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FPS presents Friend of Education awards

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Fremont Public Schools recently started the school year with the annual Opening Session.

FPS honored the 2021 and 2022 Friends of Education. The Friend of Education award is the highest recognition of supporters of Fremont Public Schools.

District 15 Senator Lynne Walz, Education Committee Chair is the honoree for 2021 while the honorees for 2022 are Chuck and Caryl Johannsen and Brett and Heidi Richmond.

During her first two years in the Nebraska Legislature, Sen. Walz served on the Education and the Natural Resources Committee. For the 2019-20 biennium, she served as the Vice-Chair of the Education Committee and a member of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. Following her re-election to the Legislature in 2020, Walz was elected by her peers to serve as the Chairwoman of the Education Committee.

The Arlington native continues to also serve as a member of the HHS Committee. Sen. Walz will term limit out in 2024, her willingness to serve and her
leadership will be greatly missed in the Unicameral.

“We like to say ‘Senator Walz is our very own Senator.’ I make it a point of personal privilege to remind colleagues in various professional organizations across the State, when asked to introduce her,” FPS Superintendent Mark Shepard said. “I am proud to call Lynne our senator and know that at every opportunity she represents District 15 and Fremont, ensuring that our interests are heard and considered.”

The Johannsens and Richmonds were nominated and awarded this prestigious award because of their recent service to the community and school district as co-chairs of the successful $123 million bond campaign.

During the late spring and early summer of 2021, the two couples led a process that included more than 60 citizens to study the facility needs of the school district, prioritize FPS needs and establish a strategy for communicating the plan to the community.

The process engaged architects, engineers and financial consultants to complete a thorough review of the facilities, identify priorities and options for funding the much needed improvements.

The campaign titled The 3 R’s – Repair, Renovate and Renew placed an emphasis on improved learning environments, increased safety and security, and creating operational energy efficiencies.  A total of 10 projects were identified and brought forward to the community for consideration.

In September, the voters of Fremont approved the bond issue with a vote of 65% in favor of the proposal.

“The Johannsens and the Richmonds are being recognized as this year’s Friends of Education award recipients based on their willingness to serve and lead our community through this effort which resulted in a change which will impact our community for generations to come,” Fremont Board of Education President Sandi
Prokovec said. “We truly appreciate their commitment to our community and school district. They represent all that is embodied in what a Friend of Education is – they are true friends of education.”

FPS also recognized employees for their years of service to the district.

Lloyd Emmons was recognized for 50 years of service while Kathy Nelson was honored for 35 years. Denny Harmel was recognized for his 30 years of service.

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