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HNS superintendent wins fine arts award

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HARTINGTON — A.J. Johnson was recently recognized for his support of and dedication to the fine arts.

The superintendent of Hartington-Newcastle Public Schools received the Administrator of the Year Award from the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association (NSCTA) at its annual conference last month.

Johnson was nominated anonymously by a member of the speech, debate, and theatre community, said Awards Chairwoman Becca Hier of Bellevue.

Johnson was among several nominations in which the NSCTA executive board voted upon.

“Many of us based our votes on what we’ve known of A.J. throughout the years, his work with the Hartington-Newcastle speech team, and his work within NSCTA as the president,” Hier said.

Jarod Ockander, David City, presented the award to Johnson and noted the school’s impressive five state speech championships, eight one-act play championships, and numerous other accomplishments.

In fact, the school won state speech and state play competition in the same school year, becoming only the fourth in state history.

“He once told me that his favorite part of any season is practicing,” Ockander said. “By working hard and making changes at practice, the speeches and plays take on a whole new level for the entire team.”

Ockander said Johnson was chosen for his willingness to do whatever is required and going beyond the necessary means to lead his school district and students in the fine arts.

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