Patsy’s Supporters

From former students to award-winning educators, Patsy has the support of many. Join us in supporting Patsy Koch Johns.

Patsy Koch Johns is the right person at the right time to become a member of the Nebraska State Board of Education. She has served in education for over 40 years. She has been recognized as a teacher/leader of excellence.  Her service to education is undeniable.  It is without hesitation that I endorse Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State Board of Education.

Patty Pansing Brooks

Nebraska State Senator, Lincoln, NE

When Patsy Koch Johns joins the Nebraska State Board of Education, she will bring expertise gleaned from her years as a classroom teacher. Patsy has worked in public schools of Nebraska and Georgia. She has touched the lives of many students, as a teacher and as a leader of teachers. Coupled with her skills, Patsy will bring compassion and understanding for the students who come to the public schools and for the teachers, administrators and others who work in those schools. I appeal to you to lend your support and to cast your vote for Patsy Koch Johns, candidate for the Nebraska State Board of Education.

Duane Obermier

Nebraska Teacher of the Year, 1990, Nebraska State Education Association President, 1998-2005

I’ve known Patsy Koch-Johns for many years. I first met her when she judged my students at State One-Act competition in 1992. Although we came in last, I’ll never forget her diplomatic, instructive and encouraging words to us. The very next year Lincoln Christian won the State One-Act Championship! And part of the reason was in that short oral critique, we learned so much. Over the years, I’ve heard Patsy speak at State Speech Convention, judged speech contests alongside her, coached the Lincoln Southwest speech team with her, and had the privilege of coaching her as a TEDxLincoln speaker. She has become a friend as well as a colleague. Almost every time I’m with her, a former student will greet her with affection and say something like, “You were my favorite teacher. You have had a continuing impact on my life.”  I personally know of no one else as committed to the education of all students as Patsy Koch-Johns. Although retired, she has continued to keep abreast of issues regarding education and to be involved with projects that elevate understanding. A recent example is “Poverty, Not a Choice,” a documentary she directed. Patsy is an award winning educator whose passion for equation and qualifications for State Board of Education is unequaled. I give my full support to her as a candidate and would even if she were not also my friend.
Jan Bretz

Patsy for Kids Committee Member Assistant Speech Coach, Lincoln Southwest High School, TEDxLincoln Speech Coach

As President of the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association, I am extremely proud to endorse Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State School Board. On the behalf of our organization, I pledge our support for a candidate who fiercely cares about our kids. She is passionate about her life’s work, about the future of education, about giving fellow educators a voice, and most importantly, she is passionate about kids! She is highly respected across the entire state as a coach, director, teacher, and advocate for kids.I have known Patsy for over two decades and can personally attest to her work ethic. When it comes to doing what is best for the students in any of the schools in the Nebraska school system, Patsy simply doesn’t accept any excuses. She will work tirelessly to ensure that every student matters! Anyone who works side by side with Patsy is quickly infected by her captivating spirit and fiery energy! She’s a true go-getter who will fight for what is best for all of our sons and daughters, as well as for the future of our grandchildren. Patsy Koch Johns will be an invigorating presence on the state school board and will most certainly impact the quality of education statewide. A vote for Patsy is most certainly a vote for kids!
Peggy Belt

Nebraska Educator and Coach and President of the NSCTA

I endorse Patsy Koch Johns as the most qualified candidate for the Nebraska State Board of Education not only based on her experience, but because of her caring heart.  I have witnessed firsthand her dedication to students, staff, and the Nebraska state education system. As a classroom teacher, I saw her passion for the craft infect every student and teacher at her school. Then, upon retiring, she has devoted her life to working with individual students, teachers, and school organizations to promote education and lifelong learning.  It is through her encouragement that I personally gained confidence in the classroom and the courage to take my own leap into education leadership roles in the state.  Patsy saw in my more than I saw in myself.  If you vote for her, she help the Nebraska State Board of Education grow to a potential greater than ever expected.

Becky Stahr

Nebraska High School Educator and Coach

I’ve known Patsy since I joined the Teacher of the Year family in 2011.  I know both her head and her heart are in serving  the students of Nebraska.  I wholeheartedly endorse her for the Nebraska State Board of Education seat she is pursuing.

Bob Feurer

Nebraska Teacher of the Year, 2011

Patsy Koch Johns is an outstanding candidate for Nebraska’s State Board of Education. She is a lifelong educator and child advocate.  She has the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to move education forward in Nebraska. Patsy Koch Johns is the right person for the position.
Art Tanderup

Retired educator and farmer

What did Patsy teach me?  Let me count the ways….


She taught me the basics; how to writehow to converseand how to always make lists of three.

She taught me that grammar should be adhered toand the power that comes from using it correctly.

She taught me how to command an audienceand get my message across.


I am a communicator because I had Patsy Koch Johns as a teacher.


She taught me about Shakespeareand how to appreciate his works.

She taught me to read ferociously – from Dickens and Orwell and the Bronte Sisters, to now John Irving, and Tina Fey, and Anne Lamott.

She taught me to research, and study, and love to learn.


I am educated because I had Patsy Koch Johns as a teacher.


