News Release

June 22, 2020


Nebraska Career and Technical Education (CTE) held its first Virtual Symposium on June 9. More than 700 Nebraska CTE teachers, school counselors, administrators, and advocates connected from throughout the Midwest. The virtual symposium highlighted information and resources for the Nebraska CTE education community during this time of uncertainty.

Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, joined the symposium to discuss the Perkins V plan approval and resources that the federal government is providing to CTE teachers.

The annual Nebraska Excellence in Career and Technical Education Awards and Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educators Awards were presented during the symposium. The awards were co-sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education, the Nebraska Career Education and Innovation Foundation, and business and industry partners.

The Excellence in Career Education Awards recognize outstanding Nebraska Career Education (NCE) programs and outstanding partnerships with businesses and individuals. Recipients were nominated by Nebraska career educators from across the state.

The Rich Katt Outstanding CTE Educator Award is given annually to a Nebraska CTE educator in each of the six career fields, who has shown exemplary passion resulting in action for Career and Technical Education. All finalists received a plaque and a $1,000 award. These six individuals were interviewed and the Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educator for 2020 was selected. The winner received a special award and an additional $2,500, sponsored by Allo, a Nelnet Company. 

The 2020 Excellence in Career Education Award Recipients

The Elaine Stuhr Leadership and Advocacy Award
Kathy Gifford, Kearney Board of Education

NCE Distinguished Partner Award
Harlan Feather, Grants and Budget Specialist, Nebraska Department of Education

NCE Distinguished Business Partner Awards
Common Ground Nebraska
Nebraska Army National Guard

Outstanding CTE Administrator Award
Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, Norfolk Public Schools

Outstanding Middle School CTE Program Award
Wahoo Middle School

Outstanding Secondary CTE Program Award
Wakefield Public Schools

Outstanding Postsecondary CTE Program Award
Nebraska Colle of Technical Agriculture

Outstanding Rule 47 Career Academy Program Award
Burke High School Aviation Academy


2020 Rich Katt CTE Educator of the Year Award Winners

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Melissa Bonifas, Blue Hill Public Schools
Sponsored by the FFA Foundation

Business, Marketing and Management
Jan Osborn, Sargent Public Schools

Sponsored by the Nebraska Bankers Association

Communication and Information Systems
Tennille Allison, Kearney High School

Sponsored by The Nebraska Tech Collaborative, An Aksarben Workforce Initiative

Health Science

Robyn Jernigan, Omaha Benson High School

Sponsored by Nebraska Medicine

Human Sciences and Education

Jamie Batterman, Scottsbluff Public Schools
Sponsored by Black Hills Energy and Nebraska Career Education & Innovation Foundation

Skilled and Technical Sciences

Jesse Zweep, Louisville Public Schools

Sponsored by the Associated General Contractors-Nebraska Chapter and

Nebraska Building Chapter-Associated General Contractors

Overall 2020 Rich Katt CTE Educator of the Year Award Winner
Jesse Zweep, Louisville Public Schools
Sponsored by Allo, A Nelnet Company


More information about each award and award recipient biographies can be found at

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education