2019 Elementary Educators of the Year – Archdiocese of Omaha

Each year, the Archbishop’s Dinner for Education honors eight outstanding educators for their contributions to Catholic education.  The 2019 Dinner for Education will be held September 12 at Embassy Suites in La Vista.  Leading up to the event, we’ll highlight this year’s honorees on the blog. Read on to learn about our Elementary Educators of the Year.

Metro Educator of the Year – Elementary: Cindy Menzel, St. Mary’s School (Bellevue, Nebraska)

Fifth-grade teacher Cindy Menzel just completed her twelfth year at St. Mary Catholic School in Bellevue, and she has had an impact on nearly every aspect of the school and parish. “She works daily to live her faith and bring her students in closer relationship with Jesus. She does this out of love of the Lord and in service to others,” said principal Patricia Wallinger.

Cindy has been instrumental in the school improvement process helping to increase the use of technology as well as the AdvancEd accreditation process. Her knowledge of students, curriculum and data collection have led to a stronger math curriculum.

“I am hopeful that my efforts in guiding students to find their own gifts, and to see the gifts in others, will have a lasting impact,” said Cindy. “Perhaps most of all, I pray that my love of Christ and willingness to encourage students to recognize His great love for each of us will remain with them longer after they have passed through my doors.”

Rural Educator of the Year –Elementary: Nancy Hochstein, Holy Trinity School (Hartington, Nebraska)

For more than 37 years, Nancy has created a culture of encountering Jesus and equipping disciples as a fifth grade teacher at Holy Trinity in Hartington.

Her students learn to live out their faith by serving meals at the senior center twice a month. Nancy said it has taught them the importance of respect for people of all ages and the importance of service to their community. Students also create hand-drawn placemats for residents and sing to them for special occasions throughout the year. In addition, students visit a different Hartington business every month teaching them how to apply the skills they learn in school and how to become successful.

As a Hartington native herself, Nancy attended Holy Trinity Elementary and Cedar Catholic High School.

“I hope that I have impacted my students by helping them grow in their faith to become stronger Christians and by setting high expectations in my classroom to help them be successful in their future endeavors,” said Nancy.


 We invite you to join us as we celebrate both of these tremendous leaders in Catholic education within the Archdiocese of Omaha. Tickets for the Archbishop’s Dinner for Education on September 12 can be purchased online.