A recipient of the College of Education’s (COE) 2016 Distinguished Promising Professional Award continues to advocate for vulnerable students and public education despite growing popularity of the school privatization movement.
Omaha native Ryan Kaiser, a graduate of COE’s Teacher Preparation program and an 18-year veteran educator, teaches sixth and eighth grades for Baltimore City Public Schools. Last year, he was named Maryland’s Teacher of the Year.
Kaiser, along with 40 other Teachers of the Year, are using their platform to publicize a new grassroots movement, Protect Public Ed (PPE). PPE’s mission is to promote positive discussion about America’s public schools and to encourage action from supporters.
In a recent Omaha World Herald story, Erin Grace writes, “[PPE’s] aim is two-fold: Tell students that they are all welcome in public school classrooms. And tell the broader audience of parents, lawmakers and taxpayers that the investment in public schools is important and worth it.
“[The website] includes a one-minute video slideshow of the teachers, with a voiceover that says they will support all students: ‘Our Spanish-speaking, hijab-wearing, transgender-living, gay, straight, black, brown, white, tan, rural, inner-city, suburban and everyone in between. You are all our kids. No matter what. The classroom is your home, and you deserve only the best from it.’”
A halftime event held during the College Football National Championship game in Tampa, Florida on Jan. 10 honored all of the 2016 state Teachers of the Year. Joining Kaiser at the halftime event was UNO alumnus and Nebraska Teacher of the Year, Tim Royers.