Plambeck Early Childhood Pioneer Award

Dr. LaVonne Plambeck receiving Early Childhood Pioneer Award


UNK’s College of Education presented the inaugural Early Childhood Pioneer Award to LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck of Omaha in 2019. The Early Childhood Committee then named the award in her honor.

An educational legend and visionary, Plambeck has supported and invested in high-quality experiences for young children for decades. She opened Omaha’s first Montessori Educational Center in 1968 and later added seven locations and opened schools in Denver and Fort Worth. Plambeck also launched the Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute to provide professionals with training and certification.

In addition to working on early childhood education extensively with UNK, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, College of Saint Mary and Concordia University, she has served the Nebraska Association of Young Children, American Montessori Society Board of Directors, Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education and an advisory committee on early childhood education for the state of Nebraska, and was appointed to a White House conference on families.

A financial gift from Plambeck added two dedicated Montessori classrooms to UNK’s Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center, as well as an endowed Montessori education professorship and an endowed fund that supports workshops, seminars and other outreach activities for early childhood education providers across Nebraska.