Meet Nebraska's Robert Noyce NSF Master Teaching Fellows

Strengthening a Community of Teacher Leaders

Since 2011, UNL’s Noyce Master Teaching Fellows and Teaching Fellows have engaged in a wide variety of teacher leadership as mathematics teachers in high-need schools and districts in Nebraska. From becoming math coaches and leading professional development for peers, to giving presentations at national conferences and chairing curriculum committees, the 30 MTFs and 13 TFs demonstrate through their accomplishments the accumulation of efforts by the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education to form school-university partnerships that can provide opportunities for teacher leadership. The NebraskaNOYCE grant was funded by the National Science Foundation, as was a Phase II grant to allow us to continue to study these remarkable Noyce teachers. Contact us to receive a copy of this booklet in the mail or click on the image to download a PDF.

Mathematics teachers in high-need districts
begin program for developing Master Teachers, leaders

The Robert Noyce NSF Master Teaching Fellows were chosen between Spring 2011 and Fall 2013. These outstanding teachers had to meet the following criteria:

  • Math teacher or math coach in a high-need school district
  • Have earned a master's degree
  • Seeking additional opportunities to take graduate coursework that will strengthen their ability to be a Master Teacher
  • Demonstrate superb knowledge of mathematics on a Praxis II Exam
  • Agree to teach in a high-need school district for at least five years
  • Want to make major contributions to mathematics teaching and learning in their school and district

Master Teaching Fellows receive a $10,000 salary supplement for participating in a 24-credit-hour program and a fellowship to cover the cost of tuition and fees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and coursework emphasizing developing leadership skills, teaching diverse learners in high-need schools and motivation of students in the classroom.

UNL's Robert Noyce Scholarship grants are part of a campus-wide commitment to excellence in math and science teacher education led by the Colleges of Education and Human Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Contact Dr. Wendy Smith at wsmith5@unl.edu with questions about the program.

Nine earn national board certification in 2013-2015

Nine Nebraska middle and high school mathematics teachers who are MTFs at UNL have earned National Professional Board Certification since becoming a MTF, seven during the 2013 application cycle, one in 2014 and another in 2015. Six of the state’s nine active Board-certified teachers in mathematics/adolescence young adulthood and five of the 11 in mathematics/early adolescence are MTFs. Three Nebraska teachers earned certification in any subject in 2015, bringing the total number of teachers in the state with board certification to 117. The nine MTFs who became Board-certified mathematics teachers during the Noyce program are: Shelby Aaberg, Scottsbluff High School, Scottsbluff Public Schools; Danielle Buhrman, Grand Island Senior High School, Grand Island Public Schools; Alicia Davis, Scott Middle School, Lincoln Public Schools; Katie Garcia, Bryan High School, Omaha Public Schools; Pat Janike, Lincoln High School, Lincoln Public Schools; Jill Luschen, Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School, Omaha Public Schools; Dan Schaben, Arapahoe Public School; Katie Soto, Westridge Middle School, Grand Island Public Schools; and Sherry West, Lincoln Southeast High School, Lincoln Public Schools. These nine teachers join two of their Noyce colleagues who had received this honor previously: LPS math coach Darla Berks and OPS McMillan Magnet Middle School math department head Connie Colton.

Meet the Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellows

Shelby Aaberg

Scottsbluff High School,
Scottsbluff Public Schools

Shelby Aaberg

Education is a matter I take personally and seriously. In my middle school years, my mother went back to finish her nursing degree. I used to complain about long hours in the hospital library. Every time I complained about my circumstances, my mother would say, 'Education is the way out.' I hold fast to this belief. For my students, this particularly holds true.

Delise Andrews

District Math Coach,
Lincoln Public Schools

Delise Andrews

Teaching and learning have been passions of mine from the time I was a young child. I have always loved being a student and wanted to share the excitement of understanding new ideas with the people around me. I believe that the Robert Noyce NSF Master Teaching Fellowship program will enhance my ability to effectively support LPS math teachers in pursuit of these professional goals.

Tanya Archie

Secondary Math Coach,
Omaha Public Schools

Tanya Archie

I want to make a difference in young people’s lives like my teachers did for me. There will be times where I have to do the jobs and take the roles that no one wants. There will be times that I will have a viewpoint that might not be so popular, and I will be challenged as to why I have the philosophies that I do.

