Foster, Heuertz Named Schrager Distinguished Teachers
Posted May 24, 2019
The Phillip and Terri Schrager Foundation graciously presents the Schrager Distinguished Teaching Awards and $12,500 to two Westside Community Schools educators, Tyler Foster and Winter Heuertz. Congratulations to these incredible teachers who, through exemplary teaching and devoted service, have positively influenced the lives of countless young people.
TYLER FOSTER, WESTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL
- Tyler Foster, a respected and much-loved Engineering and Technology Teacher at Westside High School, is a dedicated educator known for ensuring all students excel, no matter their background or challenges. In his 11 years with Westside, Tyler has developed into an elite classroom teacher, team leader, colleague and overall educator. He has developed and implemented several new courses at Westside High School, including introductory curriculum exposing students to all major areas of engineering, design and essential board drafting. His creativity has fueled his commitment to excellence outside the classroom as well, as he actively engages his students in real-world scenarios. For example, Tyler coordinating the planning and construction of Champions Plaza at Westside High School, providing students a hands-on experience in a large district project. He is also the sponsor for the Student Mentoring Program at Westside High School, offering students opportunities to solve problems existing in our school or community while working with industry mentors. Since Tyler took over the program in 2012, membership has doubled, the team has earned Gold and Silver Level recognition from the Omaha Post of Society of American Military Engineers, and Westside High School’s Engineering & Technology Department has been honored with the High School Excellence Program Award from the Nebraska Association of Skilled and Technical Sciences Educators. While contributing to the work that led to the NASTSE Award, Tyler simultaneously obtained his Masters of Science degree with an endorsement in STEM, and has taken part in numerous state organizations, certifications, and professional learning opportunities, confirming his commitment to being a premier educator.
- Tyler has already built the beginning of a teaching legacy based in extreme respect for and care of all students and staff he encounters. He has the ability to motivate and encourage students to work above their level, leading through the ethical and positive example he displays daily. Tyler truly enjoys being an educator, and dedicates time for his students in one-on-one settings in the classroom, and outside of the classroom through his clubs and STEM programming. He also works to recognize and support his coworkers, nominating several for Teacher of the Month honors, serving on Westside’s Personalized Learning Community and as an evaluator. Those collaborations with colleagues keep curriculum relevant and competitive throughout the district, the state, and beyond.
- Tyler is kind, caring, personable and diligent; he treats everyone with respect, and in return, students and staff alike respect him as a person and educator. Tyler Foster’s professional resume of success and achievements, as well as the immeasurable impact he has had on fellow educators and countless students, proves him worthy of the 2019 Schrager Distinguished Teacher Award.
WINTER HEUERTZ, WESTBROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
- Winter Heuertz, a longtime educator who has dedicated her career to Westside’s youngest learners, is also a leader and collaborator constantly pushing herself and fellow educators to improve. Winter has been a champion for personalized learning, the mission and vision of Westside Community Schools’ promise to every child in our schools. She conferences with each 4th grade student in her classroom, develops an action plan for them, and then follows up with them after the assessment. Results of this work are clear through research and data; Winter’s students consistently score the highest in the school at the end of the term, and show the most growth. Winter is now teaching that same model to all other Westbrook staff members, leading Westbrook’s Reading Design Team, coaching teachers in classroom management, and helping her colleagues develop a new system for teaching communication in mathematics through math talks. This is all in addition to Winter’s continuous efforts to make education, and our world, a better place. She is part of several professional learning organizations in Nebraska, she is a small business owner, and a community servant with efforts extending to Ethiopia, Guatemala, India and Nepal.
- In spite of non-stop professional and philanthropic commitments, Winter’s dedication to her students and Westbrook Elementary is arguably one of the biggest reasons for a complete turnaround of perception and attitude at the Westside elementary school. A de facto leader through both her actions and her kindness, staff members seek her out for input and support, and administrators describe her as one of the best teachers they have worked with throughout their careers. A model of kindness and devotion to children, we are proud to call Winter Heuertz a Schrager Distinguished Teacher for 2019.