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Beatrice High School teacher named outstanding educator

November 13, 2018
Dr. Joan Christen (center) receives the 2018 Clabaugh Outstanding Educator Award in a surprise ceremony on Monday morning. Also pictured are award sponsors Rick and Linda Clabaugh.

Beatrice High School science teacher Dr. Joan Christen was awarded the Clabaugh Outstanding Educator Award Monday morning during a surprise ceremony at the school.

Doris Martin, executive director of the Beatrice Educational Foundation and member of the Board of Education, presented the award to Christen.

“Today is the first day of American Education Week,” Martin said. “This year’s theme is ‘Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.’ The Foundation believes in public education as a basic right and takes its responsibility to support public schools seriously.”

The award is sponsored by local business owners Rick and Linda Clabaugh.

“We know how important teachers are to students and Linda and I wanted to do something to recognize an outstanding teacher,” Rick Clabaugh said.

Students are able to nominate teachers they find deserving of recognition.

″(Dr. Christen) is able to explain complicated things in a simple manner,” one student wrote. “She is extremely patient with every student and she genuinely wants the best for everyone.”

Another nominator said Christen had a lasting impact.

“I am speaking from a personal experience, but she changed my life,” a former student wrote. “This isn’t being dramatic either, but she shaped how my life has unfolded a few years after graduation. I wasn’t planning on attending college before taking her physics course. She was very supportive and showed us that anyone could become a scientist. I wasn’t even thinking about attending college. She pushed students to grow and doesn’t allow any student to think they aren’t capable of success.”

Dr. Joan Christen received a trophy and $1,000.

“Teaching has been my passion,” she said. “Most of you know that I didn’t go to college until I was 38. I hope that shows you that it is never too late to find your passion,” said Christen. “I do it for the students because I know what it means to them.”

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