OPS elementary teacher receives Presidential Award for Excellence | Education

The Omaha public school teacher received one of the highest awards available to teachers of math and science across the country.

Bancroft Elementary School teacher Leah Litz recently received a presidential award from the White House for outstanding achievements in teaching math and science.


The recognition is the highest award a math and science teacher up to 12 can receive from the U.S. government, a press release said. The award recognizes teachers for their commitment to STEM education.

Litz is a kindergarten teacher at the zoo, a position that is part of a program created as part of a partnership between OPS and the Henry Durley Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha. Her contributions to the program include helping expand access for students and increase enrollment.

The Kindergarten Zoo is recognized nationally as an innovative educational program, said Elizabeth Malkerin, the zoo’s vice president of education. Litz is the third winner of the Presidential Award, recognized by the Zoo’s Department of Education since 2010.

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“It is a great privilege for us to work in partnership between Omaha Public Schools and Omaha Zoo,” Litz said in a release. “This achievement would have been impossible without their support and the support of my family.”

Nominees for the award have completed the application process to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to improving STEM education. The selection process involves a board of state and national mathematicians, scientists and teachers.

Each recipient receives $ 10,000 from the National Science Foundation, which manages awards on behalf of the White House.

Litz said she enjoys connecting students with the world around her as she helps students develop a strong academic foundation.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized among this prestigious group of educators,” Litz said. “I am proud of the work our community is doing in science education and continue to be inspired by the courage, curiosity, perseverance and empathy of my students for the environment and humanity.”


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