Joanne was inducted into the SHSAA Hall of Fame in 2014 and awarded our first Distinguished Teacher Award.
Joanne (Placek) Sokalsky taught Spanish, typing, shorthand, office training and English during her 44 year career at SHS. She received her B.S. in Education in 1958 from UNO, majoring in Spanish and business. She received her M.A. in Spanish in 1962 from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. In 1966 she received a National Defense Education Act Scholarship to study at the University of Salamanca in Spain. During her tenure at SHS she was cooperating teacher for 36 student teachers and sponsored Future Teachers of America, served as senior class sponsor, was on the Honors and Awards Scholarship committee and the Commencement Speaker Selection committee. She was co-founder of the National Spanish Honor Society, the first chapter in an OPS school. She also was in charge of Omaha Ole, a citywide Spanish convention.
Community service includes serving on the parish council, teaching Sunday school, preparing children to receive their first Holy Communion and serving as Secretary of the Altar Society at her church. She served as an officer in Kappa Kappa Iota (professional teachers’ organization) and volunteers at the Montclair Nursing Center. She also arranges luncheons twice a year for all retired SHS teachers. Her awards include Alice Buffet Outstanding Teacher, Excellence in Education from the American G.I. Forum, and Star Award (Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher). She was listed in “Who’s Who in American Education” three times.
She credits several educators for her success, including her Spanish teacher, Delizia Rindone; Dr. Paul Kennedy and Dr. Cristobal Espinosa from UNO; Dr. Richard Krebs, principal of SHS; and Alice Giitter and Roland Hinrichs, teachers at SHS.
Joanne passed away in January 2021.