She taught me to see the world in a spectrumnot black and white.

She taught me to be humane to my fellow woman and man.

She taught me that kindness across the board is the most valuable form of currency.


I am a gratefully tolerant because I had Patsy Koch Johns as a teacher.


She taught me that sometimes you have to do your monologue on a table in the cafeteria in front of the whole school (regardless of how nervous you are).

She taught me that comedy can be big and brashbut it can also be as delicate as two pigtails and a well-timed expression.

She taught me that regardless of the outcomethe thirty seconds you spend holding hands with your team before the announcement, is more significant in the long run than the award you win.


I am a careful but passionate artist because I had Patsy Koch Johns as a teacher.


She taught me I could carve my own pathdespite the obstacles in front of me.

She taught, nay, convinced methat I have a raw talent that I should be proud of.

She taught me that laughter is a delicious reward, and that I have the ability to constantly attain it.

I am confident because I had Patsy Koch Johns as a teacher.


Beyond my immediate family, there is no doubt that Patsy Koch Johns has had the most impact in shaping the person I am.  She enlightened me, she encouraged meand more than anything she had unconditional faith in me.  I was lucky to have her has a teacher and a mentor. Vote for Patricia Koch Johns for the State Board of Education to guarantee that youth across Nebraska get the same privilege.

Ellen Myer


Patsy Koch Johns is the ideal person to join the Nebraska State Board of Education. Her honors and accolades alone reflect her tireless commitment to education but it is more than that which makes Patsy the perfect candidate. It is her personal drive to see each student excel that makes her unique. Patsy supports a well-rounded educational philosophy, not just the basics. Students under her tutelage are encouraged to acquire all of the tools for greatness: math, science, English, history, civic duty, sports, arts, philanthropy, and business, just to name a few. As one of her former students I can personally attest to her fitness as a leader in education. Patsy encouraged me to dream big dreams, be a good leader as well as a good follower, and become the best me I could possibly be.

Nebraska needs people like Patsy guiding the path of youth and future leaders. Nebraska needs people like Patsy looking out for their schools. Nebraska needs people like Patsy with compassion and a level head for tackling the tough issues. Nebraska needs people like Patsy playing on their team.

Today, I am an award-winning author and entrepreneur because my favorite teacher (the best teacher I have ever witnessed in my life) showed me that everyone is special and everyone has the capacity to achieve greatness and that is why I endorse Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State Board of Education!

Amber L. Spradlin

Author, Entrepreneur, Cozad High School Graduate

A passion for education and what it provides for our youth; a determination to do what’s right for kids and their education; and a desire to serve unselfishly in an effort to achieve those goals. That’s what I see in Patsy Koch Johns and that’s why I believe she is the very right person to be elected a member of Nebraska State Board of Education. As chair of the Education Committee in the Nebraska Legislature, I’ve had numerous opportunities to interact with member of the State Board. I believe Patsy brings attributes that would strengthen the Board and bring new vitality and drive to its mission of serving public education in our state. Clarity and common sense, but also courage and creativity. That’s what I see in Patsy and why I endorse her for the Nebraska State Board of Education.

Kate Sullivan

Nebraska State Senator, Cedar Rapids, NE

I endorse Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State Board of Education.  As an educator, it’s clear she is one of the best.  Her classroom was interactive and hands on, helping students learn from their curiosity rather than a textbook.  Students excelled in her classes because Patsy’s passion for the subject area was contagious.  I was lucky enough to have Patsy as my cooperating teacher and most days, her energy surpassed my own. Whatever she does, she gives her all, whether it be in the classroom, the theatre, or at home.  As a member of the Nebraska State Board of Education, Patsy will do the same.  She will work tirelessly until she makes education better for all of our children.  She is student-focused, and that is what I want in a State Board of Education representative.

Erin Konecky

Nebraska High School Educator and Coach

I support Patsy Koch-Johns because I trust that Patsy will advocate for what is best for students.  In my time working with her I have witnessed the passion that she had to see all students reach their full potential. I’ve seen her work with students from all backgrounds and with needs of all kinds. I know she will use her experience and her passion as she advocates for the children of Nebraska.

Mark Larson

Educator, Lincoln

It is my pleasure to give my enthusiastic endorsement to the candidacy of Patsy Koch Johns.

William Locke

Nebraska Teacher of the Year, 1981

As a Nebraska Department of Education Teacher of the Year and a Governor’s Excellence in Arts Education Award recipient for her more than 43 years of service, Patsy Koch Johns would be my choice for the Nebraska State Board of Education in this election.  I fully endorse her for this position.

Frank Barrett

Omaha, Nebraska

I endorse Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State Board of Education.  She has always made herself available to help any educator who needed her assistance with promoting and supporting the fine arts and fair education for all.  As a One Act director, I have found her support and wisdom to be invaluable in making me a better coach and instructor.  I know that she deeply cares about about our state, our teachers and our students above all else.  A vote for Patsy will be a vote for the right candidate who truly knows our educators and students.

Cherri Thieman

Educator and One Act Director, McCool Junction

I wholeheartedly endorse Patsy Koch Johns for State Board of Education. Anyone who has had the privilege of meeting Patsy knows there is no one better suited to hold this position.

