said watching them unlock smiles with their language keys is meaningful for her.
Fulcher connects teaching to her life’s purpose by relating it to the Japanese term “ikigai.” She mentioned the word describes four aspects: something you are good at, something the world needs, something you love and something you can be paid to do. She believes her profession touches all of those.
“For me, teaching hits the bull’s-eye in all four areas. Since the first time I stepped into a classroom over ten years ago until today and beyond, despite the difficulties in the profession, there is nothing I would rather do with my life than teach.”
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Published: January 18, 2024, Updated: January 18, 2024