Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
EMBARGOED UNTIL 2:00 P.M. ON SUN., SEPT. 12, 2010
Two area teachers named finalists for
Kansas Teacher of the Year
TOPEKA—Sept. 12, 2010—Linda G. Irvin-Wiersma, a fourth-grade teacher at Sunflower Elementary School in Paola (Paola USD 368), and Curtis Chandler, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Wamego Middle School (Wamego USD 320), were named Region 2 finalists for the 2011 Kansas Teacher of the Year award today.
The announcements were made during ceremonies at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka. As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Irvin-Wiersma and Chandler each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major partner in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, an announcement that will be made during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov.20.
Irvin-Wiersma and Chandler were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 2, which covers the second U.S. congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Kevin P. Miller, an elementary music teacher at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School in Leavenworth (Leavenworth USD 453); Lori Rice, a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary School in Wamego (Wamego USD 320); Jacqueline (Jackie) J. Tappan, a seventh-grade reading/literature teacher at Louisburg Middle School (Louisburg USD 416); and Louis Di Leonardo, a high school English and broadcast journalism teacher at Seaman High School in Topeka (Seaman USD 345). Each of the semi-finalists received a red marble apple, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Statewide, 90 educators were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.
Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels to select semi-finalists and finalists from each region. The selection panels are comprised of teachers, education administrators, and higher education representatives.
Each panel selects six semi-finalists, three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the regional finalists.
The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is then eligible for national distinction as Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the University of Phoenix Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs. The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, travels the state advocating for education and the teaching profession.
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