20 August Which Omaha Public Schools Teacher Deserves to be Recognized? August 20, 2012 By Announcements Announcements 0 Teachers are the ones who help us learn and push us to succeed. So why not take a moment out of your day to say thank you? Nominate an Omaha Public Schools teacher for the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award. For more than 20 years, this award has been given to OPS teachers who have gone above and beyond to help their students in the classroom and in life. Now you have the chance to give that teacher the recognition he or she deserves. Make a nomination today or before January 15, 2013. Related Articles INSIDE the Omaha Public Schools - Teacher Profile 1. How have you transformed as a teacher? I feel that I have transformed as a teacher in many ways. First, I have learned that technology is so much more than a replacement to curriculum or content. Through the use of technology, teachers can promote student engagement, collaboration, creative and critical thinking, as well as help students develop a deeper understanding of content. These are also crucial skills to develop for their success in future careers. Technology is a way for me to transform my current lessons into ones that are more meaningful to my students. I also know that technology is vital to my students’ future as their world continues to be surrounded by technology. It is no longer a supplement in my classroom it is an essential element in many of my lessons. Finally, I have developed a different mindset when it comes to teaching and learning. I now see the student first versus the content. I focus my lessons on where my students are currently at, where they need to go and the best ways to get them to their goals. Student-centered learning allows students to work at their own pace and level to meet their individual needs. All teachers are working hard to differentiate their instruction and the use of technology makes this easier and to me a much more manageable task. 2. How have you noticed your transformation impacting your students’ learning? First, my students are excited about learning. They want to be in my classroom and they are excited about learning. My students are proud of themselves and have found their strengths. But what I love seeing most, is all of my students being successful in the same skill, but in their own ways. I have a very wide range of academic levels in my room, from ELL newcomers to students two levels above grade level. The use of technology has allowed all of my students to participate in the same activities, but at their individual levels. This gives my classroom a strong sense of community. They learn with and from each other. 3. What tips would you give to a teacher that wants to grow as an educator? Don’t be afraid of new things! I once heard a saying that has really stayed with me, “change is not scary, it’s uncomfortable.” Many times when I try new things in my classroom, I tell my students, “this is new to me.” I ask them to be patient and also ask for their support. We work through it together, which helps ease my fear of failure and let’s my students feel valued. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Change is uncomfortable, but going at it with support can make it so much better. As educators, we are excited to help others and we need to lean on each other for all to be successful. Make connections with like-minded teachers and use them to transform your teaching. This can be educators from you school, district, and now through the use of social media, anywhere around the world! It is important to take advantage of the wonderful resources right around you. 4. You showcase a lot of what you do to engage learners in class on Twitter. Why is that important to you? I want to start by saying I have only been actively using Twitter for about a year. And to be honest, I was resistant and overwhelmed by the whole idea. I’m thankful to a wonderful teacher who supported me along the way and helped me to jump right in. Showcasing my classroom on Twitter is important to me for a few different reasons. First, my students love it! They are proud of their work and want to show it off! I’m happy to have their parents, community members and other educators see the wonderful things they are doing in the classroom. My students love to see the feedback we also receive from others. It’s connecting them to others beyond the classroom walls. Second, it is my way to connect with other educators. I have learned so many new ideas and strategies through Twitter, as well as connected to hundreds of like-minded educators around the world. We have been able to Skype or communicate with other educators, classrooms and professionals through the use of Twitter. Finally, Twitter is a major part of my professional development. Education is always changing and not two days or lessons are the same. It is my way of seeing what’s happening in classrooms right now. It also gives me the flexibility to learn when and where I have time from the doctor’s office, to my daughter’s dance class, or from the comfort of my couch. I can grab my phone and learn something new at any time. Twitter chats also play a key role in this instant form of knowledge. I can learn more and get more resources in a 45-minute Twitter chat than an hour-long staff meeting. Plus, you can find a Twitter chat on almost any topic! My thoughts about Twitter have definitely changed and I am now encouraging all teachers to join. It has become a powerful resource for me in many ways. INSIDE the Omaha Public Schools - Award Winners Announced by the Nebraska Career Education ACTEN Award Winners Jeremy