2019 Secondary 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 Secondary Educators of the Year.

Rural Educator of the Year—Secondary: Karen Schmeichel, St. Mary High School (O’Neill, Nebraska)

Karen “Becky” Schmeichel, secondary English teacher at St. Mary High School, has a real gift for keeping her students engaged. She is described as energetic, animated and theatrical, someone who can captivate her students whether she is showing them how to cite sources of discussing Greek gods.

Becky has never been afraid to share her faith with students. She can be heard singing at school Masses, and for more than four years, has organized the National Day of Prayer for students at St. Mary’s. She is considered one of the “tough” teachers at St. Mary and holds students accountable to 100% of their effort. In return, she gives back 100% and is readily available for students. Becky is further described as tireless, prayerful and someone who “radiates joy,” teaching with energy and enthusiasm.

Metro Educator of the Year—Secondary: Marsha Kalkowski, Marian High School (Omaha, Nebraska)

Marsha Kalkowski—or “Mrs.K” as she is known to her students—has built the journalism at Marian High School in Omaha into an award-winning program, winning national, regional and state recognition year after year for the excellence in writing, photography and creativity demonstrated in the Marian yearbook and its monthly “Network” newspaper.

She has spent her entire 25-year teaching career at Marian and currently teachers Journalism I and II as well as freshmen Honors English. Each class begins with a prayer and girls offer petitions.

For years, she has also led the Decade Darlings, a group of students who meet daily in the chapel after school to say a decade of the rosary together, share in reflection and offer prayer to those in need.

Beyond Marian, Marsha has taught newspaper, yearbook, broadcasting and photography sessions at workshops and convention sessions around the country, advocating responsible journalism and empowering the next generation.


 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.