Cindy Beaman

Elementary Title I,
Grand Island Public Schools

Cindy Beaman

Strength in the teaching of mathematics is a goal I have for every classroom teacher, particularly the elementary teacher who lacks confidence to teach mathematics. I feel great satisfaction in seeing my peers grow and improve in the mathematics area. Learning how I can reach this goal is something that I think the Noyce Fellowship will offer through classes and collaboration with others.

Darla Kelberlau-Berks

Lincoln High Math Coach,
Lincoln Public Schools

Darla Kelberlau-Berks

I have been amazed at the number of minority students that are identified as learning disabled. Knowing that Nebraska has one of the largest Achievement Gaps of the country is extremely concerning. I feel as if I can – and should – be a part of a solution to this problem.

Danielle Buhrman

Grand Island Senior High,
Grand Island Public Schools

Danielle Buhrman

I am a firm believer in the importance of knowing the mathematics before you can teach it, but too many undergraduate secondary education programs are focused on content and educational theories and not enough on practice or how to interact with kids. I wish I had been given more opportunities to work with students and had been challenged to think about how students learn mathematics.

Connie Colton

McMillan Magnet Center,
Omaha Public Schools

Connie Colton

I am hungry for knowledge about what works in the classroom and I want to share that information with my peers. I want to act as an agent that connects the larger educational community with the classroom teacher, and connects theory to practice. This fellowship will not only offer an opportunity for personal growth, but also will help me develop the skills necessary to effectively support other teachers.

Alicia Davis

Scott Middle School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Alicia Davis

I am an educator because I care deeply about my students and believe that I am effective in teaching them how to become strong mathematicians and good people. While students learn a wealth of information, there is nothing that can replace the hands-on training of a classroom setting. It is one thing to learn about something by reading and an entirely different thing to see the same situation first-hand.

Jill Edgren

Wood River Middle/High School,
Wood River Rural Schools

Jill Edgren

Helping students and especially helping other teachers is great as I have the potential of impacting that many more people. Most people go into math education for one of the following reasons: they really want to coach and math was easy for them, math was easy, or math was sometimes challenging but they had a great teacher who inspired them.

Garold Furse

Pound Middle School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Garold Furse

I enjoyed leading this class of future teachers. Many of them were not seeking an endorsement in math but a required class for graduation. What I tried to impart to them was my philosophy that at the middle school level you don’t just teach subject matter - you teach life skills and the subject matter, whether it be math or family consumer science, which is the vehicle through which you teach those life skills.

Katie Garcia

Bryan High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Katie Garcia

It is easy to forget the feeling of struggling to grasp new concepts or the challenges of managing the demands on limited amounts of time and energy. Being a student reminds me of these challenges and helps me to meet the needs of all learners – from those who need to be challenged mathematically to those who need large amounts of assistance and encouragement to be successful.

Paula Jakopovic

Field Club Elementary,
Omaha Public Schools

Paula Jakopovic

I believe that students recognize passion for a particular topic and respond to that passion when they experience it first-hand. As a teacher who worked in a high-need school with many struggling students, one of the most important messages I passed on to my students was that they could be successful at mathematics if they really actively participated in their learning.

Patrick Janike

Lincoln High School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Patrick Janike

I enjoy trying to anticipate questions that students will ask while also preparing for the possibility that they will lead the discussion in a new direction. I find pleasure in forming relationships with students and discovering ways to motivate them toward success. The classroom is a lively place with incredible energy, and I become excited by the potential for student growth.

Susie Katt

District Math Coach,
Lincoln Public Schools

Susie Katt

I would like to continue learning more ways to provide help to new teachers, as well as those who may be 'novice' due to an undeveloped understanding. Investing in these teachers is one of the best things our society can do for the future success of all students.

Kesha King

Chandler Elementary,
Omaha Public Schools

Kesha King

To promote student achievement, I simply employ the practice of maintaining high expectations. Despite the adversities any student may enter my classroom possessing, I expect said student to achieve. It became abundantly clear in the acquisition of my second master’s degree that learning is enhanced exponentially when students share their thinking.

Philip LaFleur

Lewis and Clark Middle School,
Omaha Public Schools

Philip LaFleur

Due to the increasing demand in testing and meeting the requirements for No Child Left Behind, I explored new options for making sure the students are meeting expectations. Seeing the looks on students' faces when I told them that not only did our building meet the requirements, but also they passed enough of the tests, was worth every minute that I spent.

Brent Larson

Central High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Brent Larson

Math has always been a subject I have enjoyed, and I have found a place to share this with others. Math is something that shows up everywhere, and I enjoy doing math with others. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to work with some of the brightest and most talented students and to have so many different opportunities to be involved at the secondary and postsecondary level.

