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GIPS Foundation Names Teacher of the Year Winners

GIPS Teacher of the Year award winners standing with their awards alongside First National Bank presenting sponsors

August 29, 2023

Six Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) educators were honored earlier this month at the annual All Staff Welcome Back celebration! 

During the Welcome Back ceremony, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation presented the Teacher of the Year awards.  The awards are presented annually to educators across the district saluting their positive impact in the classroom and beyond.  Six categories are honored each year:

  • Elementary School Teacher of the Year
  • Middle School Teacher of the Year
  • High School Teacher of the Year
  • Specialist of the Year
  • Staff Member of the Year
  • Administrator of the Year

In the spring of 2023, the GIPS Foundation asked for nominations from parents, students, and colleagues. The GIPS Foundation received a record breaking 1442 nomination forms for 396 staff members.

The Foundation receives all nominations and a volunteer committee composed of retired teachers and Board members, is convened to review all nominations. The committee is honored to read all nominations and is tasked with coming to a final selection. The GIPS Foundation also provides each nominee with copies of their nominations. A wonderful way for nominees to read about how they have touched the lives of students, staff, and administration throughout the year.


Nominees must be current teachers, principals, administrators, specialists, counselors, or support staff members (secretaries, custodians, para-educators, food service, etc.) in the Grand Island Public Schools. Each teacher and staff honoree receives a plaque and a $500 cash award. Administrators receive a plaque and $1,000 of extra budget authority for their building/administrative area.  All recipients also receive two tickets to the Harvest gala to attend as the Foundation’s honored guests. The Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by First National Bank of Omaha, which has partnered with GIPS Foundation for 19 years to date.

The following honorees were named teacher, staff member or administrator of the year winners by the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation:



  • Amy Anderson, 4th Grade, Howard Elementary School

Amy Anderson smiling and standing with her Elementary Teacher of the Year plaque


  • Marla Rischling, Orchestra Teacher, Walnut/Barr/Westridge Middle Schools

Marla standing and smiling with her Middle School Teacher of the Year plaque


  • Jessica Whitmire, Business Teacher, Grand Island Senior High

Jessica Whitmire smiling and standing with her High School Teacher of the Year plaque


  • Kristin Schultz, Lincoln Elementary School, Specialist Counselor

Kristin Schultz smiling with her Specialist of the Year plaque



  • Angel Rojas-Acevedo, West Lawn Elementary School, Bilingual Para Educator

Angel Rojas Acevedo standing with his Staff Member of the Year plaque



  • Caitlin Jensen, Engleman Elementary School, Assistant Principal

Caitlin Jensen standing with her Administrator of the Year plaque


Congratulations to the six "Teacher of the Year" honorees and to all of the district educators who were nominated!