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The North Bend Eagle


Erin and Bob Feurer
Bob Feurer laughs while his daughter Erin, a 1998 NBC grad now a teacher herself, tells stories of growing up with the 2011 Teacher of the Year.

Feurer named top teacher in the state

by Nathan Arneal
Published 10/20/10

Bob Feurer was a little suspicious when he heard NBC superintendent Dan Endorf was calling an all-school assembly to discuss bus evacuation drills scheduled for the next day.

You see, it reminded him of a few days earlier, when Endorf called Feurer to the office to supposedly discuss a possible frisbee golf course on NBC grounds. Instead, Feurer was informed that he was a finalist for Nebraska Teacher of the Year.

It didn’t take long for Feurer to figure out last Tuesday’s assembly wasn’t about bus evacuation drills.

In front of the Feurer’s students, co-workers and family, Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner Roger Breed named the long-time science teacher the 2011 Nebraska Teacher of the Year.

“This year’s teacher of the year is an amazing educator with true passion for science and his students here at North Bend Central,” Breed said. “He will now be an inspiration and model for all Nebraska teachers during his reign as the 2011 Nebraska Teacher of the Year.”

Lesson Plans

The duties and privileges of being the Nebraska Teacher of the Year will make the upcoming year a busy and exciting one for Feurer. The itinerary includes:

• Being Nebraska’s nomination for National Teacher of the Year.
• Attending a training conference in Dallas with other state teachers of the year in January.
• Going to Washington, D.C., in May to meet President Barack Obama.
• Attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, in July.
• Going on a trip next fall that will include a special meeting of talented teachers at Princeton University then a workshop in New York City to conceive and produce a video entitled “Why I Teach.”

Feurer accepted the honor and small apple-shaped trophy that accompanies it after Endorf led the student body in a “Teacher of the Year” chant.

One of the first things Feurer did during an emotional acceptance speech was have all the other NBC teachers stand to be recognized. Following the ceremony, Feurer said he sees the award recognizing not only him, but the entire North Bend faculty.

“I think it’s a validation for our system,” he said. “You know, we’re not an ordinary school. I keep trying to tell people that. This is just a way to hang our light out there and have people start to look at our system and the things we are doing and have been doing through the years. I think our culture here is good, and I think we’re a great school.”

Feurer, who has been teaching at NBC since the fall of 1979, currently teaches seventh grade science, global science, Biology II, and anatomy and physiology. He also coaches the throws as an assistant track and field coach, and has coached wrestling and football in the past. He is also the curator of the Franklin-Cotterell Greens arboretum on the grounds of NBC.

Feurer’s work on the 22-acre arboretum, which features walking trails, a water garden, an outdoor classroom and thousands of plants and trees, was one of the first things that impressed Endorf when he took over as superintendant this summer.

“Back in July he was up here working on the arboretum every day in the heat with the bugs and sweat dripping off that bald head of his,” Endorf said. “I didn’t know for sure what this guy was doing and why he was doing it, but now I truly understand. It’s because of his passion, not just for teaching, but for the school district and every kid that goes here.”

Feurer is a third generation teacher, following the footsteps of his grandmother Mary Brewer and mother Virginia Feurer, even if he wasn’t a willing follower at first.

“I didn’t want to be a teacher because everyone said I was going to be,” Feurer said. “I tried to avoid the label.”

By the time he was a junior in college, he finally gave in and switched his major to teaching.

Now, his daughter has followed in his footsteps to become the fourth generation. Erin Feurer, a 1998 NBC graduate, is now an instructional coach in Wichita after teaching middle school math there for seven years. She got the day off to attend her dad’s ceremony in North Bend and spoke in front of the assembly.

Unlike her dad, Erin Feurer always knew she would be a teacher, even playing school with the family cats when she was little. She said the Teacher of the Year award is a great validation for all the time and effort her dad puts into his teaching.

“He always questions whether he still wants to be teaching and what would he do if he wasn’t teaching,” Erin Feurer said. “Even though he’s been around forever and in the same classroom, I think it’s a good affirmation that what he’s doing really does make an impact.”

Erin said her father would make a great example for the teachers she works with as an instructional coach.

“He really makes you think about things and process things,” she said. “When you leave, even if you don’t use all the (knowledge of the) different parts of the cell, you still have gone through the process of learning something new, and that is invaluable, to know how to think for yourself.”

NBC principal Brenda Petersen said Feurer’s hands-on style of teaching serves both his junior high and advanced-level science students well.

“If he wants you to know something, he’s going to show you,” Petersen said. “He’s going to grab the skeleton, he’s going to grab the rock and show you how it works.”

Feurer said his favorite part of the day was seeing his family at the ceremony, including his wife Julie, Erin and son Cade and his mother Virginia.

“There’s an investment that you make (in teaching) at the expense of family,” Feurer said, “so it’s great that they get to share in this too.”

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