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Teaching award nominations sought

October 6, 2014

The Grand Island Community Foundation is seeking nominations for the Kim West Dinsdale Award for Excellence in Teaching. The recipient of this award is honored with a $5,000 prize.

Founded in 2005, this award honors kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and guidance counselors who demonstrate an exceptional love for and quality in teaching in Hall County, including Cairo, Doniphan, Grand Island and Wood River.

The winner is chosen from nominations submitted by current and former students, parents of students, colleagues, principals, administrators, family and friends. Hall County public and private school teachers and guidance counselors are eligible for nomination, but teachers and guidance counselors cannot nominate themselves.

“This award, generously established in honor of Kim West Dinsdale, allows us to showcase a teacher or guidance counselor who truly inspires students and encourages them to achieve success in and beyond the classroom,” Tammy Morris, chief executive officer of the Grand Island Community Foundation. “Educators are changing the world one student at a time and the impact of a good teacher or guidance counselor on a child’s life is monumental.”

Past recipients of this award include:

2013 — Christa Speed, Grand Island Senior High (orchestra and band)

2012 — Karen Gruener, Cedar Hollow School (second grade)

2011 — Tess Westover, Howard Elementary School (second grade)

2010 — Pat Kayl, Grand Island Central Catholic (science)

2009 — Michella Honas, Grand Island Senior High School (special education)

2008 — David Shack, Grand Island Northwest High School (music)

2007 — Mary Ann Richards, Walnut Middle School (guidance counselor)

2006 — Kay Janzen, Grand Island Central Catholic (math)

2005 — Brandi Anderson, Grand Island Senior High School (English as a second language)

“We want to stress that all kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and guidance counselors in Hall County can be nominated. This award is a wonderful opportunity for teachers as well as students, parents and administrators to show pride in their school and teachers. The award recipient is recognized and receives a cash prize of $5,000,” Morris said.

When asked why this award is significant to the community, Kim West Dinsdale expressed a sincere appreciation and respect for how teachers and guidance counselors shape our future.

“Educators do more than teach; they inspire students to reach new heights of success. I am so pleased, through the Grand Island Community Foundation, we have an opportunity to honor our teachers and guidance counselors,” she said.

Nominations must include a one to two-page essay detailing three reasons why the teacher or guidance counselor serves as a shining example of educational excellence. Suggestions for information to be included in the nomination letters include the nominee’s ability to:

  • Challenge students to achieve excellence in performance and inspire positive character development.

  • Foster an environment suited for student diversity and diverse learning styles.

  • Promote or enhance involvement of parents and teachers in students’ education.

It is also suggested that letters talk about the nominee’s command of the subject he or she is teaching. Letters should also show that the nominee serves the community beyond what is expected

Three letters of support should also be included, with at least one written by a student or, if nominating an elementary school teacher, the parent of a student.

Nominations are due by Oct. 15, with the award presented by early December 2014.

Nomination materials are sent to Hall County schools and are also available on the Grand Island Community Foundation website at

Submissions can be mailed to Kim West Dinsdale Award, Grand Island Community Foundation, 1811 W. Second St., Suite 480, Grand Island, NE 68803.

Accredited by the Community Foundations National
Standards Board

  • Grand Island Community Foundation
  • 1811 W. 2nd Street, Suite 480
  • Grand Island, NE 68803
  • (P) 308-381-7767 (F) 308-384-4069