Three Casady Faculty Members Receive NextGen Under 30 Award


This year, Casady has been honored to have three faculty members awarded with the NextGen Under 30 Award. The recipients, Mr. Hermansen, Mr. Dema, Mrs. Hale had been nominated by Betty Jane Garrett, Casady’s Interim Director for Institutional Advancement, and have been selected based on their positive contributions to their communities, students and institutions.

The NextGen Under 30 program is a statewide foundation that recognizes individuals under the age of thirty for their contributions to their communities or institutions. Founded in 2011 by the publisher of The ionOklahoma Magazine, Don Swift, the NextGen Under 30 programs encourages young adults to be active members in their communities. The recipients of the award are from fifteen different professions ranging from Finance to The Arts. Casady’s recipients have been selected as part of the Education K-12 category.

Mr. Hermansen currently teaches eighth grade U.S. History in the Middle Division. He believes that, “Experiential learning is a key component to student development and learning.” He hopes to act upon this experiential learning in March during a Naturalization Ceremony that will occur at Casady. Students perhaps will be able to participate in the ceremony and apply their lessons from class to real life experiences. Mr. Hermansen also hopes that his students will gain experience in public speaking: “I believe that public speaking and presentation are key skills that students need for their future and I am looking forward to creating a space for this to happen in my classroom.” He hopes that students will be able to present their research papers at the end of the year to fellow teachers and Upper Division students. For Mr. Hermansen, the most rewarding part about being a teacher is, “Watching my students discover something new or make historical connections from our current time period to the past. It is my hope that they walk away with the skills necessary to make sense of the past and apply what they are learning to their future.”

Mrs. Hale is the head of the Upper and Middle Division band program. She has significantly increased the size of the program. She serves her community through the nonprofit organization Project Outreach, which supports and cares for children with disabilities and their siblings. She guides students as they audition and participate in honor bands such as CODA (Central Oklahoma Directors Association). Currently, Mrs. Hale is preparing her Upper Division students for their performances in Ireland that will occur in March along with the strings and choir of the Upper Division.

Mr. Dema is our theatre director at Casady, and a newly naturalized citizen of the United States as of August of 2017. He has directed several successful plays and musicals over the years, such as The Crucible and Damn Yankees. This fall, Mr. Dema is directing the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Mr. Dema has also included the Middle Division in the theatre program by directing the Middle Division musical Seussical the Musical.  He also includes the local community in his work by by inviting members from nearby retirement homes to view the school’s performances. His main goal is for his students, “to perform to their fullest potential, to engage their audiences, and to grow their passions for theatre.”

On October 1, the three Casady award winners attended a luncheon at the capital to meet with fellow recipients of the award. Casady looks forward to seeing the future achievements of these distinguished faculty members.