Jill Luschen

Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School,
Omaha Public Schools

Jill Luschen

I want to be an exceptional leader and mentor in the district I teach. I have been teaching for 7 years, and I am always looking for new and exciting ways to share math with my students and colleagues. I have always welcomed teachers, practicum students, and former students into my classroom to share the experience with me, and to hopefully give them great ideas when they get their own classroom.

Josh Males

Secondary Mathematics Coordinator,
Lincoln Public Schools

Josh Males

I have had the opportunity to work in many types of schools, from large inner city schools to small private schools. These experiences have given me an opportunity to work with and see many styles of teaching. I would use the support that this fellowship would provide to learn more about what I can do to help shift the culture of the typical high school math classroom into something more meaningful for our students.

Edie Ronhovde

Fremont Middle School,
Fremont Public Schools

Edie Ronhovde

As a learner I do not want to ever stop learning or think that I have arrived. Going to school and learning more and more about being a better teacher is what I want to do. The best part about learning new things is sharing these things with others.

Gregory Sand

Central High School,
Omaha Public Schools

Gregory Sand

I have a passion for working with kids and feel like I have become very effective with it. Over the years I have found what keeps me teaching is that it allows me to learn all of the time. As each year goes by, I find new techniques and ideas not only keep me 'fresh' as a teacher but also keep me energized in my desire to continue to teach.

Daniel Schaben

Arapahoe High School,
Arapahoe Public Schools

Daniel Schaben

I am a teacher of limited means with a huge desire to transform myself into the best educator I can possibly be. I have found that teaching and observing others is the best way to improve one’s own abilities in math education. I have also found that throwing myself in front of educated adult who ask the hard questions can bring my mind into focus on the issues of mathematics education.

Anne Schmidt

Culler Middle School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Anne Schmidt

The middle school education have been changed from the notion that every student should be 'successful,' to the development of 'interdisciplinary' units, which were at best tenuously related to maths but rather necessitated rote skills. To strive to provide students with tenacity, efficiency, and the confidence to reach beyond their comfort level should be the goal of all educators.

Katie Soto

Westridge Middle School,
Grand Island Public Schools

Katie Soto

I want to equip students with the tools and resources necessary to become active life-long learners and instill in them a passion for inquiry and problem solving. I would also like to be given the opportunity to share my mathematical knowledge and experiences with colleagues through professional development and the supervision and mentoring of novice practitioner.

Jessica Thompson

Superior Jr.-Sr. High School,
Superior Public Schools

Jessica Thompson

Students are the exciting part of teaching. I think being with kids keeps everything in perspective. My dream would be to keep my regular teaching job and work for the service unit one or two days a month during the school year and steadily throughout the summer. I want to share what I have learned with other teachers and I want to learn from them.

Matt Timm

Indian Hill Elementary,
Omaha Public Schools

Matt Timm

I want to be a part of developing my district into one that can handle any math curriculum. Math in the Middle increased my content knowledge and my students have reaped the rewards. This summer, I was on the instructional team for a NebraskaMATH course. It was thrilling to help 26 teachers increase their math content knowledge. I know their students will benefit, and I would like to do more.

Jason Vitosh

Falls City High School,
Falls City Public Schools

Jason Vitosh

The interactions between teacher and student and the reward of passing on the passion for math and learning. I had always known that my parents were very good at their jobs and that the rewards of teaching kept them working hard at it, but I had never understood how interesting it could be to work with young people, helping them to grow into successful adults.

Amber Vlasnik

Lincoln High School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Amber Vlasnik

I have seen other master teachers whom I respect immensely enter the program and have seen how much their leadership has benefitted myself and other teachers around the state. I envision that by taking on this new leadership role myself, not only will my own students benefit but also the students of other teachers I am able to influence.

Jerel Welker

Secondary Mathematics Coordinator,
Lincoln Public Schools

Jerel Welker

The Noyce MTF program provides an opportunity for me to continue to grow. As the LPS Secondary Math Coordinator, I have curriculum oversight for the high schools and primary responsibility for professional development in the high schools. I also would like to investigate more ways to use technology to engage all students in a mathematical task.

Sherry West

Lincoln Southeast High School,
Lincoln Public Schools

Sherry West

My desire to help others and my love for learning make teaching a natural fit. I honestly can't think of anything I'd rather do. My goal has always been to be the best teacher I can be, not only within my classroom, but also within my department and the district. I make an effort to keep up with current research, I take classes almost every summer, and I serve in a variety of leadership roles.