Return to Headlines

Celebrating Educators

Fifth grade teacher Felicia Cervantes greets students with a smile as they walk through her door every morning at Spring Lake Elementary. She says it’s the best part of her day.
“The students are the bright spark, and they do such a good job of taking care of each other and of me,” said Cervantes. “Our classroom community is what keeps me going.”

Cervantes recently received her National Board Certification and is in her final months of Omaha Public Schools Bilingual Leaders Program. Although teaching can be challenging, Cervantes says it is also rewarding.

“My end goal is to make sure that when we say we want our students to succeed, we are matching that with our actions,” said Cervantes.

ike Cervantes, Danielle Zimmerman’s students bring her joy. Zimmerman wanted to be a music teacher for as long as she can remember. Her elementary school music teacher inspired her. She is in her first year at Omaha Public Schools, teaching music at Wakonda Elementary.

“I’m always looking for new ideas on how I can get the kids excited or interested in class,” said Zimmerman. “When a kindergartner realizes we can use an instrument to create a rainstorm or use their hands and bodies to create sound, their excitement is always a good moment for me.”

Omaha Public Schools celebrates all educators this month. Staff Appreciation Week brought an opportunity to recognize each of our nearly 7,000 full-time employees. As Nebraska’s third largest employer, each individual throughout our district is essential in educating more than 52,000 students.

School counselor Jessica McCurdy serves students at Burke High. McCurdy says supporting them on their journey makes each day worthwhile.

“It is such a great feeling. There’s nothing compared to a kid that just feels like they have achieved something, and you got to be a little part of it,” said McCurdy. “Every day is something different, and you just have to be open-minded, accepting and non-judgmental.”

Paraprofessional Barbra Buzbee finds joy in the relationships she builds with students at Wakonda Elementary.
“The best part of being a para is being around the kids and feeling like I’m helping them,” Buzbee said. “I’ve gotten to know quite a few of them very well, and their little faces cheer me up.”

Omaha Public Schools is proud to have a team of qualified educators preparing students for success in college, career and life. Many have earned national and state recognition for their work.
“I can tell you, after so many years, I still have fond memories of my students from my first class to the class that I have now,” said Lisa Moody, Jefferson Elementary teacher and Milken Educator Award winner. “I couldn’t do my job without all my co-workers, administrators and especially my paraprofessionals.”

Please join us in thanking all Omaha Public Schools staff for their hard work and dedication to our students.