Mr. Sapp Selected As Educator of Distinction


Thursey Cook

Art teacher, Willie Sapp instructs senior Rheyan Alwin during Pottery 1 class. Sapp won the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award on Jan. 16 2020.

Thursey Cook, Writer

On Jan. 16 2020, art teacher Willie Sapp was selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by The National Society of High School Scholars.

Sapp was nominated by former student, senior Jerzee Imhof, for outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the profession.

“This past summer, I went on a trip with Mr. Sapp and he helped me a lot with life advice and on the trip I just learned how good of a person he was,” Imhof said. “He’s just always been open to helping students in every aspect of their lives.”

Every year, NSHSS members nominate an educator who they feel has the biggest impact on their education for the award. Nominations are accepted year round. Since the program began in 2007, almost 50,000 teachers have been recognized worldwide.

“This award was important because it was one that was submitted by a student because they felt that I had made an important contribution to their education and their life,” Sapp said. “For that reason, it meant a great deal to me.”

Sapp has been working as an art teacher for 45 years and has spent 35 of those years employed by Lincoln Public Schools.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that Mr. Sapp does. I tell people all the time when we give tours that we have the best pottery teacher you could have in the country,” Principal Mike Gillotti said. “It speaks volumes about how our students view the education that they receive here when it is so impactful that they are willing to nominate a former teacher for an award.”

Educators of Distinction are invited to attend the society’s member events around the country and are recognized with a personalized certificate presented by NSHSS Founder and Chairman, Claes Nobel. Educators of Distinction are also eligible to compete for the NSHSS Educator of the Year award.