Celebrate Education

What is Celebrate Education?

Celebrate Education is an annual event honoring local teachers, principals, coaches and volunteers for their continuous hard work and dedication to our community’s students. During the event, grants are awarded to exceptional educators for special programs they conduct in the classroom, on the field and after school.  Before 2005, Celebrate Education was known as the NET Awards-Nurturing Education and Teaching. From 1997 to 2004 the NET Awards granted approximately $90,890 to various school programs.

Who sponsors this event?

Local community leaders sponsor Celebrate Education each year, including the Mid-Morning Kiwanis Club of Oshkosh, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, the UWO College of Education and Human Services, and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. By partnering together, we are able to award thousands of dollars in grants to educators whose programs make a difference in the lives of our children. Thank to your community supporters who make the grants and awards possible: Oshkosh Area School District Education Foundation, Mid-Morning Kiwanis Club of Oshkosh, Edward and Belle Rudoy, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce, UW-Oshkosh, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Valley Christian School, and Lourdes Academy. 

Since Celebrate Education began in 2005, there has been a total of $558,300 (as of 2021) awarded to educators in the Oshkosh community.

2021 Grant Recipients

Spirit of Education Award (Oshkosh area School District):

  • Ken Osmond

Dr. Stanley J. Spanbauer Education and Leadership Award (Lourdes Academy):

  • Andrew Thorson

Friend of education (valley christian):

  • Bill Jartz

edward and belle Rudoy Outstanding teacher awards:

  • Karen Kriege, Carl Traeger Middle School
  • Marisa Ryan, Carl Traeger Middle School
  • Lisa Graf, Merrill Middle School
  • Rebecca Jensen, Merrill Middle School
  • William Counts, Perry Tipler Middle School
  • Jennifer Mellgren, Perry Tipler Middle School
  • Erin Pletcher, Valley Christian School
  • Michelle Haydin, Valley Christian School
  • Stacey Frank, Webster Stanley Middle School
  • Paula Averkamp, Webster Stanley Middle School

Rudoy Technology Grant:

  • Valley Christian School: To bring technology experiences to students that meet their social and emotional learning needs. The grant money will be used to purchase equipment such as a sound booth for recording, a 3D printer, a VR headset, various machines for designing and cutting, modern flexible seating and more.

Celebrate Education Grants:

  • Peggy Kehoe, Creative Play Blossoms in Kindergarten, Valley Christian
  • Matt Rieckhoff, Between a rock….and another rock, Valley Christian
  • Nikki Knitt, Dramatic Play for Pre4K, Valley Christian
  • Kris Brey, Math for All Minds, Valley Christian
  • Rebecca Thompson, Sparking Science in Second, Valley Christian
  • Brad Bowman, Trout in the Classroom, Merrill Elementary
  • Maria Cibula, World Drumming in the Music Classroom, Webster Stanley Elementary
  • Amber Clark, Better Ways to Wiggle and Wobble!, Valley Christian
  • Amy Reuter, Making Sure Kids Have the Math Tools They Need to Access Their 1,2,3’s, Jefferson Elementary
  • Nicole Jonas, “Bee” the Real Thing, Valley Christian
  • Ben Birr, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s SNOW-SHOEING I Go!, Valley Christian
  • Martha Wahl, Making Lemonade out of COVID Lemons!, Valley Christian
  • Rhonda Zellmer, Be a Friend to Make a Friend, Lourdes Elementary
  • Rebekah Lehman, Center Time in First, Valley Christian
  • Erin Marcott, CHILLAX!, Valley Christian
  • Jessica Sims, Flexible Seating for Some Very Fine Kids!, Valley Christian
  • Erin Pletcher, Clay All Day!, Valley Christian
  • Katie Getz, Take a Seat!, Valley Christian
  • Becca Jepson, Give Me Some Skin!, Valley Christian
  • Beth Freund, “Check Out” Mental Health!, Valley Christian
  • Missi Clausen, Standing Desks, Lourdes Elementary
  • Timothy Bonson, Dyslexia Intervention and Support, Oakwood Elementary
  • Katie Tennessen, First Step Next: a collaborative home and school intervention for preschool through second grade, Roosevelt Elementary
  • Korey Kleinhans, Adapted Physical Education – Blaze Pods, Oaklawn Elementary
  • Julie Reichenberger, Social Skills/Coping/Calming Skills, Webster Stanley Middle
  • Mary Ann Saiyed, Dystopian STREAM Project, Lourdes Middle
  • Jaime Thompson, Put More Books In Our Students’ Hands!, Roosevelt Elementary
  • Brooke Lepper, Black History Books in Every Classroom, Carl Traeger Elementary
  • Samantha Gostisha, Series Book Clubs, Franklin Elementary
  • Amanda Kollmann, Equitable Classroom Library, Franklin Elementary
  • Julie Runde, Learn & Grow Family Book Club, Carl Traeger Elementary
  • Tiffany McVey, I am a Book Lover – It’s My Superpower! Lets Read!, Jefferson Elementary
  • Brooke Pfaff, To See Ourselves, in our Books, Read Elementary
  • Becky Piechowski, Hydroponics in the Classroom, Lourdes Elementary
  • Kimberly Korotka, Level Up!, Valley Christian

Oshkosh Area School District Education Foundation Grants:

  • Jen Cardinal, Celebrate Young Authors at the Library, Carl Traeger Elementary
  • Amanda Zenker, Camptastic! (Summer enrichment programs), Merrill Elementary
  • Amy Sippert, Cultivating Merrill Student Genius, Merrill Elementary
  • Gale Gerharz, Equity in Reading – Guided Reading Library, Oaklawn Elementary
  • Kathleen Stephany/Claire Habeck, 3Doodler Tactile Books, South Park Middle
  • LeeAnn Morrill, This is not your “SHHH You’re in the Library!” kind of library, Oshkosh West
  • Jennifer Henselin/Gary Hammen, Building Walls to Last: A Flat Construction Project, Oshkosh North

UWO College of Education and Human Services Teacher Excellence Awards:

  • Heather Branson, Carl Traeger Elementary School
  • Tanya Schmidt, Webster Stanley Elementary


Last year’s Celebrate Education highlighted two past grant recipients – Carl Traeger Elementary and Oshkosh West. View their videos to learn about their unique programs making a positive impact on our students.



Celebrate Education Grants Press Releases