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What do OPS teachers say about NebraskaMATH programs?

Below are quotations from OPS teachers who have taken graduate coursework as part of Primarily Math, Math in the Middle or the Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes, and the names of OPS teachers who have participated in a NebraskaMATH program and have indicated their willingness to answer questions from other OPS teachers who want to learn more about the challenges and benefits of a NebraskaMATH program.

Jodie Lenser, principal at Bancroft Elementary, where there are 6 Primarily Math participants, two from cohort 2 and four from cohort 4, cites the benefits of having a team of participating teachers as follows:


  • Deeper mathematical knowledge
  • Impact on student achievement
  • Shared knowledge among staff
  • New Instructional strategies
  • Enthusiasm for Math
  • Math leaders on staff
  • Possible Math coach positions within the district

Learn More

OPS TLA Math in the Middle Cohort 1
OPS TLA Math in the Middle Cohort 1
OPS TLA Primarily Math Cohort 1
OPS TLA Primarily Math Cohort 1
OPS TLA Math in the Middle Cohort 2
OPS TLA Math in the Middle Cohort 2
OPS TLA Primarily Math Cohort 2
OPS TLA Primarily Math Cohort 2

Quotes from Primarily Math Teachers

The Primarily Math program challenges you not only as a teacher of math, but as a mathematician as well. You will leave the program feeling more confident in your own math abilities and will be energized to teach your students in a totally different way. The classes are a great combination of personal and professional growth, which leads to amazing results in the classroom. I can't say enough about how the Primarily Math program has changed my way of thinking about math. Mandy Farrage Kindergarten teacher, Highland Elementary
I've never been challenged so much in a course to problem solve, analyze, and deeply understand a concept. The work I put into my math courses truly translates directly into my instruction and helps push my students to develop deeper, sounder understandings of math concepts. Primarily Math is a valuable, fun experience I would never take back. Kristin L. Wiese 3rd grade teacher, Picotte Elementary
It is like eating a vegetable you might not like. It’s not always easy to digest but the end result shows you made the right choice. Coming from someone who has struggled and disliked math most of their life, this was one of the best choices I have made; not only as an educator but personally as well. Accomplishments. Challenges. Friendships. Celebrations. Hurdles. Perseverance. Success. Exhaustion. Growth. Support. Achievement. Megan Zitek 2nd grade teacher, Western Hills Magnet Center

Quotes from Math in the Middle Teachers

My goal in my classroom is to apply the knowledge I learned in the program to help students make connections between algebra and geometry concepts. It is amazing how you find the time (for the coursework). I gave birth to twins in May and graduated on time in August. Jodie Emerson 8th grade teacher, Morton Magnet Middle School
I took on this challenge because I want to be a part of the solution in closing the achievement gap. Working with my peers made math more enjoyable. It was tough at times, but everyone was working toward a common goal. It wasn’t a competition; we wanted to accomplish the goal together. Crystal Simpson Principal, Dodge Elementary
I have gained a master’s degree after 20 years of teaching! This is something that I honestly didn’t think would ever be possible. The mathematical knowledge that I learned from the program cannot even be described. I have been able to take something from each of the courses and apply it to my own teaching. Lisa Vavra 7th grade teacher, Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School

Ask an OPS Teacher about NebraskaMATH

The following OPS teachers have indicated their willingness to be a resource to OPS teachers considering applying to one of the NebraskaMATH OPS Teacher Leader Academy programs. For most, their email address uses the OPS algorithm, firstname.lastname@ops.org. If you have difficulty making contact with one of these outstanding OPS teachers, please contact us at nebraskamath@unl.edu.

Primarily Math

Name Grade School
Wendy Badders 2 Bancroft Elementary
Kathleen Bilek Math Coach Bancroft Elementary
Heather Bryan K Ashland Park-Robbins Elementary
Jill Copeland 1 Oak Valley Elementary
Meghan Daigh 3-4 Kennedy Elementary
Ann Dirks 1-2 Western Hills Magnet Center
Jessica Ehlers 3 Oak Valley Elementary
Mandy Farrage K Highlander Elementary
Meeghan Hartfield 3 Central Park Elementary
Lisa Holland 2 Columbian Elementary
Jill House Math Coach King and Howard Kennedy Elementary
Melissa Jankowski 2 Central Park Elementary
Kerri Kratina K Saddlebrook Elementary
Kelle Lawrence 1 Sunny Slope Elementary
Frances Merica K Beals Elementary
Suzanne Pike 1 Jefferson Elementary
Jennifer Streeter 3 Boyd Elementary
Angela Thiemann 1 Bancroft Elementary
Shirley Tipler K Sherman Elementary
Jimmi Watts K Belle Ryan Elementary
Meredith Whiley SpEd Resource Liberty Elementary
Megan Zitek 2 Western Hills Magnet Center

Math in the Middle

Name Grade School
Tanya Archie 9-12 Middle School Math Coach
Pamela Arvie 5 Prairie Wind Elementary
Jay Beyer 2 Wilson Focus School
Connie Colton 7-8 McMillan Magnet Center
Patrick Derr 6 Washington Elementary
Jonelle Dickmeyer 5-6 Pinewood Elementary
Marlene Grayer 7 Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School
Patty Hastings Math/Science Instructional Facilitator Western Hills University Partnership Magnet Center
Paula Jakopovic Math Coach Field Club Elemetary
Kesha King 6 Chandler View Elementary
Brian Kohlhaas 7 Monroe Middle School
Jessica Korth 7-8 Bryan Middle School
Kelly LaFleur 7 Lewis and Clark Middle School
Philip LaFleur 8 Monroe Middle School
Sarah Larson 5 Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School
Susan Leavitt 2-6 Skinner Magnet Center
Dianne Lee 1 Sherman Elementary
Joseph Nuss 6 Bancroft Elementary
Valerie Schovanec Elementary Supervisor TAC
Matthew Timm K-6 Elementary Math Coach
Lisa Vavra 7 Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School
Amy Veit-Gordon Instructional Facilitator Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School
Kerri Witherell 8 Lewis and Clark Middle School

Noyce Master Teaching Fellows

Name Grade School
Tanya Archie 9-12 Middle School Math Coach
Connie Colton 7-8 McMillan Magnet Center
Katie Garcia 9-12 Bryan High School
Paula Jakopovic Math Coach Field Club Elementary
Kesha King 6 Chandler View Elementary
Philip LaFleur 8 Monroe Middle School
Brent Larson 9-12 Central High School
Jill Luschen 7-8 Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School
Greg Sand 9-12 Central High School
Matt Timm K-6 Elementary Math Coach