ovember 17, 2007
Riverview Elementary Reading Specialist named 2008
Kansas Teacher of the Year
WICHITA—Jeri Powers, a reading specialist at Riverview Elementary School, USD 232, De Soto, was named the 2008 Kansas Teacher of the Year during ceremonies in Wichita Saturday night. Commissioner Alexa Posny 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 Jeri Powers,” Commissioner Posny said. "Her enthusiasm for learning and her passion for teaching are evident in the positive environment she has created in the classroom and community.”
Powers 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 90 nominations, the 2008 finalists are: Linda Johnson, a third-grade teacher at Council Grove Elementary School; Shelbie Witte, an eighth grade English/language arts teacher at Fort Riley Middle School; Anton Ahrens, a chemistry teacher at Topeka High School; Erin Capettini, a second-grade teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School, Paola; Elaine Corder, a language arts teacher at Spring Hill High School; Karen Bristow, a first-grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School, Augusta; and Stacie Valdez, an English/language arts teacher at Wichita North High School.
Powers has been a reading specialist at Riverview Elementary School since 1999. In 2002, she co-authored and received a matching grant to begin an early literacy intervention program at Riverview Elementary School. This model was so successful that it was implemented across the district and is in use today.
In a letter of nomination from Powers’ former building principal, Cathy Grube, Powers is lauded as a teacher leader. She continues, “Jeri epitomizes excellence in education! She is an incredibly hard working, caring and dedicated professional.”
November 19, 2007
Jeri feels that part of her job as an elementary reading specialist requires her to implement many procedures and activities to strengthen and improve the teaching profession, specifically in the area of literacy development. The initial philosophy has changed from one of sending all struggling readers to her to be “fixed”, to a model whereby each teacher is trained to be a strong reading teacher, one competent to provide interventions within the classroom. This paradigm shift has required her job to become one in which she not only works with students, but also provides a myriad of ongoing opportunities for teachers to grow in their knowledge base of reading development and best practice application.
A colleague writes in a letter of support, “Under Jeri’s care, it would be impossible for any child to be left behind. She truly goes above and beyond the call of duty as an educator. I have had the honor of observing Jeri in action on multiple occasions. Her lessons are engaging, well-planned, and address multiple learning styles. Additionally, she has the highest expectations for all of her students no matter how big their reading challenges might be. Jeri teaches students how to be reflective learners and set goals for themselves.”
As Teacher of the Year, Powers 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, 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.”
Powers 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 2008 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Powers 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;
November 17, 2007
computer lab license for Synchron Eyes™ classroom management software; one class set of Senteo™ interactive response system; and technology training.
In addition, Powers 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 Powers to use while fulfilling her Teacher of the Year duties.
All eight members of the 2008 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 training. 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. The Kansas program is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education.