Dr. Thompson honored as 2020 Norfolk Person of the Year!

Norfolk Public Schools is excited to celebrate with Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, Superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools, her recognition as the 2020 Norfolk Person of the Year.  Dr. Thompson was honored with a presentation of a framed award on February 8, 2021 at 5:00 p.m., prior to the Board of Education meeting.  Due to covid-19 protocols, no formal reception was held.

According to the award criteria, this award is designed to honor individuals who have made Norfolk and the area a better place, especially through their efforts in the year 2020.  Like last year, there were two people recognized: one Norfolk resident and another resident from Northeast and North Central Nebraska that lives outside Norfolk.  In December, Dr. Jami Jo Thompson was selected as the Norfolk recipient, and Gina Uhing, Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Director, was named the Norfolk Area Person of the Year recipient.  This annual recognition program is sponsored by the Norfolk Daily News and Elkhorn Valley Bank.

Dr. Thompson was recognized for her leadership, perseverance, and compassion while leading the Norfolk Public Schools district into the unknown territory of the covid-19 pandemic of 2020.  This included closing the school unexpectedly in March, transitioning to home-based learning to finish the 2019-2020 school year, and then reopening in August with newly developed covid safety protocols in place.

At the award presentation, Dr. Thompson asked to share a few words about the honor.  She said “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award.  I am very proud of the way our school district has reacted during the covid-19 crisis.  We have always put student and staff safety first, and worked to be compassionate to the uncertainty that our staff, students, and their families are facing.  We work hard every day to make sure students are learning, safe, and that their social/emotional needs are being met.  It takes a full team of hard working individuals to make that happen!” 

She continued, “I accept this award today on behalf of the hard-working staff of Norfolk Public Schools.  

  • People like the teachers that connect with the students every day and don’t let masks or other covid protocols keep them from building those relationships.  When school shut down suddenly in March 2020, this group was not deterred from their professional mission.  They went to work figuring out how to teach in new and unknown home-based learning. 
  • People like our substitute teachers and staff members that show up every day ready to accept the challenge of working in a variety of tasks and classrooms, and helping us keep our doors open and fully staffed.  
  • People like the food service workers, the custodians, the technology team, the school nurses, the guidance counselors, the secretaries… and so many others I cannot possibly name that put in long hours, came up with solutions, and worked to fulfill our belief that “Nothing Prevents Success”... not even covid!  
  • I cannot forget to mention our leadership team that has had to make some tough decisions in 2020.  The Board of Education, the district administration team, and the building principals ... these individuals all spent countless hours researching and reviewing information that was changing by the minute and investing themselves into seeking solutions to best serve our students, their families, and our community during the unknown territory of a global pandemic.”

“On behalf of Norfolk Public Schools I’d also like to say thank you to our community!  Thank you to everyone that offered a supportive word of encouragement in 2020, thank you to our student body that has been resilient, adaptable, and cooperative as their daily routines were altered and school activities canceled, and thank you to everyone that had patience and faith in our school district that we were going to do the best we could for all students.”  

She closed by saying, “It has definitely been a different school year, that’s for sure, but no matter how uncertain times became, or how tired our team grew, they never stopped working to provide a safe productive learning environment for our students.  On behalf of all of them, I gladly accept this award and will share it with them.”