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2022 Nebraska Excellence in Career Education Awards

The Nebraska Department of Education is proud to sponsor the annual Excellence in Career Education Awards to recognize outstanding Nebraska Career Education programs and outstanding partnerships. These awards will be presented each June at the Nebraska Career Education Conference in Kearney, Nebraska. They will be presented in cooperation with the Association for Career and Technical Education in Nebraska’s recognition honoring outstanding Nebraska career education instructors.

Award winners will be notified in advance and are required to be present to receive their award. Criteria and application details for the awards are explained below.

Application link:  Coming Soon! Check back for updates

Completed application forms must be submitted on or before February 1, 2022.

Selection of Awardees

Recipients of Nebraska Excellence in Career Education Awards will be determined by an internal selection team composed of Nebraska Department of Education Career Education Specialists.


Award Categories

This award is open to any teacher, counselor, administrator, or community member, business person, or legislator who has demonstrated sustained and outstanding statewide leadership and advocacy for Nebraska Career Education. The leadership and advocacy must have been at a level beyond a specific community or institution and spanned a significant portion of his/her professional career.
The individual selected for the award must have made significant advancement in the mission of Nebraska Career Education to enhance lifelong learning, earning and living skills and knowledge. Other considerations include:

• Passion for career education
• Outstanding leadership and guidance in creating an environment conducive to career education
• Contributions to Nebraska career education over a sustained period of time
• Making a very real difference for career education students and career education programs
• Perseverance in overcoming obstacles and challenges to offering quality career education opportunities for youth and adults (K-20)
• Advocacy for Nebraska Career Education

This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding collaboration and outreach to support the advancement of Nebraska Career Education. The award honors a person who has demonstrated a personal commitment and outstanding support for NCE that is “above and beyond” that his/her job or business requires. The award recognizes individual efforts and initiative that reaches beyond an individual organization, agency, school or community. The recipient of this award must have demonstrated:

  • Commitment to the mission and goals of Nebraska Career Education
  • Collaboration and involvement with groups, agencies, businesses, and/or educational organizations to expand opportunities for quality career education
  • Active engagement in efforts to enhance understanding of the benefits of quality career education for all Nebraska citizens (youth and adults)
  • Sustained participation in area/regional/statewide activities whose purpose is to support, improve, and expand Nebraska Career Education

This award is designed to recognize a business or partnership group that has made significant contributions to the success of Career Education at a statewide level. This may include support for a career field or career education in general.

This award is presented to a Nebraska school administrator who has demonstrated visionary leadership in fostering innovation and growth of Nebraska Career Education on a local or regional basis. The award honors an administrator who has consistently demonstrated a personal commitment and outstanding support for career and technical education that enhances opportunities for students and prepares them with the technical skills and knowledge as well as the career readiness (employability) skills leading to career success. The recipient of this award must have demonstrated:

  • Commitment to the mission and goals of Nebraska Career Education
  • Collaboration and involvement with groups, agencies, businesses, and/or educational organizations to expand opportunities for quality career education
  • Active engagement in efforts to enhance understanding of the benefits of quality career education
  • Support for the efforts of Career Technical Educators to enhance and grow their programs of study
  • Sustained participation in area/regional/state-wide activities whose purpose is to support, improve, and expand Nebraska Career Education

This award is designed to recognize the outstanding achievement of career education programs in junior high/middle schools, high schools, and postsecondary institutions. An individual instructional program within a school/college or a school/college as a whole are eligible for this award.

