OPS TLA | Participant Profiles
Noyce Master Teaching Fellow
Central High School, Omaha Public Schools
Greg Sand, a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, won a 2011 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award in May. Greg and 14 other educators in Omaha Public Schools each won $10,000 from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.
What is the process for winning an Alice Buffett Award?
In January, the foundation runs advertisements for nominations that can be submitted by students, parents or peers. The winners are notified in early April. Since the actual awards banquet isn't until the end of May, you have to keep it quiet until then. So for about five weeks, only my wife and I knew and that was very, very difficult. The awards ceremony was on the top floor of the Peter Kiewit Building in midtown Omaha. When you arrive, your building principal is there, but they do not know who has won. It was an amazing evening where a variety of speakers talked with the winners. Something I found very interesting is that they do not release any of the nomination letters to you, keeping a certain amount of anonymity about the entire process.
What do you plan to do with the award money?
Well, so far we've taken a vacation to Jamaica. The rest is waiting to be used, or maybe just saved. We've been looking for a new house for a while, so that money could come in handy.
How has your Noyce experience been?
My experience this summer has been amazing. From the first publications about the Noyce MTF program, I knew it was something that I was professionally ready to do as well as personally motivated to do. I love teaching math and have tried to make an impact on how it is taught for many years. I saw this program as another avenue to help facilitate change at building, district and statewide levels. From the first day of class, I knew that I was working with some of the finest teachers in Nebraska. We have had a chance to not only work together, but also share what we do, and I am humbled to be a part of this group. I know that after this summer, I have added a number of tools that will make me a more effective teacher. A big thank you to everyone for sharing what they do.
Do you remember your favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Jill Conrad at Crete High School, who not surprisingly, was both my junior high and high school math teacher. Not only did she have an amazing talent of guiding us through very difficult topics, but also a wit about her that kept class interesting every day.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is the relationships I forge with students and the chance to watch them grow over four years. My Enrichment Math course has a unique quality about it in that students can take it for all four years of high school. This gives me the chance to work with a set of students, get to know them very well, and help them develop from freshmen to seniors.
What's on your iPod?
It changes fairly often, but currently Dave Matthews Band, Neil Young, Cake, and a variety of NPR Podcasts with 'This American Life' being my favorite.
What is your favorite thing about Nebraska?
My favorite thing about Nebraska is the variety of experiences that the state offers. I grew up in a small town (Crete) and had a great traditional community experience. Moving to Omaha helped me realize that my experience wasn't the norm for many people. My eyes were opened to the real diversity of the state. Being at Central High has helped me more than anything, by having had the chance to work with the widest variety of talent, cultures and ethnicities in Nebraska.