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Educator Awards

2023 Recipients

Michelle Reinke

Michelle Reinke

R.L. Fredstrom Leadership Award

Awarded Amount: $1,000

About the Award

This annual award recognizes outstanding leadership or potential for leadership in Lincoln Public Schools and furthers recipients’ professional growth and development. The award is in honor of Rudy Fredstrom, a Nebraska teacher and administrator who served as assistant superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools from 1951-1975 and was a life-long leader in education. His message each time he visited students at Fredstrom Elementary School was “never quit learning.” He personified that message and this award recognizes recipients who will continue to learn and refine their skills in the area of serving education through leadership. 

The R.L. Fredstrom Leadership Award recognizes those Lincoln Public Schools teachers or coordinators who have outstanding leadership qualities or have demonstrated the potential to become an outstanding educational leader. 

Upon the death of Dr. Fredstrom in 1997, memorial funds were used to begin this fund. The Fredstrom family plans to continue this annual award.

 

Nominated By: Kelsy Mulligan & Cassandra Wendeln

 

Kelsey Mulligan

Based on the criteria, why do you feel this person should be considered for the R.L. Fredstrom Leadership Award?

Michelle should be considered for this award because she is an integral part of our Eastridge Community. She dedicates all of her energy and time to improving and supporting our school, staff, and students. Every decision Michelle makes has the wellbeing of students and staff at the center. She is committed to furthering her education to be the best leader she can be, while also being a support and advocate for staff members. Anyone who has had the opportunity to work with Michelle is forever impacted by her leadership, positivity, and dedication.

What effect does the nominee’s outstanding leadership have on the quality of education for students?

Michelle goes above and beyond in everything she does. She consistently shows up for our school, staff, and students. She leads our MTSSB Committee and puts in place well throughout and district aligned plans that support students and staff to be successful no matter what problem arises. She plays a huge role in scheduling, organizing, and aligning every part of our school. She always makes and organizes our teacher schedules including specials, lunch, and recess. Michelle organizes school-wide awards for positive behavior. She also communicates with parents consistently about CICO, regular positive interactions, disciplinary needs, and much more. She spends her free time volunteering for PTO events and family functions to ensure that students and families have strong ties to the school community. She has built unbreakable relationships with staff, students, and parents that build on a community of trust and understanding. All of these outstanding leadership qualities are the reason why we have such an amazing culture at Eastridge.

What professional growth opportunities is the nominee currently involved in?

Michelle is always looking for ways to enhance her knowledge in order to benefit and help our school, staff, and students. This year alone she is doing multiple professional developments in the areas of The Science of Reading LETRS, Restorative Practices Theory, Principles, and Tier 1 Applications, and Trauma Capable Schools All available CCFL courses. In addition to her continued development in current educational concepts, she also takes the time to mentor and lead others. She is mentoring a new coordinator, is a member of the AP/Coordinators social committee, teaches college and tenure classes to future educators, spoke at The Future Leaders of Cadre, and Presented at LPS’s New Teacher Week.

Describe the nominee's outstanding leadership qualities.

Michelle always provides clear expectations across the board. She leads by example with integrity, honesty, humility and a clear focus on students. Michelle never shies away from helping anyone. This may be a student or an adult in the building. I started out as a paraeducator at Riley Elementary where she was a Special Education Teacher. She was always very organized and helped me grow into my position. I appreciated Michelle and her leadership so much that when there was an opening for a paraeducator at Prescott, where she was the Special Education Coordinator, I jumped at the opportunity to work under her again. Michelle quickly helped me realize my passion and potential for teaching. She cheered me along the way as I pursued my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education. At the end of my first year of teaching I saw an opportunity to work with Michelle again and I went out of my way to apply to be a teacher at Eastridge so she could be one of my administrators. Michelle is a big part of my success at LPS and a big reason why I became a teacher.

 

Cassandra Wendeln

Based on the criteria, why do you feel this person should be considered for the R.L. Fredstrom Leadership Award?

Michelle should be considered for this award because she is an integral part of our Eastridge Community. She dedicates all of her energy and time to improving and supporting our school, staff, and students. Every decision Michelle makes has the wellbeing of students and staff at the center. She is committed to furthering her education to be the best leader she can be, while also being a support and advocate for staff members. Anyone who has had the opportunity to work with Michelle is forever impacted by her leadership, positivity, and dedication.

What effect does the nominee’s outstanding leadership have on the quality of education for students?

Michelle goes above and beyond in everything she does. She consistently shows up for our school, staff, and students. She leads our MTSSB Committee and puts in place well thoughtout and district aligned plans that support students and staff to be successful no matter what problem arises. She plays a huge role in scheduling, organizing, and aligning every part of our school. She always makes and organizes our teacher schedules including specials, lunch, and recess. Michelle organizes schoolwide awards for positive behavior. She also communicates with parents consistently about CICO, regular positive interactions, disciplinary needs, and much more. She spends her free time volunteering for PTO events and family functions to ensure that students and families have strong ties to the school community. She has built unbreakable relationships with staff, students, and parents that build on a community of trust and understanding. All of these outstanding leadership qualities are the reason why we have such an amazing culture at Eastridge.

What professional growth opportunities is the nominee currently involved in?

Michelle is always looking for ways to enhance her knowledge in order to benefit and help our school, staff, and students. This year alone she is doing multiple professional developments in the areas of The Science of Reading LETRS, Restorative Practices Theory, Principles, and Tier 1 Applications, and Trauma Capable Schools All available CCFL courses. In addition to her continued development in current educational concepts, she also takes the time to mentor and lead others. She is mentoring a new coordinator, is a member of the AP/Coordinators social committee, teaches college and tenure classes to future educators, spoke at The Future Leaders of Cadre, and Presented at LPS’s New Teacher Week.

Describe the nominee's outstanding leadership qualities.

Michelle is one of the most selfless and devoted educators I have ever met. She is always willing to listen to staff and students and support them where they are. She always finds people's strengths and utilizes them to improve the person themself and our school community. An example of this is my first year at Eastridge, Michelle made a point to stop in my classroom frequently, work with me and my students, and always leave me with positive feedback. This support and encouragement led to my confidence skyrocketing and my dedication increasing. When my first year came to an end, she asked me to be a MTSSB liaison. Her belief in me made me feel valuable and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone to start presenting ideas to staff and working with her to create schoolwide systems. I know that I am a better teacher and leader because Michelle saw my potential and fostered it. I feel beyond blessed to get to work with her everyday. I know no matter what crazy idea or problem I bring up, Michelle will be there to support and encourage me every step of the way.

The Numbers

  • Schools Served

    60

  • Focus & Specialty Programs Served

    15

  • Students Empowered

    41,784

  • Teachers & Staff Supported

    7,500+

  • Funds Received This Year

    $1.20M

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