One Room, One Teacher program honors 10 rural teachers

DSC_0149Ten rural school teachers were honored during the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s One Room One Teacher Ceremony Friday at UNK’s College of Education building.

The program started in 2012 to honor teachers who taught in one-room schools. More than 0,000 has been raised to help support student scholarships. To date, there have been 52 one-room teachers honored through this program.

“The One Room, One Teacher program is designed to honor the legacy of rural schoolteachers in Nebraska,” said Sheryl Feinstein, dean of the UNK College of Education. “The one-room school teachers played a vital role in creating a firm foundation for education. Their students went on to be teachers, business owners, health care providers and community leaders who make our state and nation what it is today.”

Approximately 100 people attended the ceremony, where the first student scholarship was awarded to Elizabeth Advey, a senior education major from Gothenburg. “It’s wonderful to see our past has a lasting impact on our future,” said Feinstein.

For more information about the One Room, One Teacher program, contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 308-698-5270 or visit

2015 One Room, One Teacher Honorees

Williams Schlatz Maul Loskill
Left to Right: Mary Broman Williams, Patricia Robinson Schlatz, Ada Lynne Symmonds Maul, Berniece Hartman Loskill

Doris A. Brust Fisher always knew she wanted to teach. Fisher taught from 1959-83 at Davenport Community School District #47. During her teaching career, she coached many students to be excellent spellers, with many winners through the years at the county, district and state levels, including one who competed at the National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Anna Kamm Hergert taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Nebraska for four years. She taught in District #11 in Platte County for three years and District #22 for one year before attending York College to complete her education. Hergert graduated from York College in 1949. After that, Hergert and her husband, Frank, moved to Wheaton, Ill., where she taught for 18 more years.

Genon Veronica Micek Kerby began teaching when she was 16 years old. During Kerby’s 42-year teaching career, she taught at a number of schools across Nebraska. She began her career at Cedar View School in Polk County and taught at three different one-room schools in the same county. Kerby concluded her teaching career at Wasmer Elementary in Grand Island. She taught there for 28 years, including 13-straight years when she never missed a day.

Berniece Hartman Loskill had her first teaching job in 1940 at District #27, a school five miles north of Red Cloud. After teaching there for one year, Loskill spent the next two years teaching at District #50. In 1946, Loskill took a break from teaching to get married and began raising her two children. When her children entered grade school, she re-entered teaching in 1958, and taught grades K-2 in Ayr for the next 29 years.

Goldie Widdersheim Nielsen began teaching in District #12 in Webster County in 1923. She taught a total of six years in one-room schoolhouses in the district and went on to teach at District #42. Nielsen’s sister, Ipha Widdersheim, also taught in the same district. Nielsen took a break from teaching from 1942-58 to care for her three children. She returned to teaching in the fall of 1958 as a junior high teacher in Upland Public Schools where she taught until Upland consolidated with schools with Minden. After that, she taught two years at Holstein Public Schools before retiring.

Patricia Robinson Schlatz began teaching in a one-room school in District #42 in 1949 at age 17. She taught for three years at Pleasant View before District #42 voted to consolidate with another district and moved the school house to a central location. Schlatz later returned to Kearney State College to obtain her bachelor’s degree and went on to teach for another 30 years.

Ada Lynne Symmonds Maul spent three years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. Maul taught for one-and-a-half years at District #31 near Amherst and finished the year at Eddyville Elementary for a sick teacher. Her last year in teaching was at the Watertown School in Buffalo County in 1945. After teaching, Maul moved to California to go into defense work.

Ipha L. Widdersheim began her 41-year teaching career in the fall of 1930 in District #68, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Webster County. The following year, she taught in District #42, where her sister, Goldie, had previously taught. Widdersheim taught in rural schools in Bladen, Norman and Upland until 1953 when she began teaching in Hastings Public Schools. She taught at Spencer Park for nine years and Hawthorne elementary for 14 years.

Mary Broman Williams left Kearney State Teacher’s College in 1955 when the R-4 school board offered her a teaching position. She taught in a one-room school for two years, teaching grades K-4 before going back to school in 1957. Williams was out of teaching until 1985 when she became the administrative assistant at the Dawson County School Superintendent’s office until it closed in 2007. During that time, she was also a substitute teacher.

Esther Schake Zimmerman began teaching in rural schools after earning her teaching degree from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1937. Zimmerman returned to school several years later and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1962 from Kearney State College. She earned her master’s degree from KSC in 1968. Zimmerman finished her career teaching in Kearney Public Schools for several years.




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