NORTA announces 2024 Richard T. Lowery Educator of Excellence recipients

OCONTO – For many years, Nicolet-Oconto Retired Teachers’ Association (NORTA) has been awarding one teacher from each of seven school districts, an Educator of Excellence Award.  When NORTA was searching for a way to encourage educators and reward them for a job well done, Richard Lowery came up with this idea.  After Richard’s passing, the association voted to rename the award in honor of Richard.

This year’s recipients include Shannon Slatky from Gillet, Stacy Chrisman from Laona, Michelle Meisner from Lena, Linda Gilson from Oconto, Emily Robinson from Oconto Falls, Mary Smith from Suring and Presley Keeble from Wabeno.

Richard was a graduate of Wabeno High School.  After graduation, he attended Marinette County Normal School’s teaching college.  He taught a year in Lena before he enlisted in the Air Force.  After eight years in the military, he chose to return home and to his teaching career.  His children have often said that one of his favorite quotes was, “education is an investment in yourself that no one can ever take away from you.”  He was the first in his family to graduate from college, obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Oshkosh, and a master’s degree in counseling from UW-Superior  

In 1984, the Wisconsin Association of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse counselors honored him as that year’s State Recipient of the Award for Outstanding School Counselor in the fight against alcohol abuse.

Richard retired a year after his wife, Rosemary, also a teacher, passed away.  He was anything but idle during his retirement.  His largest project during his retirement years was the 16,000 member Wisconsin Retired Educator’s Association, and with its local NORTA chapter.

Richard inspired many of his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to enter the field of education.  His love of teaching and being a role model for youth are a few of the reasons NORTA members chose to rename this award in his honor.  

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