The Niehus Award

3-1984-Walter-Juanit-Niehus

In 1986, the Niehus family established an award honoring the legacy of Walter G. and Juanita F. Niehus who made significant contributions to Plainfield School District 202.  Walter Niehus served as Superintendent of Schools from 1948 until 1967.  During his tenure, the school district grew from 526 students and 20 faculty to 2,952 students and 120 faculty.   Mr. Niehus presided over a number of firsts during his time as superintendent.   He initiated the first band program and the first kindergarten.  Under his leadership, academic programs were strengthened, courses were added and the schools became accredited by the North Central Association.  Among the many lasting contributions from the Walter Niehus era, perhaps the most enduring is Plainfield’s Homecoming.  With assistance from faculty, Mr. Niehus launched Plainfield’s first Homecoming on October 10-11, 1952.

5-1967-Walter-Juanita-Niehus-retirement

Juanita Niehus was a respected teacher who taught Latin, Spanish, French and math.   She expanded Latin course offerings to a four year program and supervised a very active Latin Club.  She took students to the National Latin Conventions at many locations throughout the country.  Generations of her students appreciated the rigor of her teaching and benefitted from her enthusiastic encouragement and support. By choosing a Niehus Award recipient each year, the ideals, accomplishments and talents of Juanita and Walter Niehus are remembered and celebrated.

4-1981-Walter-Juanita-Niehus-co-Grand-Marshalls-Plainfield-Homecoming

The Niehus Award honors an individual who displays the characteristics of service, dedication and excellence which were hallmark traits of Mr. and Mrs. Niehus.  Each year, colleagues and community members are urged to nominate candidates who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to Plainfield School District students.  The Foundation for Excellence administers the award and works with the Niehus family to honor a recipient who exhibits the same vibrant, enthusiastic dedication to the school district and its students that were so evident in the lives of Juanita and Walter Niehus.

WALTER G. AND JUANITA F. NIEHUS AWARD WINNERS

WINNER

YEAR

Tom Baker

1986

Janice Keeley

1987

Linda J. Schultz

1988

Eugene Barnewolt

1989

Paul Montgomery

1990

Richard Eldred

1991

Emmett Fleming

1992

Bonnie McBeth

1993

Karen Roppa

1994

John Harper

1995

Sharon Kinley

1996

Michael Zbacnik

1997

Karen Hamilton

1998

Char McMillen

1999

George Schlott

2000

Leonne Will

2001

Richard Chavez

2002

Jon Balke

2003

John C. Murphy

2004

George Capps

2005

Robert Smith

2006

Tod Schnowske

2007

Pat Jennings

2008

Diane Saunders

2009

Elaine McGrath

2010

Lisa Klaas

2011

Audrey Stein

2012

Laura Fahrner

2013

Dr. Kathy Baxter

2014

Dave Stephens

2015

Joan Woolwine

2016

Linda DiLeo

2017

Michel Pawlak

2018

John Bayer

2019

Tony Manville

2020

Mina Griffith

2021

Lane Abrell

2022