Cowley, Director of the Career Center Omaha Public Schools ACTEN Administrator of the Year Jeremy Cowley is the Program Director of the Omaha Public Schools Career Center. Mr. Cowley oversees 13 Career and Technical Education programs including over 600 students. Their mission is to connect today's students with tomorrow's careers by integrating real-world education with relevant experiences that engage students, community, and industry. Through this work, industry advisory boards were created or revitalized in all program areas. Cowley implemented industry shadow days twice per year for teaching staff. Shadow days allow teachers to identify new members for the advisory board as well as keep their skills sharpened for the classroom. Internship opportunities for students and staff have also been developed through these partnerships. Eighty-nine percent of Career Center students are placed in a job, attend college, or join the military. One unique partnership that Cowley brought to the Career Center is through Gallup Strengths Center to identify entrepreneurial strengths in students. Students learn about their individual entrepreneurial strengths as well as participate in an internship. Over 300 Career Center students participate in the profile annually with seven students participating in the internship in the first year. Cowley is involved in the advisory boards, numerous trade boards, and the Omaha chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry serving on the workforce development committee. Within OPS, he has served as the chairperson for the learning community. This year he fostered a relationship with Nebraska Loves Public Schools to help promote CTE month statewide. He currently serves as the president of the Association for Career and Technology Education of Nebraska. Carmen Hall, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Omaha Bryan High School ACTEN New Teacher of the Year Carmen Hall is in her fourth year as a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher. During those four years, she has had to build her own curriculum, serve as a FCCLA adviser, and at her current school she is chartering a new FCCLA Chapter. Carmen’s teaching philosophy includes engaging students, building relationships with students, as well as providing students with a number of opportunities to grow as individuals, to learn, and to reflect. During her four short years of teaching, she feels her proudest moment was hosting a preschool for her Child Development course. Her students worked with young children, taught them appropriate age-level lessons, hands on activities, and planned snacks for the children. Carmen is a member of ACTEN, ACTE, Family and Consumer Science Teachers of Nebraska (FCSTN), and the Nebraska Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NAFCS). She joined these organizations not only to gain a network of mentors, but also professional experience, leadership opportunities, and the chance to advocate for career and technical education. Carmen currently serves as the treasurer for FCSTN and is the FCS division representative for ACTEN. DeLayne Havlovic Omaha Public Schools ACTEN Member of the Year DeLayne Havlovic currently serves as the Curriculum Supervisor in the Omaha Public Schools for business, marketing, information technology, and health sciences. He is responsible for district wide implementation and continual development of curriculum and career pathways for these disciplines. He provides instructional coaching, curriculum support, evaluation, and professional development for 125 BMIT and Health Sciences teachers. He assists with staff development, coordination of Perkins funds, chairs many committees, supports CSO advisers, and the list goes on. DeLayne is a member of a variety of professional organizations. In these professional organizations he has served in many leadership positions. He has been the president-elect, president, and past president of ACTEN, and currently serves as the treasurer. He has attended the national ACTE conference, CareerTech VISION, and the National Policy Seminar. DeLayne has received the ACTE Administrator of the Year Award both on the state and regional level. DeLayne has served on a variety of committees at the national level including, but not limited to the program director for the National Business Education Association (NBEA) Convention, the chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee for NBEA, and he currently serves as the Mountain-Plains Business Education Association Representative to the NBEA Executive Board. DeLayne has attended and served as a presenter for numerous conventions. As a fellow board member writes, “DeLayne epitomizes quality leadership and dedicated service in his daily responsibilities within Omaha Public Schools and especially in his service to ACTEN and career education in Nebraska.” Celebrating our Omaha Public Schools Alumni in 2017 Dr. Richard Bruneteau Dr. Bruneteau is a native of Omaha who graduated from Burke High School in 1974. He attended medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to his general surgery residency at the University of Iowa he also completed a two-year residency in plastic surgery at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Bruneteau completed a fellowship in micro vascular surgery at the University of California and a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Dr. Bruneteau returned to Omaha in 1990 and has been in practice at Aesthetic Surgical Images since that time. Dr. Bruneteau is board certified in plastic surgery and general surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He belongs