November 21, 2009
EMBARGOED UNTIL 7:30 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 21, 2009
Shawnee Mission West High School foreign language teacher named 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year
WICHITA—Karen Tritt, a foreign language teacher at Shawnee Mission West High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512, was named the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year during ceremonies in Wichita Saturday night. Interim Commissioner Diane DeBacker made the announcement before a gathering of 450 education officials, corporate leaders, and state policy makers.
“I am pleased and honored to present this award to Karen Tritt,” Interim Commissioner DeBacker said. "Her enthusiasm for learning and her passion for teaching are evident in the positive environment she has created not only in her classroom but also in her district and community.”
Tritt was named the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year from a field of eight finalists. Throughout the coming year all of the finalists will work as a team to advocate for education and teaching. Selected from a pool of more than 90 nominations, the 2010 finalists are: Joan Moore, a first grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, McPherson USD 418; Jeline Harclerode, a technology teacher at Emporia Middle School, Emporia USD 253; Beth Slawson, a reading specialist and reading recovery teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School, Paola USD 368; Arthur Commons, a science teacher at Baxter Springs High School, Baxter Spring USD 508; Rose Nemchik, a resource teacher at Riverview Elementary School, De Soto USD 232; Cathy Durano, a third grade teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School, Andover USD 385; and Tracey Repp, a mathematics teacher at Andover Central Middle School, Andover USD 385.
November 21, 2009
Tritt has been a foreign language teacher at Shawnee Mission West High School for the past 4 years. She has seventeen years experience in the classroom. Karen received National Board Certification in World Languages Other than English (WLOTE) in 2003. She was the first in Kansas to be certified for WLOTE and has since mentored three candidates successfully through the process.
In a letter of nomination, Dr. Charles MCLean, Shawnee Mission West High School principal, writes,” Karen is a colleague who, in my professional opinion, emulates effectively engaging teaching skills to meet the needs of ALL students; she possesses the intellectual talent and the genuine caring spirit found in those we respectfully identify as ‘Master’ teachers.”
Karen says that her personal beliefs and feelings about teaching are derived not so much from being an educator as from being a parent. She states, “Every day I send my child to school hoping that his teachers will treat him with respect and dignity, will know him for the delightfully unique individual he is, will expect the best from him and hold him accountable for his learning, will find ways for him to use his strengths within the classroom, and will give him opportunities to shine in front of his peers.”
She continues, “By the same token, each student who walks through my door every day has been entrusted to me by loving parents or guardians who hope for these same qualities in their child’s teachers.” Tritt believes that good teachers are committed to students, highly motivational, and are always learning. Good teachers are reflective and continually evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of instructional activities. They
are collaborative members of school or professional organizations through which they can stay current on issues and trends.
As Teacher of the Year, Tritt receives a $4,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
“On behalf of Security Benefit associates, we congratulate all Kansas teachers for their dedication, hard work and commitment to engage students and strive for excellence,” said Kris Robbins, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Security Benefit. “As the son of teachers, I am proud that Security Benefit helps educators plan for their retirement future. Our sponsorship of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is one
November 21, 2009
small way we can give back collectively to the many teachers who influenced our lives and can thank educators today for helping our children have bright futures of their own.”
Tritt also receives a Lifelong Learning Scholarship from the Kansas Board of Regents, Washburn University, Baker University, Bethany College, Kansas Wesleyan University, MidAmerica Nazarene University, University of Saint Mary, Tabor College, and Webster University; and a Jostens Leader in Education ring.
As the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Tritt will also receive an educational technology package valued at approximately $16,000 from the SMARTer Kids Foundation and SMART Technologies of Canada. This year’s Teaching Excellence Award includes a SMART Board™ with projector and audio system; class license for
Notebook™ software; unlimited school site license for SMART Ideas®, a concept-mapping software; an AirLiner™ wireless slate; the Bridgit® data-conferencing software;
computer lab license for Synchron Eyes™ classroom management software; one class set of Senteo™ interactive response system; and technology training.
In addition, Tritt will receive The Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship. The ambassadorship provides funds for travel and other necessary expenses incurred by the Kansas Teacher of the Year. Enterprise Rent-a-Car will provide the lease of a car and the Kansas Corn Commission will provide ethanol gas for Tritt to use while fulfilling her Teacher of the Year duties.
All eight members of the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year team will receive a $2,000 cash award from the Security Benefit, and a one year site license for SMART Ideas concept mapping software and technology training. The Kansas Teacher of the Year semi-finalists and finalists also receive a ceramic apple with engraved base from The Master Teacher in Manhattan.
The Teacher of the Year program has state and national competitions. The national program, presented by the ING Foundation, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The Kansas program is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education.
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