Aaberg wins 2015 Nebraska Teacher of the Year

Shelby Aaberg
Shelby Aaberg

Shelby Aaberg, a mathematics teacher at Scottsbluff High School and a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, was named Nebraska 2015 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 10 during a surprise award presentation. Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt presented the award.

Aaberg was one of four finalists for Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The following teachers were finalists and will be recognized as Awards of Excellence winners:

Jim Fielder, a science teacher at Hastings Senior High School in Hastings

Christopher Maly, an English teacher at Lincoln High School in Lincoln

Sarah Schau, a business teacher at Westside High School in Omaha

Aaberg said, “I want my energy and passion for mathematics to shine through my instruction and infect my students. I teach my students that sound logic, effective strategies and consistent effort are the primary determinants of success in my classroom.

"I teach my students how to think, not just to comply. No idea any student offers is ever wrong, some ideas are just easier to disprove or refute,” he said in his application.

"I invest my time, energy and content expertise to equip my students to realize their potential. I enjoy teaching most when I help my students overcome fear of failure and when my students learn to work past frustration,” he wrote.

Scottsbluff Public Schools Superintendent Richard Myles said leadership is one of Aaberg’s most important talents.

"His dedicated passion for students combined with his deep understanding of great teaching provides an exemplar for all teachers in our district,” Myles wrote in his recommendation of Aaberg. “His expectations of excellence ― of himself and of his students ― are such that he empowers others to develop a greater belief in themselves ....”

Aaberg is a 10-year veteran teacher who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s Degree in mathematics education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009 as well as endorsements in Assessment Leadership and English as a Second Language. He is currently working on his doctorate in education at UNL.

Aaberg started the Scottsbluff High School’s Math Club and has been the sprint coach since 2006. He is active in professional organizations, including the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics, the Nebraska Council on Teacher Education, the Scottsbluff Education Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

A panel of Nebraska educators selected Aaberg as the 2015 Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes the contributions of classroom teachers who are exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled and teachers who have the ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

Aaberg and the Awards of Excellence winners will be honored by the State Board of Education at a November luncheon. Aaberg will participate in the national Teacher of the Year competition later this year.