to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Metro Omaha Medical Society. He has written numerous articles in medical journals regarding plastic surgery. He is currently an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to being a renowned plastic surgeons in Omaha, Dr. Bruneteau was the director of the craniofacial team at Children’s Memorial Hospital for over 20 years. He has served on several charitable boards in the Omaha area. He was a member of the original UNO hockey committee that established UNO’s Division I hockey program. He has been actively involved in coaching youth hockey at multiple levels. Dr. Bruneteau has been married to his wife, Mitzi, since 1981. They have four sons: Brett, Matt, Nick and Tyler. Penny Sackett Penny D. Sackett graduated from North High in 1974. She is internationally acclaimed as a physicist, astronomer, and former chief scientist for Australia. Penny was part of a global network that discovered the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star other than Earth’s sun. She was named Australia’s Chief Scientist, has worked in the Netherlands, and is on the Nobel Laureate Symposium. Possessing a worldwide reputation, she is a consultant and was honored recently as an outstanding alumna by UNO. Michelle A. Peak Michelle A. Peak graduated from Benson High School in 1987. She is the Director and Senior Labor Attorney for American Airlines. In her practice, Michelle manages a wide range of labor and employment issues for the $30 billion airline that flies to 350 destinations in more than 50 countries and has over 100,000 employees. Michelle concentrates on matters with a specific focus on the airline industry and the Railway Labor Act. She litigates and resolves issues involving collective bargaining and contract interpretation and mediates and arbitrates employee grievances. Michelle also provides labor and employment counsel and strategic advice to the airline’s executives designed to minimize legal risks, maximize profit potential, and achieve the best in employee relations and human resource practices. Michelle is a frequent speaker around the country discussing topics related to Labor Law and Diversity & Inclusion. She also acts as a mentor to diverse attorneys in an effort to help them navigate the legal profession and achieve their full potential. Michelle is also very active in her community and local bar associations with the following affiliations: -American Airlines Education Foundation, Board of Directors (2016 – Present) -LPAC, Board of Directors (2016) -Association of Corporate Counsel-DFW, Board of Directors (2013 – Present) (Chair, Diversity Committee) -Lambda Legal Board of Directors (2009 - 2015) (Co-Chair, Board Governance and Executive Committee Member 2012 - 2014) -Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Advisory Board (2005 – Present ) -Texas Minority Counsel Program, Board of Directors (2002 - 2014) (Co-Chair 2009-2011) -Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Advisory Board (2014 - 2015) -Butler Gast YMCA, Board of Directors (1997 - 1999) -Crèche Child Care Center, Board of Directors (1997 - 1999) Awards: -2017 Benson High School Hall of Fame Inductee -2013 Corporate Counsel of the Year, Texas State Bar Office of Minority Affairs -2013 Top 100 Emerging Leaders under 50, Diversity MBA -2013 Corporate Counsel Award – Champion of Diversity, ACC and D CEO Kim Cowman Kim Cowman (Bunz) graduated from Omaha South High in 1999. She attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and graduated in 2004 with a Masters in Architectural Engineering. Cowman is a Senior Associate and Senior Mechanical Engineer at LEO A DALY. She's been with the company for 13 years. During her time at LEO A DALY, Cowman has worked on projects all over the United States that include: the design of the Boystown West Hospital, CHI Hospital in Saint Joseph London, Kentucky, and the rebuild of the VA Biloxi Facility after Hurricane Katrina. Kim is married to Jeff Cowman, has a son named Charlie and another son on the way. Harry Friedman Click here to learn more about Harry Friedman, an Omaha native and 1964 graduate of Omaha Central High School. Deb Grafentin Deb Grafentin graduated from Northwest High School in 1975. She has a bachelors of science degree in physical education from the University of Miami and a masters of art in management from Bellevue University. Grafentin is currently the director and head coach of the River City Juniors Volleyball Club since 1987. She’s also the primary owner and director of The Volleyball Academy for the past eleven years. Grafentin opened a new 50,000 sq. ft facility in February of 2017. She has a coaching and teaching background that spans 45 years. Starting in 1971 with 14 years of coaching swimming and diving, 32 years of club coaching,17 years of teaching physical education, physical training/nutrition, and seven years of coaching and teaching at the collegiate level. Deb is also a head coach and professor at Bellevue University and Assistant Coach at Creighton University. Some Highlights -Voted Best of Omaha 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 - The Volleyball Academy (TVA) -2013 Club of the Month (River City Juniors) -Over 300 wins at the High School level -Over 100 wins at the Collegiate Level -2014 JVA Service Recognition for over 20 yrs service to volleyball Ivan Gilreath Ivan Gilreath graduated from Bryan High School in 1977. Gilreath is an Omaha native and Boys & Girls Club alumnus and has been the President and CEO of Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands since 2011. Previous to his work at Boys and Girls Club, Ivan worked at ING Insurance in Minneapolis and for 20 years with Mutual of Omaha. He has a bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He shares, “I am a product of my Club and my community, and I hope my story and my experiences will inspire the youth of our Clubs to dream bigger and expect more of themselves and their futures. