Recently, four Concordia University, Nebraska alumni were honored with outstanding educator awards by the Nebraska District Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) for their faithful service in Lutheran education and ministry.
“We are so proud of these alumni and the way they have dedicated their time, talent and resources to change the lives of others,” said Jennifer Furr, director of alumni and university relations at Concordia. “The contributions of these individuals in their communities truly illuminate the values and mission of our great university of serving the church and world.”
The awards were given by the Nebraska District, which honors Lutheran educators each year who are nominated for their outstanding service to Lutheran churches and schools. To be eligible, candidates must be actively serving as a full-time employee of an LCMS organization.
The honored alumni include:
Tammy Brock Schroeder, ‘89 – Nebraska District Elementary Teacher of the Year Award
Tammy Brock Schroeder was selected to receive the Nebraska District Elementary Teacher of the Year award. Mrs. Schroeder teaches third and fourth grade home room at St. Paul Lutheran School in West Point, Nebraska.
In support of Schroeder's nomination, one parent said, “Tammy projects love, kindness, and confidence onto each of her students and you cannot help but notice.”
Tammy's principal also commented, “Mrs. Schroeder is an amazing teacher. She has challenged and inspired my own children in so many ways, most importantly in the development of their faith. They have grown closer to Jesus by being students in her classroom.”
Besides her exceptional teaching, Tammy volunteers at her church, sings in the church choir, helps direct music programs at the school, and a sponsor through Compassion International. She is also a valued lector and has helped with high school youth group activities, even though as one parent said “involved stepping out of her comfort zone and was well-received by the youth.”
James Hardt, ’74 – Nebraska District Middle/High School Teacher of the Year Award
James “Jim” Hardt was selected to receive the Nebraska District Middle/High School Teacher of the Year award. Mr. Hardt serves as a fifth through eighth grade science teacher and teaches fifth and sixth grade home room at St. John Lutheran School in Battle Creek, Nebraska.
Jim constantly looks for new and interactive ways to teach his students, including science experiments of hoisting each other up by pulleys or blowing things up with dry ice. Many parents describe him as selfless and caring about each and every student. This caring goes beyond the classroom as he teaches bells, helps with bus line, and improving the school where he can.
One individual who nominated James explained, “He does jobs no one else thinks to do: pulling and spraying weeds, organizing storage closets at school, building shelves to help make storage more efficient, putting up chairs and laying down tarps in the gym for school musicals and VBS.” Another added, “Jim doesn’t take on the flashy roles where his works can be seen. What makes him unique is his modestly and willingness to take on tasks that are most often ignored.”
Anthony “Tony” Splittgerber,’00 and ’11 – Nebraska District Administrator of the Year Award
Anthony Splittgerber was selected to receive the Nebraska District Administrator of the Year award. Mr. Splittgerber is the principal as well as the seventh and eighth grade teacher at Zion Lutheran School in Kearney, Nebraska.
In support of Tony’s nomination, one staff member commented, “Tony is a wonderful combination of intelligence, wisdom and diligence. He is an exceptional and godly administrator, who has steadily improved Zion's school by enhancing the culture and curriculum, faculty and facilities, and fundraising and annual enrollment. He has the remarkable ability to respectfully challenge our teachers without overwhelming them. Anyone who has the opportunity to work closely with Tony will find him hard working, competent, confident, yet positive, and self-effacing, emulating his Lord in his service of others. To serve with him is a joy.”
Martin “Marty” Hein, ‘84 – Nebraska District Parish Worker of the Year Award
Martin was selected to receive the Nebraska District Parish Worker of the Year award. He is a full-time middle and high school youth director at Messiah Lutheran in Lincoln, Nebraska.
A nominator of his said, “Marty is and always has been a very dedicated and talented church worker. He has a real passion for our middle and high school youth and he displays an energy and enthusiasm that is unmatched.” Others commented that his “non-stop” or “childlike” energy is contagious around the kids.
Another said, “He is strong in his faith and let’s that be seen on a daily basis whatever age he is around. He is a great disciple for God and one we can all learn from.”