As one of her former students, I know she has a passion for education and a heart for kids. Patsy (forever Mrs. Koch to me) had a classroom where respect for great literature was cultivated along with the expectation to strive to do our very best. She brought grace and acceptance to her students. She is a teacher who cares. That being said, she is no pushover. She will fight for kids and stand up for what is right for them and their education. She has the experience and tenacity to get the job done. Her enthusiasm for education is contagious. She will make an excellent asset to the State Board of Education. I look forward to voting for her on May 10.

Joanna Pope

Martell, Nebraska

There are a number of reasons Patsy Koch Johns should be a member of the Nebraska State School Board. First, and foremost, she was and still is an educator. Patsy had a stellar career teaching in a variety of education settings: she taught in college, she taught in smaller schools, she taught in larger schools, and she taught in a variety of locations in Nebraska. She won numerous awards for teaching excellence, but, more importantly, I worked with her in teaching situations and saw how she can relate to all different types of learners.

Secondly, Patsy LISTENS and RESPONDS. Patsy cares about people; she will listen to them. Patsy views each individual as an important person. She would be as responsive to a rancher from the Nebraska Sandhills as she would the President of UNL.

Thirdly, Patsy is a supporter for the arts, but she knows the value of all aspects of education!

Finally, Patsy Koch Johns is a tremendous communicator. She can speak passionately to the masses, she can build up the most oppressed person, or she can write her plans for all to see.

We need an informed educator in the State Board of Education!

Mel Shoemaker

Retired educator from Kearney, Nebraska

I am endorsing Patsy Koch Johns for the State Board of Education because I have worked with her and known her for many years. She has worked as a gifted drama teacher at Lincoln High School, utilizing real life events and situations to engage students in theatre, their community and world. As a tireless community volunteer, Patsy has brought the theatre into our daily lives, enriching us with a new found understanding of our neighbors, friends and family. Patsy will bring her understanding of educational issues and the challenges facing our children, as well as a commitment for excellence to Nebraska’s State Board of Education.

Barbara Baier

Lincoln School Board

I most emphatically endorse Ms. Patsy Koch Johns in her candidacy to become a member of our State Board Of Education.  I have known Ms. Koch Johns for almost 40 years, and I have worked with her on state education committees, state and regional conferences and in the classroom.  I have witnessed her extraordinary teaching, her incredible love of students and her unmatched ability to make things happen in every imaginable environment.  Patsy was a teacher in the small town of Cozad, Nebraska and she changed not only the students, but the whole community in her time there.  She has been teaching at Lincoln High School, with a very diverse student population, and has been successful at every level – including teaching International Baccalaureate classes.  She is NATIONALLY recognized as one of the most outstanding educators and has garnered more awards than I could name.  I just collaborated with her on a project at Midland University, and she transformed my college students in just a few class periods.  THERE IS NO ONE MORE SUITED TO PROPEL OUR EDUCATION FORWARD THAN MY FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, PATSY KOCH JOHNS.  Please vote for her.

Dan P. Hays

Midland University Director of Theatre Activities and an educator in Nebraska since the middle 1980s

Patricia Koch Johns was the high school teacher we all wish we had.  She cares about students and takes a personal interest in their learning.  Now that she’s retired after some 40 years of classroom work, Patsy has kept her dedication to our children.  She’s running for Nebraska State Board of Education.  She is not only singularly qualified to do the job, Patsy has the passion, energy, and drive to work to make sure that all Nebraska children have quality, welcoming schools in which to learn. That’s why I’m voting for and endorsing Patricia Koch Johns for State Board of Education.

JoAnn Emerson

Former Director of the LUX Center for the Arts, Proposal Development Coordinator, College of Business Administration, UNL

At a time where intelligent leadership is seemingly absent, education policy becomes central for our future. This is why I have chosen to endorse Patsy Koch Johns for State Board of Education

David Bernard Stevens

Nebraska Teacher of the Year, 1982, CEO at Effective Change Consultants, LTD

Working alongside Patsy while student teaching was the best training I could have received. I was blessed to witness, first-hand, the thoughtfulness and care she put into every single lesson and  every single one of her students. She works day in and day out for all students, no matter who they are. With the continued growth of diversity across the state of Nebraska, Patsy’s unmatched levels of empathy and compassion for all children is why we need her for the State Board of Education.

Tyler Lambley

I am endorsing Patsy Koch Johns for the Nebraska State School Board membership. Quite simply, Patsy ‘gets it’. She has walked the walk, spending years in the classroom, beloved by students fortunate enough to have experienced her love, creativity, wisdom, and kindness. But the walls of Patsy’s classroom are wider than many. She has been a champion for children’s and families’ rights in multiple capacities. Her latest project, the creation and direction of documentary films illustrating how poverty affects Nebraska’s school children is quite simply, a masterpiece. I admire Patsy’s passion and drive to make Nebraska better…the Nebraska State School Board would be ever so fortunate to count Patsy Koch Johns a member, as would the citizens of our great state.

Mary Schlieder

2008 Nebraska Teacher of the Year