Behind the Scenes of Programming

Behind the Scenes of Programming

Teacher says students are grateful for educational opportunities

A dedicated teacher who worked in the Nebraska public school system for 13 years, now finds himself heading to work at the Lincoln Correctional Center at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Teacher Josh Murtaugh said he loves K-12 education, but was ready for a new professional challenge that served others. "It's way different than what people think," he said.

Murtaugh said he enjoys coming to work every day because he sees how hard his students work. "I find a lot of them didn't have a good experience in school. To change that experience and respond with positive, constructive feedback is an amazing opportunity."

Murtaugh works with other teachers to find new and exciting ways to help the people living at all 10 Nebraska facilities earn their high school degree or GED and take a variety of job skill-building trades through a variety of online classes. "I wasn't expecting how grateful they are for the educational opportunity they receive here," Murtaugh said. "Working here, I get to see the amazing changes you can have on an individual that can jumpstart a new period of success in their lives."

Ninety-three percent of people living in NDCS facilities will enter back into the community. The average length of stay for an individual is about three years. Achieving educational goals and developing new job skills is vital to each person's progress back in the community so they can find success.

Murtaugh just recently signed another contract to continue teaching students. "This facility is where these men live right now," he said. "What they do with their time here will change the outcome of their future. We're here to help with that."

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Recreation Coordinator grows confidence in others

Watch this video about Sharlene Most and how she feels her job in recreation at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women positively impacts the women at the facility.


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Teacher lands great career at NDCS by accident

Getting back into teaching was a big change for Zach Walsh after working in the business world for several years. But Walsh feels a stable career in education was the right choice for him. "My wife spotted this job. She asked me if I wanted to work in a prison. I said no, but I still applied."

A few weeks later Walsh found out he got the teaching job at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). "My rationale was that it's real teaching experience I could use to get into the Nebraska school system," he said. "But I found out I love it."

Walsh said one of the best things about teaching in NDCS is the time he gets to learn about his students and discover strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This is something he missed while working in K-12 education before his career switch.

Walsh said his teaching schedule begins every morning with a block of preparation time. After that, he'll see students the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, he tends to administrative duties and then receives another group of students. "Days go fast," said Walsh.

"It's such a unique environment," Walsh continued. "I feel this is one area here where we have learning relationships. We are key in helping people living at correctional facilities to find out what they're really interested in doing after their time here."


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There are 150 different job classifications at NDCS. Below is an array of positions in Programming.

- Teacher

- Principal

- Administrative Assistant

- Recreation Manager

- Recreation Specialist

- Reentry Specialist

- Vocational and Life Skills Coordinator

- Religious Coordinator

- Librarian

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