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Future Educators Converge on Midland University for 2024 Nebraska Educators Rising State Leadership Conference


More than 350 future educators made their way to Midland University March 5 for the Nebraska Educators Rising 2024 State Leadership Conference.

“Midland University was extremely excited to host this event,” said Mary Ritzdorf, Dean for the Walker School of Education. “This gave us the opportunity to support our students across Nebraska and help support the Educator shortage across our state. It was a wonderful experience for all of us to collaborate and make this the best Nebraska State Conference ever. It also gave us an opportunity to share the college experience with students from across the state who have not been on a college campus.”

Various competitions, networking opportunities, and breakout sessions were held throughout the day, with an award ceremony in the Wikert Event Center concluding the event. Students and their teacher leaders also participated in a College and Career Opportunity Fair in Hopkins Arena, where they connected with Midland and other colleges and vendors about future opportunities.

Participants also took part in a community service project where they wrote greeting cards to residents at a nursing home in Fremont. Scott Phillips, the 2024 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, served as the keynote speaker.

Midland University’s Walker School of Education is an integral part of the education community in Nebraska and is working to help fill gaps in the education field. “Hosting this conference was a way for Midland to support our Nebraska Department of Education, the high schools, and all of the educator prep programs across the state,” Ritzdorf said. “This is one of the first steps high school students have on the pathway to becoming an educator. The conference was an opportunity to help support teacher recruitment and funnel a diverse group of future educators into our state. 

Ritzdorf believes this conference is an important step for students who aspire to be part of the next generation of educators. “During this event, students are able to embrace the teaching profession and experience being with like-minded students who have a passion for the teaching profession and want to be recognized as student leaders and advocates,” she said. “They participate in performance-based competitions which demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and how they can aspire to become leaders in education.” These events also allow students to participate in competitions at the National level. 

Midland University is grateful for the opportunity to work with Nebraska Educators Rising and encourage students on their journey to becoming educators. “This event helps connect students with professional skill sets and dispositions that they will need to be effective educators,” Ritzdorf said. “This is also an opportunity for Midland to help students understand the communities they are coming from and how this will support teacher recruitment through this organization. We would love to be a part of this event again in the future.”

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