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands is a great organization and I look forward to continuing that tradition of greatness.” OPS Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees 2017 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Andre Woolridge – Benson High School A 1992 Omaha Benson graduate, Woolridge scored a championship-game record 50 points to lead the Bunnies to the state title his senior year. He was All-Metro for three years and finished with 1,911 points, a Class A record. A four-year starter at Iowa, he led the Big 10 in scoring and assists his senior year and earned third-team All-American honors. He set the Iowa record for career assists. He played professionally in France, Italy, Turkey and Greece. Terry Eyman – Bryan High School Terry Robert Eyman was born in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 19, 1968. He is the youngest of six siblings born to Robert and Anne Eyman. Eyman attended Chandler View Elementary School, Bryan Junior High School and graduated from William Jennings Bryan High School in 1986. During his high school years, he was an offensive and defensive lineman under the coaching guidance of Tim Bond. Terry received the Most Improved Player Award during his football years at Bryan High School. Following high school, Eyman attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After meeting with Coach Tom Osborne, he made the decision to join the Husker football program as a “walk-on,” and played the position of swing tackle during his years with the Huskers. Through hard work and perseverance, Terry was able to earn a scholarship and a starting position/rotation with the Huskers during his junior and senior years of college. Eyman graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a business degree in 1991. After graduation, he returned to Omaha, Neb., and joined the family business, Eyman Plumbing. He credits his business knowledge and experience to his work with various plumbing companies throughout the area. He is currently owner and CFO for Eyman Plumbing in Omaha. He lives in La Vista, with wife, Michelle Haynes, and their combined family of five children: Maddison, Nicholas, Benjamin, Robert and Waylon. Eyman enjoys coaching youth football, taking motorcycle rides, spending time with the family and, of course, watching football games at any level. Gary Graner – Burke High School Gary Graner grew up in the southwest Iowa town of Manning. He played football, basketball, and baseball and was awarded all-state basketball honors his senior year. After graduating from Manning High School in 1974, he played college basketball at the University of South Dakota from 1974-1978, graduating with a history degree and a high school teaching certificate and coaching endorsement in May of 1978. Coach Graner taught and coached at Omaha Burke High School for 33 years. When he joined Burke High School in the fall of 1978, Graner started as an assistant to John Johnette and assistant football coach to Larry Jacobsen. Upon the retirement of Coach Johnette in 1988, Coach Graner became Burke High School’s second head boys’ basketball coach holding that position for the next 18 years. In those 18 years, his teams qualified for the State Tournament eight times and finished as State Runners-up twice, 1993 and 2000. Burke High teams also won the Metro Holiday Tournament three times during his tenure. Ten of Coach Graner’s 18 teams finished the year in the OWH’s final state top ten rankings. In 1992, he was chosen to be the head coach for the Valentino’s NE All-Star team representing the state of Nebraska in the annual Las Vegas tournament and the following season was honored as the Metro Conference Coach of the Year. Coach Graner loved challenging his athletes to not only excel on the basketball court but also in the classroom and daily life. The teams he coached played an exciting brand of basketball, which brought the community out in force. That excitement and success generated by his teams’ hard-nosed play, along with the promotion of youth basketball through summer basketball camps and clinics, resulted in Coach Graner being honored with Burke High School’s Community Leader Award in 2000. Graner has always felt his reward for coaching has been the great fortune of being a part of the lives of so many wonderful student-athletes and working with dedicated coaches, staff, and administrators at Burke High School and throughout Omaha Public Schools. Coach Graner and his wife, Jessica, have been married forty-one years and all four of their children: Matt, Steve, Michelle, and Alli currently live in the Omaha area. Jessica Haynes - Central High School Jessica Haynes was born and raised in Omaha where she graduated from Central High School in 1985. A three-time all-state and three-time All-Metro player, Haynes helped Central to back-to-back basketball state championships in 1983 and 1984. In 1984, she averaged 16.