November 11, 2006Joshua (Josh) Anderson, a teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, was named the 2007 Kansas Teacher of the Year during ceremonies in Wichita Saturday night. Commissioner Bob L. Corkins made the announcement before a gathering of 450 education officials, corporate leaders, and state policy makers.
Karla Denny, Coordinator
Communications and Recognition Programs
Kansas State Department of Education
(785) 221-0362 (Saturday evening)
(785) 296-4876 (Monday morning)
Speech, Debate, & Language Arts Teacher named 2007
Kansas Teacher of the Year
“I am pleased and honored to present this award to Josh Anderson,” Commissioner Corkins said. "His enthusiasm for learning and his passion for teaching are evident in the positive environment he has created in the classroom and community.”
Anderson was named 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 100 nominations, the 2007 finalists are: Mary Collins, a second-grade teacher at Council Grove Elementary School; Sheryl Smith, visual arts teacher at Buhler High School; Bonnie Kastanek, a first-grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Manhattan;; Lori Atkins Goodson, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Wamego Middle School; Carrie Mugridge, a third-grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee (DeSoto USD 232); Martha Hadsall, a third-grade teacher at Harper Elementary School (Anthony-Harper USD 361); and DeAnn Nelson, a seventh-grade mathematics teacher at Truesdell Middle School in Wichita.
Olathe Northwest Teacher named Teacher of the Year
November 11, 2006
Anderson has been a member of the English Department at Olathe Northwest High School since 2003. Three years ago, he started the debate and forensics program at Olathe Northwest High School and today that program is one of the most successful in the country. His teams are ranked first in the state and second in the nation.
In a letter of nomination from Anderson’s building principal, Dr. Gwen Poss, Anderson is lauded as a teacher leader. She continues, “Mr. Anderson’s intelligence, willingness to take risks and global view of the potential that exists within the staff and students at Olathe Northwest has enabled him to embrace the opportunities that were offered here and to nurture the potential that other members of the staff possess. Josh’s work ethic and capacity to challenge colleagues to better themselves have been a major factor in the development of the culture of success that exists at Olathe Northwest High School.”
Anderson’s professional biography details his philosophy of teaching. He says, “I challenge my students to work extraordinarily hard so that they may be better and brighter than they ever thought possible. Their achievements tell a story of dedication and a passion for learning.”
Josh feels that part of his job as a teacher is to introduce the community to his students and his students to the community. He serves on the Executive Committee of East Kansas District of the National Forensics League and is responsible for working with community leaders and citizens to organize a variety of speech and debate tournaments that bring together students and adults. He also works with his students to develop presentations for civic groups. For his students, it is often their first exposure to community organizations dedicated to service and leadership. This is their opportunity to discover the value of lifelong learning and community development. His students thus gain a greater awareness of their responsibilities as future adult leaders in their communities.
A student writes in a letter of support, “How do you simplify into just one page what three years’ worth of guidance and influence have meant to my life? It’s difficult, but I’ll give it my best shot. Of all the teachers I’ve had in my career as a student, Mr. Anderson is the one whose teaching will always stay with me. In twenty or thirty years, I probably won’t remember how to calculate the cosine of an angle or what protein phosphorylation is, but I will remember what it means to live with great character and integrity—not simply because of the rigorous expectations he has for us, but because I have seen it modeled firsthand by Mr. Anderson himself. I am constantly impressed by his unwavering dedication to his teaching, the high standards he holds us to, and of course, the long hours he puts in to ensure that each and every one of his students is successful.”
As Teacher of the Year, Anderson receives a $4,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
Olathe Northwest Teacher named Teacher of the Year
November 11, 2006
“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, President 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 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.”
Anderson 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, and Tabor College; and a Jostens Leader in Education ring.
As the 2007 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Anderson will also receive an educational technology package valued at approximately $14,000 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; unlimited school site license for SMART Ideas, a concept-mapping software; an AirLiner wireless slate; the Bridgit data-conferencing software; and technology training.
In addition, Anderson will receive The Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship, which provides funds to the Teacher of the Year's school district for a partner teacher to be in the classroom while the Teacher of the Year is fulfilling program duties. The ambassadorship also 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 Anderson to use while fulfilling his Teacher of the Year duties.
All eight members of the 2007 Kansas Teacher of the Year team will receive a $100 gift certificate from Superior School Supplies, a $2,000 cash award from the Security Benefit, and a one year site license for SMART Ideas concept mapping software and technology. The Kansas Teacher of the Year semi-finalists and finalists also receive an engraved golden apple 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 and sponsored by Scholastic Inc. The Kansas program is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, which appointed a 40-member state selection panel composed of business representatives, education officials, teachers, parents and students.