Paul Timm, Science Teacher at Lyons-Decatur Northeast


Paul Timm, a science teacher in grades 7-12 at Lyons-Decatur Northeast Secondary School in Lyons, was named the Nebraska 2021 Teacher of the Year during a surprise award presentation today.

Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt presented the award.

Timm was one of three finalists for the Nebraska Teacher of the Year award. Michael Sandstrom of Chadron High School in Chadron and Sarah Staples-Farmer of Lincoln East High School in Lincoln were also finalists and will be recognized as Award of Excellence winners.

Timm began his teaching career in Laurel, Nebraska where he taught agriculture education. He currently teaches 7-12th grade science at Lyons-Decatur Northeast Secondary School where he has been since 2008.

In addition to his classroom experience, Timm is an active member of the school community in the National Honor Society, as a Student Assistant Team Coordinator, and as a coach for the Quiz Bowl, and cross country and track teams. Timm also represents Lyons-Decatur in the Nebraska Water Project multi-school collaboration, the National Geographic Districtwide Partnership, and helped to establish a research program in the district.

In his Teacher of the Year application Timm said he viewed learning as an entrepreneurial venture. The students are not just employees at the job, but business owners building an enterprise of learning with passion, personal choice, and full ownership. 

“I begin by fostering a culture which promotes curiosity and questions, sharing of ideas, celebrating successes, and willingness to learn from failures,” says Timm. “Project- and inquiry-based learning drives education to the highest levels while extending the learning environment beyond the classroom and providing student choice.”

Using this philosophy, Timm strives to prepare his students for life outside school.

Timm has been a teacher for 17 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Education and a Master’s Degree in Entomology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

A panel of Nebraska educators selected Timm as the 2021 Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes the contributions of classroom teachers who are exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, skilled, and who have the ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

Timm, Sandstrom, and Staples-Farmer will be honored by the Nebraska State Board of Education at a February luncheon.

Timm will participate in the National Teacher of the Year competition later this year.


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