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and her rebound and coast-to-coast drive for a layup sealed the state championship. She averaged 22 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game as a senior when she was a Parade All-American, Street and Smith’s All-American, Converse All-American, and Carnation Milk All-American. In track, she ran on three gold-medal relays helping Central to Class A titles in 1983 and 1984 and was also named High School All-American. Haynes attended San Diego State University where she was a three-year starter and a two-time All-Big West Conference selection averaging 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game during her career. She also played on two Olympic Festival teams in 86’ and 87. In 1997, Haynes was selected as a developmental player in the WNBA and assigned to the Utah Starzz. Haynes was inducted into the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and 2011. She was also inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. Haynes is now a mental health therapist and travels the country as a motivational speaker. Haynes is the mother of three wonderful children; William, a celebrity hairstylist also known as Tokyo Stylez, Jerrica, a United States Postal Service employee and Hunter, a freshman at Millard North. Dave Underwood - North High School Dave Underwood graduated from Omaha North High School in 1962, where he lettered in basketball, baseball and was an All-City selection first baseman in baseball. He was a member of the Omaha Storz American Legion team that finished third in the nation in 1961. Underwood was not only a standout on the field but a great teacher and coach. He taught and coached in the Omaha Public Schools at Lewis and Clark Middle School, South and Burke High School. His coaching career included coaching football, basketball and baseball. As a baseball coach at Burke, his teams achieved State Championships three times between 1970 and 1975. During the summers, he ran baseball camps for youth in the Omaha area with Bill Olson of Northwest High School. Underwood is co-founder of the Collins-Orcutt All- Star game featuring the areas top baseball players each Spring. Underwood has had an impact on youth not just in sports but spiritually. He led a group called Fellowship of Christian Athletes, who met at his house once a week to discuss how they could become better people in the eyes of the Lord and be a positive influence to people around them. One of his player’s said quote, “meeting you, playing for you and being your friend has been one of the greatest honors in my life and I would not be the same person had that not happened.” After a short stint at IBM, Underwood returned to coaching as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He helped lead Nebraska to its first regional appearance attempting to secure a berth in the College World Series. After two years at Nebraska, he served one year as an assistant coach at Creighton University and was named head baseball coach the following year. As head coach, he was on the College World Series Board of Directors from 1981 to 1985. He was twice honored as a College Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1983. He helped lead Creighton to its first ever ranking in the Collegiate Baseball Magazine. In 2013, Underwood was named to the Omaha Old-timers Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. In 1986, Underwood co-founded The Real Estate Brokerage Firm with a former player and Hall of Fame member, Tim Wurth. The company has been in business for 31 years and is a multi-faceted commercial real estate firm. In 2005, Underwood co-founded a new company called Heritage Communities to develop, build and manage care facilities for seniors. Underwood and his wife, Marilyn, live in Omaha, have five children are the proud grandparents of 12 grandchildren. Mikaela Perry-Grimes – Northwest High School Mikaela Perry-Grimes was born in Omaha, Neb., and is the daughter of longtime Omaha Public Schools (OPS) employees Doris and Otis Perry II. She attended Springville Elementary, Nathan Hale Junior High and Northwest High schools. Grimes excelled both academically and athletically. In high school she was a member of the National Honor Society and lettered in cheerleading, basketball and track and field. Following in her brothers’ (Mark and Otis III, who were stellar athletes in their own right) footsteps, she was a state champion in track and still holds the number three time in the 200 meters and the top time in the 100 meters on the Nebraska Girls All-Time Track Chart. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she was one of the first African-American cheerleaders that the school had ever had and was a member of the then, Big 8 Conference Championship track team. Completing her track career at the University of Alabama, she also hit another milestone as one of the first African-Americans elected to the school’s homecoming court before graduating with her bachelor’s degree. She competed for both the Midwest Striders and Cornhusker Flyer Youth Track Clubs. During her track career, Grimes won several awards, but her proudest moment was competing for the USA Junior team at the Pan-Am Junior Games where she ran the second leg on a 4x1 that not only won, but broke the World Junior Record. Today, Grimes lives in Nashville, Tenn. and is a Human Resource Administrator and co-chair for the Nashville Diversity and Inclusion Chapter at T-Mobile. In her spare time, she coaches for the Training Ground Youth Track Club, where several of her athletes have reached All-American status. She is married to Reggie Grimes and has 3 children: Maya,19; Reggie,15 and Reghan,13. All three are following in her footsteps. Reghan is a city middle school track champion, a two-time youth track All-American and MVP of her Middle School’s volleyball and basketball teams. Reggie is a county track champion, made the TSSAA State Track Meet as a freshman and was voted Offensive MVP for his high school football team. Maya was a two-time TSSAA state champion, High