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Educator Awards

2022 Recipients

Melissa Noonan

Mike Troester Outstanding LSE Educator Award

About the Award: This award recognizes educators at Southeast High School that display the qualities displayed by Mike Troester during his teaching tenure:

  • Lifetime commitment to teaching
  • Fair treatment of all students
  • Approachable and kind to all students
  • Encouraged students to “go the extra mile”
  • Use of outside resources and new approaches to old material in the classroom
  • Encouraged both veteran teachers and new staff
  • True educator, sharing his abilities with faculty and students

Amount Awarded: $450

I am thrilled to nominate my friend, Missy Noonan, for the Mike Troester Outstanding Educator Award. I cannot think of anyone who more completely embodies the spirit of this award. In her thirty-plus years of teaching, Missy has consistently demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to her students, dedicating herself without reservation to their development as musicians and healthy humans. 

Missy realizes that school can present a harsh environment to vulnerable adolescents, and it is vital to their success that they find at least one area of their school lives where they feel absolutely free to be themselves, and where they trust that they will find ac works tirelessly to create and sustain that safe haven in her classroom, consistently modeling respect and compassion toward her students and expecting them to deal with each other in the same manner. 

Missy's students achieve musically at a very high level, due both to her prodigious skills as an educator and to the clear expectations that she has for them. Even as she approaches her retirement, she continues to develop her impressive arsenal of instructional tools, Because of this tenacity, she is highly skilled at identifying areas for improvement and finding effective ways to address those problems. Still, while her classes are run efficiently and with intensity, she never lets a student's individual needs go unaddressed, even if those needs bubble up at inconvenient times, as they often do. 

Recently, I created a page on Facebook where Missy's current and former students and colleagues can share their memories of her. With their permission, I will share here a few of the comments that they have contributed: 

"I will never forget the impact she has made on me. Missy is one of those rare, beautiful souls that just gets it. It's uncommon to find someone who can connect with so many humans on the level she does...She inspires me to do so much and to send kindness and love to my current students and was one of the best parts of my collegiate career." - Marques Higgins, Doane University Alumni 

"Missy helped me rediscover the music within me that I thought I had lost. I found a passion and talent that I had buried long ago...I'm so grateful for the kindness, wisdom, grace, guidance, and love she showed me and every other student lucky enough to walk into her classrooms. - Hunter Sieckmeyer, LSE and Doane Alumni 

"Noonan is a woman who pours her heart and soul into every student she meets & anything she starts!...If I were ever going through something Noonan would be the one to listen and lend a helping hand...Her contagious smile, positive energy, & constant love made choir a second home for myself & many other students!" - Madi Greene, LSE Alumni 

As her longtime colleague, I have always found Missy to be one of the most supportive and kindest people I know, and I will always feel blessed to have worked so closely with her for so many years. LSE will miss this treasure, but her impact will continue to be felt for many years! 

Julie Eschliman: I am writing this nomination for Mrs. Missy Noonan, choir director at Lincoln Southeast High School. Missy Noonan is retiring this year after teaching at LSE since she student taught here in the early 1990's. All of her years have been spent here at LSE except one year, if I am remembering correctly. Groups under her direction have been recognized for their excellence many times in her years at LSE, Most recently, the jazz choir Ars Nova performed at the Nebraska Music Educators Conference in November. The commitment she has made to teaching and in particular teaching at LSE are MOST admirable. Mrs. Noonan has always shown herself to be 'fair' with all students, regardless of their talent or background. She has taught groups of our very best vocalists and some of our most challenged singers. Her students have always expressed a great deal of appreciation for her impartiality and fairness. While it may seem a bit cliché, Missy is one of the most kind and approachable people I have ever known - all the while maintaining the highest of expectations in her classes. I have seen many students reach out to her in times of need for her willingness to help them -regardless of circumstance. Her efforts to push our students to achieve their very best have been evident in their countless successes over the course of her career. Many of her students have gone beyond high school to participate in college music programs as well as careers in music, whether that be in performance or music education. She is truly a model educator and highly qualified nominee for this award based on the described characteristics. 

The Numbers

  • Schools Served

    62

  • Focus Programs Served

    21

  • Students Empowered

    41,766

  • Teachers & Staff Supported

    6,515

  • Funds Raised This Year

    $3.18M

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