Published On: Thu, May 2nd, 2013

Coleridge grad honored for teaching excellence

COLERIDGE — Janis (Nordby) Elliott, a 1978 Coleridge High School graduate, has been named as the 2013 Teaching Excellence Award winner by the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA).

Elliott will also be the Nebraska nominee for the National Teaching Award.

Elliot has been teaching Physics at Bellevue Public Schools since 1994.

Elliot, who is an outstanding and amazing teacher, not only teaches physics to the students, she has the students experience it.

“I love the students and the classroom,” Elliott said.

She never discourages a student from attempting the challenges of her classes. Instead she has introduced many learning disabled students to the joy and excitement of physics.

The principal at Bellevue said Elliot “finds ways to help all of her students master high levels of math and theoretical science required to master the physics curriculum.”

During her years at the Bellevue School Elliot was chosen as the Air Force Educator of the Year and the Bellevue Rotary Teacher of the Year.

The Champions for Children Award, Crystal Apple Award, PTSA Lifetime Achievement Award and the AFCEA Technology Toolkit Award are among the numerous honors she has received while teaching physics at Bellevue.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman appointed Elliott to serve on the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System Board (NPERS) which administers the retirement plans for school employees, county and state employees, judges and the NE State Patrol.

Elliott has also had an impact on students at Ponca, Underwood, Iowa, and Omaha, where she taught before joining the staff at Bellevue Public School.

Elliott was involved with the Women in Science Education (WISE) program, which was used to instruct rural high school girls in physical sciences and funded by a National Science Foundation Grant.

Elliott remembers Carey (Wemhoff) Thoene, a student at the Coleridge School who was impacted by WISE at the time.

“About 50 girls, educators and professors spent the summer together in hopes of enhancing the science skills of under-represented women in science,” Elliott said. “Each of the young girls received a computer and a yearlong mentoring by the educators and professors.”

Elliott earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry/Biology at Wayne State College and holds a Master of Science in Science Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

As a young girl Elliott already knew she would further her education after high school.

“There was no question in our household — my Mom and Dad always wanted us to go to college,” Elliott said. “They both read a lot and they were great promoters of education.”

Elliot, who is the daughter of Velma Nordby and the late Darrell Nordby, grew up in the Coleridge community and believes the community and the school contributed to her love for education.

Pick up this week’s issue of the Coleridge Blade to read more!