school All-American and Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Freshman of the Year competing for Austin Peay State University. Terrance Badgett - South High School Terrance Badgett started playing basketball in the fifth grade at Belvedere Elementary. A guy by the name of Jonathan Culver Sr. gave Badgett advice. He said “you can be great, if you practice.” Badgett took his advice and became a successful student and professional athlete. Badgett attended R. M. Marrs Magnet middle school where he played as a seventh grader and averaged 34.4 points a game. In high school, Badgett was an All-American all four years. He was a two-time all-state player and led the South High Packers to the Class A state championship in 1990 and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game the following year. During his senior year he earned honors as the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year. Badgett was a Nebraska Cornhusker recruit and made the Big Eight All-Bench team, won the Big eight tournament and the National Invitational Tournament. As a Husker, he played in 127 games and scored more than 200 points each season, finishing with a career total of 953. Badgett played professionally for five seasons in the U.S. and overseas in Taiwan, Ireland, Germany and the Philippines. Back in the United States, Badgett played for Sioux Falls Sky-force, Wisconsin Blast, San Diego Wildfire and the Kansas City Knights. In 2003, Badgett returned to Omaha from Sacramento and worked at Omaha Home for Boys for eight years. He received his master’s degree in Human Services in 2005 at Bellevue University and began working as Executive Director for the YMCA. In 2012, Badgett started a new career at the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. Today, Badgett continues to invest his time in other non-profit work for the homeless and mental health services for youth. He now works for the Heartland Behavioral School of Omaha. Badgett has one daughter, Camryn Joy Badgett. Thomas Warren - Technical High School Thomas Warren graduated from Omaha Technical High School in 1979. He earned a football scholarship to Morningside College where he graduated in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and sociology and a minor in psychology. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1989 in criminal justice with an option in public administration. While at Technical High School, Warren earned eight varsity letters: three in football, three in track and two in basketball. In football, he ran for 700 yards, eight touchdowns and had 36 tackles against opposing teams and was a Metropolitan Conference Runner-up in 1977. In basketball, his team were Metropolitan Conference Champions in 1978 and Holiday Tournament Champions in 1979. His track team were District Champions in the 4 x 200-yard relay. At Morningside College, Warren was a four-year starter as defensive back and his team were the All North Central Conference Second Team in 1982 and he was honored as the North Central Conference Defensive Player of the Week. His team also defeated the University of Nebraska at Omaha 3-0 after Warren forced a fumble that led to the game’s only score. After graduation, Warren served on the Omaha Police force from 1983-2008 and was the first African-American in Omaha to serve as Chief of Police from 2004-2008. Warren also won the World Police and Fire Olympic Gold Medal in 1983 in weightlifting for his class. Today, Warren serves as President/Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Nebraska. James Lund - Middle Schools James Lund was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Omaha North High School in 1970. He attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he received a bachelor’s degree in education. While attending UNO as an undergraduate, he was a member of the men’s basketball and golf team. While in college, James met his wife, Marlene and they married in September of 1974. They’ve been married for 43 years and raised four children, Eddie, Julie, Andy, and Dan. After teaching, coaching and being a dad to four little ones, Lund returned to UNO and completed his master’s degree in 1989. Participating in college athletics influenced Lund’s decision to make teaching and coaching a career. Lund began his teaching and coaching career at Martin Luther King School. He taught at King from the fall of 1976 to the spring of 1984. In the fall of 1984, he transferred to Morton Middle School where he finished his career with OPS. At both schools, Lund coached girls’ and boys’ basketball, football, wrestling, soccer, swimming and gymnastics. Basketball was his favorite sport of all, in which he coached over 55 boys and girls teams during his time with OPS. In order for more students to participate in sports, he also sponsored intramural units at Morton. During his tenure at Morton, Lund coached against each one of his children, while they attended rival schools. Lund’s philosophy of coaching was to emphasize sportsmanship, skill development and team work. The strategies he employed were done to help players improve their skills rather than just win games. Over the thirty-one years he coached, he was privileged to work with many student athletes who went on to participate in high school and college athletics. Throughout the years, Lund participated in men’s basketball leagues and golf tournaments. He also enjoyed coaching his children and now grandchildren through outside youth organizations. Retirement offers Lund extra time to be more involved with his six grandchildren. When he is not being Papa, he enjoys golfing, cycling and traveling. Community Contributors Jim Fuxa Jim Fuxa attended Ashland Park Elementary and graduated from South High School in 1960. