OMAHA – David Friedli and Gary Wockenfuss have dedicated their lives to helping students succeed in academics, activities and vocational endeavors.
The two Cass County principals were honored for their decades of service with prestigious tributes at an April banquet.
Friedli and Wockenfuss both attended the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP) Region II Awards Banquet April 24. Members recognized Friedli with the NSASSP Outstanding High School Principal Award for Region II. They recognized Wockenfuss with the NSASSP Distinguished Service Award for Region II.
Region II of the NSASSP covers seven counties in eastern Nebraska. Educators in Burt, Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Otoe, Sarpy and Washington counties are members of the region. The area includes a large number of junior and senior high schools.
The Region II Outstanding High School Principal of the Year Award is given each spring to a principal who has successfully provided high-quality learning opportunities for students. They are acknowledged by their peers for the exemplary contributions they have made to their profession. NSASSP members judge principals based on the areas of personal excellence, collaborative leadership, curriculum work, instructional abilities and assessment proficiency.
Friedli has served as principal at Conestoga Junior/Senior High School since August 2009. He supervises and evaluates more than two dozen staff members and oversees hundreds of students at the school. He handles student disciplinary issues, leads school assemblies, makes decisions in emergency situations and supervises scores of CHS games and activities.
Friedli began his educational career as a teacher, coach and athletic director at Elwood Public Schools in 1979. He was a teacher, coach and activities sponsor at Lyons-Decatur Northeast from 1981-1990. He was also a city councilman and parks and recreation director in Lyons from 1987-89.
Friedli worked at both the Nebraska Department of Education and Educational Service Unit #9 before accepting a job as secondary school principal at Umonhon Nation Public School in Macy. He served in that capacity from August 1999-July 2009.
The 2018-19 award is the second honor Friedli has received from the NSASSP. He was named the Region II Outstanding Principal of the Year in 2013-14. He also earned the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association Outstanding Principal of the Year Award in 2015-16.
The Region II Distinguished Service Award is given each spring to an administrator who has provided outstanding and unselfish service to the NSASSP. Winners have also made significant contributions to establishing quality education at both the state and local levels. NSASSP members judge nominees on areas such as leadership, enthusiasm and community support.
Wockenfuss has served as a principal in Weeping Water for the past 11 years. He supervises and evaluates 18 teachers and oversees more than 100 students in grades 6-12. He handles student disciplinary issues, leads school assemblies and programs, helps implement curriculum decisions and handles many administrative issues.
Wockenfuss graduated from Dakota State University in 1986 and served as a teacher and coach for the next 24 years. He worked at schools such as Wood River and Nebraska City and became a respected football coach. He taught clinics to groups such as the South Dakota Football Coaches Association during this time.
Wockenfuss was honored with the Civic Nebraska Outstanding K-12 Administrator Award in 2016. He has supported Civic Nebraska’s Rural Civic Action Program and has encouraged sportsmanship and activities participation at Weeping Water. The school earned the Class C-2 Sportsmanship Award at the state girls basketball tournament in 2012.
Three other area principals received Region II awards at the banquet. Millard North Middle School Principal Scott Ingwerson was named the NSASSP Outstanding Middle School Principal, and Ralston High School Principal Jesse Tvrdy received the NSASSP Outstanding New Principal Award. Jason Ryan of Papillion-La Vista High School was named the winner of the NSASSP Outstanding Assistant Principal Award.