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Educator Awards

Jill Oestmann Reading Educator Award

About the Award

Born and raised in Lincoln, Jill attended and graduated from Lincoln Public Schools and went on to devote her career to Lincoln students. She began teaching at Lincoln Southeast High School in 1991. Her leadership was instrumental in improving reading instruction at LSE and across LPS. As a reading teacher, her skill was pivotal in countless students finding meaning in books, but more importantly, rediscovering an appreciation for reading. As a District leader, Jill added the ranks of secondary reading teachers to those she guided by providing focused professional learning, carefully crafted curriculum, a listening ear, and perceptive feedback. Always a passionate reader and learner, she was also diligent in continuously refining her own practices. 

Jill had a way with challenging students, and they were at the center of her work; her supportive, genuine, tough-love approach, built connections with students who hadn't previously found success in the classroom. She believed wholeheartedly in their abilities (even when they didn’t) and in their right to quality instruction. Jill knew her students well, set the bar high, and made absolutely certain they could successfully meet her expectations. To that end, she was tireless in making sure each one had exactly the right assessment environment, course placement, and book in hand. She quietly, but intensely, advocated for kids who often needed someone in their corner. Jill was unflinchingly that someone, and it has made a powerful difference for countless students and educators.

Applying for the Award

Application Open: February 1st - March 14th, 2022
Award Amount: $500

Criteria: This award is available to Lincoln Public Schools Reading teachers.

  • Looking for a teacher who shows a strong connection to students and demonstrates ability to adapt teaching methods to meet student learning styles.

  • Demonstrates a personal and professional appreciation for reading and the world reading opens for students.

  • Actively explores ways to improve their skills and practices to better serve students.

  • Must teach at least one or more reading courses at the secondary level, with preference given to high school teachers.

  • Educator must be nominated by a peer, student, administrator or parent.

Nominating Process: Nominations may be submitted by any individual or group.  Self-nominations are not accepted.

Selection Process: The selection committee will be facilitated by the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Scholarships & Awards Committee, with input from English/Language Arts Director and Coordinators.  The award recipient may use the funds for professional development focused on reading instruction, reading instruction-related graduate credits, or to build classroom libraries.

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