Rochelle Settles honored with Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in formal ceremony

Every fall, Lincoln Public Schools formally honors the Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year. This year a special ceremony on Nov. 4 recognized Fredstrom Elementary School teacher Rochelle Settles.

“The Scottish Rite honor is one of our most prestigious awards in the School District – an award that recognizes an outstanding classroom teacher in Lincoln’s public schools,” said Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction. “I would like to thank the Lincoln Scottish Rite for their ongoing support of Lincoln Public Schools and our staff.”

Settles has taught in Lincoln Public Schools for 26 years, all at Fredstrom Elementary School. She started as a resource teacher, then a classroom teacher followed by being a Science specialist. Settles has also been instrumental in organizing the annual city-wide science fair for many years. 

Settles holds all of her students to the highest of academic and behavioral standards and volunteers her time to mentor students who struggle in the classroom. She has been able to develop those strong and lasting relationships that are foundational to students staying in school and graduating.  She truly takes the mission of LPS to heart in all that she does in and out of the classroom.
Here are some words from the nomination letter written by Fredstrom Elementary Principal Cheryl Richter:

“Rochelle is an outstanding candidate for this award.  She daily demonstrates an energy and enthusiasm for teaching and learning that is contagious and motivates her students and her peers. Rochelle is also a leader for science education in Lincoln Public Schools.  Students at Fredstrom and throughout Lincoln benefit from her dedication and expertise as a science educator.  She inspires students to explore and discover science, as well as helps them to think critically about why the world around them works. Rochelle is a life-long learner and has been involved in many state and national science offerings to grow her knowledge and understanding of science to directly impact student success in the classroom.”

“Rochelle has also been instrumental in growing the concept of Science Fairs, both in our Fredstrom community, as well as for the school district.  She has been the force behind getting our Fredstrom students excited about science investigations and theories, and allowing them to explore their heartfelt interests.  We have had students build and demonstrate the science behind hoverboards, find out which liquids benefit the growth of certain plants, and many other unique science experiments, all based on sparks that were ignited in Rochelle’s own science classroom.”

“As for the district science fair, it has grown under Rochelle’s leadership the past several years.  Rochelle forms a key group of educators to start the foundational work about 6 months ahead of the date the fair will be held so it is a well planned and thought out experience for students, families and the community at large.  With Rochelle’s leadership, even during a pandemic, the District Science Fair has evolved into STEAMFest, so that students would still be able to learn and grow the experiences in the area of science!  She is truly amazing in her abilities to think outside the box to continue to serve students throughout Lincoln in the area of science education!”

Settles thanked everyone for their support, especially her family, the Fredstrom staff and LPS district staff.

“I learned from my parents, you don’t stop when the sun goes down. You keep going until the job is done,” Settles told the crowd. “I just wanted you to know that my job is not done. And it will not be done, because I will continue to work hard to honor this award that has been bestowed upon me and all those people before me.”

Look at highlights from the celebration below

Published: November 7, 2022, Updated: November 9, 2022