November 22, 2008
EMBARGOED UNTIL 7:30 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 22, 2008
Buhler High School mathematics teacher named Kansas Teacher of the Year
WICHITA—Cindy Couchman, a mathematics teacher at Buhler High School, USD 313, Buhler, was named the 2009 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 Cindy Couchman,” Commissioner Posny 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 the community.”
Couchman was named the 2009 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 2009 finalists are: Cindy Venard, a fifth grade teacher at Soule Intermediate Center, USD 443 Garden City; Julie Miller, a kindergarten music and science teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School, USD 368 Paola; Marilyn Fox, a science teacher at Susan B. Anthony Middle School, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden; Jennifer Hartman, a music teacher at Clear Creek Elementary School, USD 232 De Soto; Walt Cochran, a
November 22, 2008
history/government teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School, USD 231 Gardner-Edgerton; Mary Martha Good, a kindergarten teacher at Skelly Elementary School, USD 490 El Dorado; and Mary Bradshaw, an ELL teacher at Chisholm Middle School, USD 373 Newton.
Couchman has been a mathematics teacher at Buhler High School for the past 14 years. She has nineteen years experience in the classroom. She was a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2007. Cindy is also a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescence and Young Adulthood, Mathematics.
In a letter of nomination Dayna Richardson, USD 313 assistant superintendent, writes,” Cindy is a master teacher; she focuses on student learning. She inspires her students; failure is not an option in her classroom.”
Cindy feels that before you can teach a child, you must demonstrate that you care. She begins each year with students writing letters to her—they answer questions about themselves, how they learn best, and what they would like her to know about them. Letting them know from the first day in class that she values, wants and needs their opinions and feedback creates a collaborative environment.
A colleague, Marilyn Bolton, writes in a letter of support, “Cindy Couchman is a passionate math teacher with energy that awes both colleagues and students. The level of expectation is so high, yet students continue to take advanced mathematics classes with her in unprecedented numbers. These students know what Mrs. Couchman brings to the classroom: an unfailing commitment to their success, a matchless sense of humor, and the incredible energy level that provides opportunities for ‘as long as it takes’ for the student to experience success. So many students see her classroom as a ‘home away from home’ and it is rare to visit Room 214 before or after classes when students are not working with her or seeking her counsel.”
As Teacher of the Year, Couchman 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 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.”
November 22, 2008
Couchman 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 2009 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Couchman 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, Couchman 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 Couchman to use while fulfilling her Teacher of the Year duties.
All eight members of the 2009 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 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.