'Thank You Teacher' honorees have impact in, out of class

Five teachers in Lincoln Public Schools were honored Tuesday as part of a Thank You Teacher contest held annually by Lincoln Public Schools.

Rachel Sweeney remembers her teacher Jan Erickson (then Ms. Jacobsen) at Kahoa Elementary School as kind-hearted and supportive:

“Going into third grade my parents were worried because I wasn't a strong reader, but they say after Ms. Jacobsen's guidance I became a very efficient reader and writer.”

Taylor Kramer is a kindergarten student at Kooser Elementary School. Her mother said Taylor’s teacher, Tiffany Reynolds, went out of her way to check in on the student while mom was away for military school.

“There was one particular day while I was away that Taylor wasn't acting herself and Mrs. Reynolds asked her if she was ok,” Taylor’s mom wrote. “Taylor broke out in tears.  Crying, stating she was lonely.  Mrs. Reynolds was able to get Taylor to open up to her that day. Mrs. Reynolds proved to me she truly cares about her students and their well-being. She easily identified that one of her students was having troubles. She acted on it and she cared."

Jenna Beecham knew before school even started this year that Deb Coyle would be a great teacher for her third-grade year at Sheridan Elementary.

“When my slip came over the summer telling me that Mrs. Coyle was going to be my teacher, I told my big sister who had her a few years ago.  She said, ‘You're lucky.  She's awesome.’ I think so too.”

Angelina Nahorny, an eighth-grade student at Dawes Middle School, stated in her nomination letter that Mr. Nate Miller was “arguably the most favored teacher” at the school thanks in part to the stories he tells.

“With these fables Mr. Miller tells people, he makes the world and students better by introducing young minds to important things we might not hear elsewhere,” Nahorny said. “As well as his stories being inspiring, they are entertaining.”

Bruce Chapman is clear that he hopes to be at Lincoln Northeast High School until the school’s centennial … in 27 years! That’d be fine with Anthony Anderson, the Rocket student who nominated Chapman, and other future Rockets.

“I don't know what type of person I would be without Mr. Chapman,” Anderson wrote. “He has become like a second father to me, and I look up to him as a role model for how I want my life to go. I am not the only student who has been affected by him in this way. I know of several actors from my time in high school whose lives have changed because of Bruce Chapman.”

The recipients were honored at a breakfast at the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion.

This year’s Thank You Teacher awards went to:

Preschool-Grade 2: Tiffany Reynolds, Kooser Elementary School, nominated by Taylor Kramer and Taylor’s mother

Grades 3-5:  Deb Coyle, Sheridan Elementary School, nominated by Jenna Beecham

Middle School: Nate Miller, Dawes Middle School, nominated by Angelina Nahorny

High School: Bruce Chapman, Lincoln Northeast High School, nominated by Anthony Anderson

Retired: Jan Ericson, retired teacher at Kahoa Elementary School, nominated by Rachel Sweeney

Published: March 2, 2015, Updated: March 3, 2015

2015 Honorees

Tiffany Reynolds - Kooser Elementary School

Deb Coyle - Sheridan Elementary School

Nate Miller - Dawes Middle School

Bruce Chapman - Lincoln Northeast School

Jan Erickson - Kahoa Elementary School - retired