Criteria for this award includes:

  • Instructional programs aligned to the Nebraska Career Education Model
  • Programs that demonstrate quality areas such as:
    • Student achievement in both career and academic arenas
    • Innovative instruction based on a state model program of study
    • Leadership and personal development through career technical student organizations
    • Effective implementation of career guidance and work-based learning
    • Alignment to Nebraska’s workforce needs and economic priorities
    • Community engagement

One award for each of the following will be presented:

  • Outstanding Middle School/Junior High Program
  • Outstanding Secondary Program
  • Outstanding Postsecondary Program
  • Outstanding Rule 47 Career Academy

Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career Educator Award


This award honors one educator from each of the following career fields:
• Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
• Business, Marketing, and Management
• Communication and Information Systems
• Human Sciences and Education (Family and Consumer Sciences/Education & Training)
• Health Sciences
• Skilled and Technical Sciences

The winning educator from each career field will be awarded $1,000. The Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career Educator will be selected through an interview process at the Nebraska Career Education Conference and will receive an additional $2,500.

The Richard Katt Outstanding Career Educator will be required to present a session at the 2023 NCE Conference. The winning educators from each career field may also be asked to present a session at the Conference.

All Career and Technical Educators in Nebraska.

• Innovative Classroom Practices
• Philosophy of Teaching in Career and Technical Education
• Service to the Teaching Profession
• Mentoring Experiences
• Personal and Professional Growth
• Letters of Recommendation

• Educators must complete the online application.
• Completed application forms must be submitted on or before February 1, 2022.
• Previous recipients of the Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career Educator Award are ineligible to receive this award again.

An evaluation committee will select one educator from each of the six designated career fields to be honored at the Nebraska Career Education Conference. These top six finalists will be interviewed by an evaluation panel on Monday.

2021 Nebraska Excellence in Career Education Award Winners

Elaine Stuhr Leadership and Advocacy Award

  • Dr. Lloyd Bell, Emeritus Professor, Department of AGLEC, UNL

Distinguished Partner Award

  • Scott Volk, MetalQuest

Outstanding Business Partnership Award

  • Nebraska Council on Economic Education
  • Behavior Health Education Centers of Nebraska (BHECN)

Nebraska CTE Outstanding Administrative Leader Award

  • Dr. John Skretta, Administrator, ESU 06

Outstanding Nebraska Middle School CTE Program Award

  • Columbus Middle School

View the 2021 NCE Virtual Conference Awards Program!

Outstanding Nebraska Secondary Career Education Program Award

  • Pathways 2 Tomorrow

Outstanding Postsecondary Career Education Program Award

  • Metropolitan Community College, Early Childhood Program

Outstanding Rule 47 Career Academy Program Award

  • Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Benson Magnet School Career Academies

2021 Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career Educator Award Winners

Since 1990, David Gibbens has taught ag and FFA at West Holt Public Schools. Gibbens has integrated science into the curriculum through the use of CASE Curriculum. Serving as a CASE Lead Teacher, Gibbens helps to certify teachers across the country in the use of Natural Resources and Agribusiness courses.

In 2020, Gibbens converted the CASE teacher workshops to a virtual format. West Holt students use an inquiry based approach and experimentation to explore all areas of agriculture. As the advisor for the West Holt FFA, Gibbens has trained 50 state winning teams, two state presidents, and 2 National Star Finalists.

School Based Enterprises have recently been added to the West Holt program in order to provide greater work experience for students. Both a greenhouse production and laser cutting business have been added for students to gain new business experiences.

Gibbens is a member of the NAEA and has served on the board of directors since 1994.

2021 Outstanding Educator Career Field Winners

After spending two decades working in Corporate Retailing and Management, Dawn understands what her students will face in both the post-secondary classroom and the business world. Dawn became a DECA mentor and judged State DECA for twenty-two years. Dawn is serving in her tenth year as a DECA Advisor. As the adviser, she has helped over seventy-five students qualify to compete at DECA’s International Career Development Conference.

Dawn has served as the Business Department Chair at Bellevue East High School for the past four years. She has taught all Nebraska Business and Marketing courses as well as MBA Research’s High School of Business Program courses. Dawn partners with co-workers, DECA Advisors, administrators, and business professionals, both locally and nationally, to bring her students the best business experiences possible.

Dawn is excited to prepare students for the ever changing and challenging world we are faced with today!

