Teacher welcomes new kindergarten class for 41st straight school year

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT/Gray News) – A teacher at Nebraska’s biggest school district is welcoming new students this week for her 41st straight school year.

Kaye Kiepert-Hensley has greeted students in her kindergarten class at Franklin Elementary School for more than four decades.

“I love to see their growth when they come back because it’s the same families. I had many of them years ago when they were also my students,” she said.

Not only has she spent 41 years at the same school, but also in the same classroom.

While her classroom hasn’t changed much through the years, she said teaching has seen a bit of a change.

“When I first started, it was a lot of socialization, play and interaction. Now, we focus on the academic aspect of it,” Hensley said.

In four decades, Hensley has impacted more lives than she can count. Something school officials find invaluable, especially with the teacher shortage.

“You think of how committed she is, you feel that energy and excitement,” said Matthew Ray, Omaha Public Schools interim superintendent.

According to Hensley, she has at least another 10 years of teaching ahead of her and wants her kids to know that she believes in them.

“Before you leave this class, always remember I love you. You matter. You can do anything, and I believe in you,” Hensley shared.

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