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Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence awards announced

Seven Columbia Public Schools’ educators have been selected as this year’s Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence honorees.

Since its inception in the 1979‐80 school year, the Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence has served to recognize more than 250 educators in the Columbia Public School District for their outstanding teaching, leadership and support for students. Each year, educators are selected from nominations submitted by parents and peers as outstanding educators. This year’s honorees and their respective categories are:

Outstanding Elementary Educator, Grades PreK‐2

Trina Liebhart, New Haven Elementary School

Outstanding Elementary Educator, Grades 3‐5

Nikki Kunkel, Cedar Ridge Elementary School

Outstanding Middle School Educator

Jamie Lazechko, Lange Middle School

Outstanding High School Educator

Andrew Kinslow, Rock Bridge High School

Outstanding Beginning Teacher

Rebekah Terrell, Douglass High School


Outstanding Educator in a Specialized Area

Sharon Stemmons, Mill Creek Elementary School


Outstanding Administrator

Lori Osborne, CPS Health Services Coordinator


Honorees receive a $1,500 cash award and an engraved silver tray.

The fund began through the work of Ray and Jeanne Lewis, with an initial contribution and extensive fundraising efforts. The late Mr. Lewis was a local attorney and former Board of Education member.

Mrs. Lewis is a former teacher. Thanks to the contributions and support from individuals, businesses and organizations, Columbia’s best educators continued to be recognized each year for their contributions to young people.