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Omaha University on athletic scholarships and graduated with and bachelor’s degree in education in 1965. He worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota at Mankato and obtained his master’s degree in education in 1971. At South High School, Fuxa wrestled and had an undefeated dual meet season in his sophomore and senior years. He was undefeated in district and state championships his senior year in high school and in two seasons at Omaha University, he had a dual meet record of 18-1. During Fuxa’s junior year in high school, he started coaching wrestling at the South YMCA and was paid ten cents per student, per session. His teams won five consecutive state YMCA championships. Later, he took part in road races and duathlons. He won over 200 medals and trophies during the 80s and 90s in those events. Fuxa competed for the USA Duathlon team and placed sixth in his age group in the 1993 world championships in Dallas. Even later in life, he participated in the Senior Winter Games in Summit County, Colo., winning numerous first place medals in Nordic skiing, snow shoe racing and the biathlon (shooting and Nordic skiing). Fuxa was employed by the Omaha Public Schools for 31 years. From 1967-1970, he coached football, wrestling, gymnastics and track and field at Lewis & Clark Middle School. In his third and final year at the junior high school, his teams won city championships in football, wrestling and track and field. After graduating from Mankato in 1972, he was hired as an administrator in Physical Education and Athletics in the Omaha Public Schools (OPS). During his tenure, he revised the playground apparatus policy for OPS regarding play and safety. Fuxa also suggested to a staff member at Sunny Slope a way to get a plan period for the elementary classroom teachers. He approached the Omaha Education Association with the idea that teachers receive plan time while traveling specialists were with their students. He also guided several teachers in the development of the curriculum guide called the “War on Weight.” In 1993, Fuxa proposed to the leadership of the JROTC program in OPS schools that they initiate a biathlon at the high school level, which included running and shooting. It has been an annual event ever since. Near the end of his career with OPS, he volunteered to coach wrestling at Beveridge Middle School where he coached from 1995-1997. His final year, his team won the city wrestling championship. Those same wrestlers, along with members of Morton’s team moved on to Burke High School where they won Burke’s first and only state wrestling championship. Fuxa coached two different youth soccer teams to state cup championships in 1985 and 1986. He became a wrestling official in 1967 and officiated many tournaments, including the Nebraska high school championships. In his final year of officiating, he worked the Big 8 Tournament in Stillwater, Okla. As a member of the Greater Omaha Sports Committee (GOSC) within the Omaha Convention and Tourism Bureau, Fuxa started perhaps the first high school scholar-athlete awards program in the county. The program continues today, forty years later. Also as a member of the GOSC, he helped set up the Big 8 Volleyball Tournament and clinics. These clinics were held at Omaha South during the Big 8 Tournament for girls from the four-state area surrounding Omaha. Fuxa also served on the Nebraska Winter Games committee in the mid-90s. One of his responsibilities was the food service for over 4,000 people at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. He still practices what he preached many year ago working out almost daily. He enjoys archery, cycling, hunting, hiking and has recently taken up pickle ball. Fuxa has two children: Nikki Mildren and Cory Fuxa, who reside in Fort Worth, Texas with their families. There are four grandchildren ranging in age from seven to 18. Jim is married to wife, Roxanne Smith, and they reside in Colorado Springs, Colo. Stu Pospisil Stu Pospisil is an Omaha World-Herald sportswriter and third-generation OPS graduate who has covered high school sports for the newspaper since 1984. He is currently the newspaper’s prep sports coordinator. He attended Fontenelle Elementary and Monroe Junior High before graduating from Benson High in 1980. At Benson, he was involved in National Honor Society, journalism, music and the math and metric clubs. He was team statistician for football, boys basketball and baseball. His professional career began in 1981 with the Sun Newspapers of Omaha while a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He joined the World-Herald in June 1984 and completed his degree at UNL that year. After five years as the Metro Conference beat writer, Pospisil became the statewide prep rater in 1990. He has become regarded as the leading prep authority and historian in the state. He assisted the Metro Conference in assembling its records during its golden anniversary season in 2014-15, which resulted in every school receiving a large plaque to commemorate its conference championship. Pospisil also has chronicled Nebraska golf on all levels for the past 30 years, including the 2013 U.S. Senior Open and the 1996 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the Cox Classic, the Masters and PGA Championships and countless state and local events. Since 1988, he has been the director of The World-Herald match play championship for Omaha-area golfers. He co-founded the revival of the men’s city golf championship in 1998. He has been