Chadron teacher Uhing selected as 2017 Battey Award recipient

Willie Uhing (top center) and his children with the Battey family at the Nebraska Union May 5, 2017.

Chadron teacher Uhing selected as 2017 Battey Award recipient

05 May 2017    By Brad Stauffer, College of Education and Human Sciences

Impact. It’s how every professional is judged. And judging from the comments of peers and students, Chadron High School teacher Willie Uhing has a remarkable impact on his students and his school. For excellence as a teacher, leader, mentor, role model and advocate, Uhing has been named the 2017 Frieda Battey Distinguished Educator Award, presented by the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“No educator in my experience has ever been so upfront in showing a genuine passion for their students and education,” said CEHS student Alida Johnson who nominated her former teacher. “His enthusiasm radiates throughout our school and everyone notices. What he has done in Chadron High School is legendary. I cannot speak highly enough about this devoted, exuberant, outstanding educator.”

Uhing, who is chair of the school’s English department, is “all in” for his students and colleagues. Besides his teaching and leadership roles, he is a coach, club sponsor, staff development trainer, informal counselor and selflessly supports students in activities outside of the classroom.

“His unique, positive, affirming style motivates students to be the absolute best they can be whether it is in the classroom or outside on the cross-country course,” said Caroline Winchester, superintendent, Chadron Public Schools.

Winchester is quick to tout the latest state test scores of Uhing’s students, noting that 11 juniors had perfect writing assessment scores and overall 86% proficiency. His juniors were 93% proficient in reading with six perfect scores.

Principal Jerry Mack calls Uhing’s leadership and teaching “unparalleled” and confirms this beloved teacher’s impact on the school. “Mr. Uhing's influences on students and staff is directly responsible for the overall increase in our student learning and performance on state testing,” said Mack. “We have been blessed to have his talents in our school for the past ten years.”

“Although it is Mr. Uhing who ends every class period with some form of ‘I love you guys,’ it is us at CHS that truly love him and are thankful,” said Loni Watson, Chadron High School counselor. “He is the decisive element at Chadron High School. It is his personal approach that creates the climate, and his mood that makes the weather. We are thankful for the sunshine.”

Uhing takes the accolades in stride and says all the investment in his students and school is worth it. “I am honored being nominated for this award, not for the hardware, but simply because a student learned their potential can be tapped,” he said. “Education is not only about curriculum, it is about meeting the specific needs of kids and, as I tell my own children daily, making the world a better place.”

The Battey Award honors the life and career of Freda Drath Battey, a 1923 graduate of Nebraska’s Teachers College. She was a public school teacher in Ashland, Nebraska for many years. CEHS students nominate recipients. The criteria for the award is “excellence in teaching coupled with recognition in other complementary education activities.” In reviewing nominations, the selection committee looks for evidence of teaching excellence, efforts to continue to grow as a teacher, commitment to students, and engagement with students outside the classroom. For more information on the Battey Award, visit

College of Education and Human Sciences