Hastings teacher earns 2023 Christa McAuliffe Prize

· 3 min read

Hastings teacher earns 2023 Christa McAuliffe Prize

Color photo of Diane Biere on campus background
Diane Biere

Diane Biere, an English teacher at Hastings Middle School in Hastings, Nebraska, is the recipient of the 2023 Christa McAuliffe Prize for Courage and Excellence in Education.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Education and Human Sciences presents the annual award to a Nebraska teacher who exemplifies the character of McAuliffe, the first teacher in space, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.

Biere will be recognized July 28 during Administrators’ Days, a conference for Nebraska school administrators.

“I am very grateful to be this year’s recipient,” Biere said. “I believe our society needs to continue recognizing the efforts of our teachers. I applaud the University of Nebraska for doing just that.”

According to nominators, Biere has a quiet drive that makes her unstoppable. She is a dedicated educator committed to helping students learn and grow through self-expression. She creates a warm and inviting classroom environment that helps students feel comfortable being themselves while trying new things.

“Diane is purposeful in all that she does and has high expectations of her students but in turn gives them the tools they need to be courageous, as well,” a nominator wrote. “She inspires students to be more, to do more and to change the world one day at a time. She empowers others to be the best version of themselves.”

Biere has supported her students interested in art by setting up painting classes, introduced them to local business owners and authors, brought students to leadership conferences at the university and created a poetry club for middle and high school students who needed a new outlet to express themselves. For some students, poetry club was their only extracurricular activity.

“She seeks out learning opportunities for students that expand their current knowledge and reality and build upon their identity,” another nominator wrote.

Biere’s desire to help others doesn’t stop with students. Biere is also known as a great mentor to fellow teachers. No matter what challenges in the educational landscape, Biere is ready to adapt and seize the opportunity to help students, which has inspired her colleagues to do the same.

“There is no other teacher that I have worked with in my career who has been as consistently positive and encouraging as Diane Biere,” a nominator wrote.

Biere holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Nebraska.

To learn more about the College of Education and Human Sciences’ educator awards, click here. Nominations can be made through April 15, 2024.

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