a contributor to Sports Illustrated, Golf Journal and Gold World. He has been honored by the Nebraska School Activities Association, Nebraska Coaches Association, Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association, Nebraska PGA and the Metro Omaha Golf Championship. He has received the Nebraska Gold Hall of Fame’s Davis Special Recognition Award and has been inducted into the Benson High Hall of Fame and Burke High Swimming Hall of Fame. Pospisil is married to the former Sherry Fischer of Scribner, Neb. They have seven-year-old twin sons, Adam and Kyle. OPS partners with Omaha Public Schools Foundation and OEA for Harvey Relief Fund Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Public Schools Foundation and the Omaha Education Association partnered to create a Houston Recovery Fund. The fund will provide financial assistance to the students and staff of the Houston Independent Schools District (HISD). It will provide a lump sum donation, delivered directly to HISD for use at its discretion. Donations will be accepted via the Omaha Public Schools Foundation beginning now through Sept. 30 and can be made by visiting HelpForHISD. “We want to express our support to our counterparts in HISD, as well as to the families and the community there,” said OPS Board President Lacey Merica. “Times like this remind us about the importance of coming together and pooling our resources to support one another during times of tragedy and need. We continue to keep the students, staff and families of the Houston School District in our thoughts as well.” “The tragic events unfolding daily in Houston and surrounding areas remind us of the importance of helping others. Our primary concern is for the students and staff of the largest public school system in Texas. We’re fellow educators helping fellow educators, with one goal in mind - helping students,” said Bridget Donovan, president, Omaha Education Association. INSIDE Omaha Public Schools - Zero Waste Lifestyle Moving Toward a Zero Waste Lifestyle In 2008, the Omaha Public Schools, adopted the Green Schools Initiative (2004-2016) and moved to a single-stream recycling program. Since then, its schools have recycled paper, cardboard, plastic and metals, reduced the use of natural resources and increased its efforts to teach students how to live healthier lifestyles. Among the schools that have received recognition (one of nine national awards in 2014) for their efforts is Fontenelle Elementary under the leadership of Principal Eric Nelson. Fontenelle’s GSI efforts began when Nelson asked fourth-grade teacher Joey Vickery to start a school garden. Initially, the garden was comprised of small plots planted and tended by students. It later expanded to a community garden for families. Vickery also partnered with The Big Garden’s, Executive Director Nathan Morgan and his staff to teach students more about gardening, cooking and nutrition. Today, in addition to the garden, the school has a greenhouse, butterfly garden, a composting container and yes, chickens. The garden has helped students reinforce science and math concepts, learn about environmental sustainability and eat healthier. During this same time period it also began a recycling program that included moving from Styrofoam plates to paper plates and dividing recyclable items from those that couldn’t be. This year, the school took its recycling efforts to the next level when Matthew Cronin of The Big Garden introduced Vickery to Brent Crampton of Hillside Solutions – a company that teaches how to live a zero waste lifestyle through composting and recycling. Hillside provides the school with bins for food waste collection then picks the bins up and transports them to the area’s only commercial composting farm Soil Dynamics. In turn, the farm uses the compost materials to create rich top soil, which is sold and will also be used by Fontenelle for its community garden. “Fontenelle currently has eight composting bins that students throw their food scraps in each day during lunch,” said Crampton. “The paper trays they use are also collected and added to the compost, which means the only things making their way to trash bins are milk cartons and plastic silverware. Those could eventually be recycled to places that convert plastics into fuel. Thereby creating zero waste.” As a result, the school has gone from 26-30 bags of trash a day to three (the equivalent of 300 pounds of waste making its way to area landfills to 150 pounds), waste collection has been cut to three times a week instead of daily, fewer plastic garbage bags are being used and the school engineer has more free time to attend to the school’s other needs. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. “I think this program is phenomenal,” said Nelson. “Every school in the state should be doing it. Aside from the obvious reduction of waste, it teaches students environmental responsibility, and helps them understand how what they used to throw away made a negative impact on the environment and their health. And they are learning a new lifestyle that will help them create a better world in the future.” It is also worthy to note, that as of 2015, the district has attained $5.3 million in cumulative cost reduction and avoidance, 48,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions prevented cumulatively, 17.5 Energy Star rating points of improvement from baseline, 130% increase in recycling volume in five years and 4% decrease in waste volume in five years. The Omaha Public Schools continues to work with Sally Hopley of Verdis Group – a sustainability group in Omaha to continually improve its efforts. Comments are closed.