Congratulations Joan Lahm, 2021 Rural Secondary Educator of the Year

Educator of the Year—Secondary 

Joan Lahm, Scotus Central Catholic, Columbus 

A product of Catholic education herself, Joan has now been a teacher for 34 years, the last 26 of them at Scotus Central Catholic in Columbus, Nebraska.

Joan is a faith-filled example, treating each student with dignity and respect. She always finds the time to do more if it means helping her students, community and her parish, St. Bonaventure, succeed.

“Mrs. Lahm has been a positive influence on my high school journey by serving as a role model in faith, dedication and service to others,” said Scotus Central Catholic senior Madelyn Blaser.  

School president and principal Jeff Ohnoutka sings Joan’s praises, mentioning that her mastery level understanding of science concepts ensures that students are well prepared for high school and college-level science.

In addition the her teaching duties, there are many ways she impacts the Scotus CC experience:

  • Club advisor for activities like junior high volleyball, Student Council, Teens for Life, Quiz Bowl and HOSA
  • Prayer group and student faith formation leader
  • Learning Climate committee chair
  • Member of the archdiocesan curricular team for theology and science
  • Mission trip chaperone
  • Trained bus driver willing to chauffeur students to class outings and activities

Prior to her years in Columbus, Joan taught at Archbishop Bergan in Fremont. She earned a bachelor’s in education with a coaching endorsement from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and has completed additional coursework.  

She and her husband Merlin have three children: Derek (Makenzie), Grant and Jessica as well as one grandchild, Tahsan. Her interests and hobbies include tennis, reading, hiking, biking, camping, and especially travel. 

Hear from Joan herself in this short video clip:


Joan Lahm is part of a larger group of eight educators the Archdiocese of Omaha honors each year. The annual event helps us recognize and reward the impact of our local educators, celebrate Catholic education and raise important scholarship dollars for tuition assistance that helps make tuition accessible and affordable for many more families across our community.

Please join us in person or for the Virtual Experience for this year’s Archbishop’s Dinner for Education on September 23