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Scottsbluff High School teacher Todd Menghini receives distinguished educator award

Scottsbluff High School English teacher Todd Menghini has been selected to receive the Freda Battey Distinguished Educator Award presented by the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. 

The Battey Award honors the life and career of Freda Drath Battey, a 1923 graduate of Nebraska’s Teachers College, and longtime public school teacher in Ashland, Nebraska. Battey’s family established the “Distinguished Educator Award” in her memory in 1986. 

The criteria for the award is “excellence in teaching coupled with recognition in other complementary education activities, such as counseling of students or initiation of student-oriented programs.” Candidates for the award are nominated by students in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Menghini has taught at Scottsbluff Public Schools since 1997, where he currently serves as the English department chair. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Menghini serves on the leadership committee, mentors first year teachers and is a project editor for DECA. He also serves as assistant track coach. Over the years, Menghini has been a part of many professional programs and committees, and has held a variety of coaching roles. 

Menghini was nominated for the award by Sydney Petitt, a secondary English and Language Arts education major, who says he is one of the reasons she chose her major. She appreciates the way Mr. Menghini teaches without bias, and helps students learn valuable life lessons through exercises such as writing position papers from an opposing viewpoint. 

“He is the sole reason I have such an open mind and always look from the other perspective before judging someone,” Petitt said. “Because of him, I have the tools and ability to walk in the shoes of others in a way I had never imagined.” 

Shelby Aaberg, mathematics department chair at Scottsbluff Public Schools and 2015 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, has witnessed his colleagues’ positive influence on students from all walks of life. “He is skilled at guiding students to think for themselves, to question authority, and to develop the ability to rationalize and defend their own views,” Aaberg said. 

Menghini earned a bachelor’s degree in language arts from Nebraska and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Chadron State College. 

Menghini will receive an inscribed school bell and cash awards for himself and Scottsbluff Public Schools.