For 17 years, Kristeen Shabram has taught Business and Technology teacher at Westside Middle School in Omaha. She currently teaches 7th grade Business and Technology and 8th grade Digital Media and Literacy.

In addition to teaching, Kristeen assists administrators and counselors at Westside Middle School with scheduling students in the student information system. Kristeen sponsors a Girls Who Code Club, is a member of her schools Design Team and Career Education Committee, is the school webmaster, and is a member of the Westside Community Schools Computer Science Toolbox Committee.

Professionally, Kristeen is a member of the Nebraska State Business Education Association, the Nebraska Educational Technology Association, and the Computer Science Teachers Association. She is currently serving as past president of the Metro Omaha CSTA Chapter, as one of the K-8 Representatives on the National CSTA Board of Directors, and is a member of the CSTA Annual Conference Planning Committee.

In 2022, Kristeen will serve as the CSTA Conference Chair.

Jen Harre is an instructor in the Scottsbluff High School (SHS) Health Science Career Academy. She has been a Registered Nurse for twenty-two years. Prior to teaching, Jen worked at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Medical/Oncology/Stroke care. She then worked as a school nurse in both the Scottsbluff and Gering School Districts.

This is Jen’s fifth year of teaching Health Sciences. She teaches several of the Health Science classes. Those include: Project Lead the Way Medical Interventions and Principles of Biomedical Sciences. She is also an adjunct instructor for Western Nebraska Community College and teaches the Dual Credit classes of Medical Terminology, Basic Nursing Assistant and Medication Aide.

Jen is the HOSA Future Health Professional Co-Advisor for the Scottsbluff High School Chapter which has 81 members. Even in the pandemic, she is proud that the SHS Chapter was able to give back to the community. They did so by assisting Team Ashtyn with Childhood Cancer Awareness month, hosting an Aid Station at the Monument Marathon, and volunteering at the Regional West Medical Center Flu Shot Clinic. In addition, they assisted in putting 32 snack baskets together for Community Healthcare Providers. This spring, SHS HOSA members have been volunteering at COVID vaccine clinics and are planning a Blood Drive.

For 7 years, Michelle Galles has been teaching Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Wakefield Community Schools. Michelle holds an endorsement in Health Sciences.

Michelle has served as the FCCLA District Adviser, FCCLA District STAR Coordinator, Nebraska FCCLA Board of Directors and serves on a committee for Family Consumer Sciences Teachers of Nebraska FCSTN.  Michelle’s FCCLA chapter of 70 members have competed at the district, state and national level along with receiving numerous awards and recognition from Nebraska State FCCLA.

Michelle has received the FCSTN 1-5 Teacher of the Year Award, Nebraska FCCLA Master Adviser Award, Nebraska Spirit of Advising FCCLA Award, and Nebraska Career Educator Outstanding FCCLA Advisor.

In the past 9 years of teaching, Michelle has taught; Child Development, Early Childhood Practicum, Culinary Arts, Nutrition, Medical Terminology (college credit), Health Careers, Fashion & Interior Design, Junior High FCS, Freshman Health and Adult Living.

Michelle currently teaches over 120 students.

Michelle has continued to work with pre-service college students from Wayne State College (WSC), and has supervised three student teachers.

In addition, for three years Michelle taught as an adjunct professor for the WSC Family & Consumer Sciences department.

For 13 years, Matt Hurt has taught the advanced manufacturing and welding at Hastings Senior high school.

Matt has been very involved with leading students into local industries by creating major partnerships between employers and students. He is a founding member of Hastings local Manufacturing Pathway Advisory Team. This team strives to provide manufacturing students with a pathway from exceptional classrooms to a career of excellence in manufacturing.

Matt is the lead advisor of the Hastings SkillsUSA chapter averaging 35-40 students, annually.

Hastings SkillsUSA chapter is very successful having multiple placers and champions at the state level and a continuous presence at the national level with 5 National placers.

Matt  enjoys spending time with his family and doing anything outdoors

Updated November 23, 2021 8:28am