Scottish Rite teaching award winner formally recognized

Jacque Rush, an instrumental music teacher at Scott Middle School, was formally recognized as the 55th winner of the Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year award during a ceremony at Lincoln Public Schools District Office on Nov. 22.

Rush said she was truly humbled to win the award as she stood before a boardroom filled with family, friends and colleagues, as well as representatives from the Lincoln Scottish Rite, LPS and the Lincoln Board of Education.

“To be honored with this, when I know some of the other people who have won, I just don’t even know what to say,” Rush said, moments before asking her colleagues from Scott to also stand and be recognized.

Rush has taught music for more than 40 years and at Scott since the school opened in 1996. Scott typically has more than 300 students enrolled in its instrumental music program, making it the largest in LPS. Since 1997, more than 2,300 of her students have earned individual superior ratings in solo and ensemble competitions. Rush has former students who are now music educators in Lincoln, across Nebraska and nationwide, as well as others who perform professionally.

Rush first learned she was being honored during a surprise announcement at a Scott concert last May at Lincoln Southwest High School.

On Friday, Bruce Wood from Lincoln Scottish Rite said his organization is firmly committed to its sponsorship of the annual award, which is one of the school district’s most prestigious honors and comes with a $7,500 cash prize.

“We are honored to be able to support the schools and look forward to a continued relationship with Lincoln Public Schools,” Wood said.

Eric Weber, LPS associate superintendent for human resources, thanked Scottish Rite for its ongoing support, noting, “They join us in the belief that there is no job more important to our community than teaching.

Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell also thanked Scottish Rite and spoke about the power of public education.

“This award stands as a testimony to the impact educators have on our future, our community and our country. What a powerful reminder of the rich tradition of excellence at Lincoln Public Schools,” Boswell said.

Rush’s formal recognition didn’t end on Friday. She’ll be featured along with past winners in an interactive display located outside the boardroom.

Published: November 25, 2019, Updated: December 4, 2019