Kansas State Department of Education

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Kansas Horizon Award Program

The Kansas Horizon Award program identifies and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.

The mission of the program is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. 

General Qualifications:                                 

Novice teachers who have met all requirements on any license type with the exceptions of emergency substitute and emergency standard substitute licenses, which do not qualify, are eligible to be nominated. Teachers who are completing an alternative route and teaching under a pre-standard license (still in the process of completing the professional education or preservice program) are also eligible to be nominated.

Applications will be submitted in October  of their second year of teaching, and recognition will occur in February of their second year. The criteria for this award are:

  • Nominee will have successfully completed his or her first year of teaching in a prekindergarten through grade 12 Kansas school accredited by the State Board of Education.
  • Nominee will be a full-time classroom teacher.
  • Nominee will be responsible for the assessment of students, assignment of grades, preparation of lesson plans, parent-teacher conferences, discipline, attendance, and other daily educational tasks.
  • Nominee will have performed in a way that distinguishes him or her from other novice teachers.
  • Nominee will be selected by the school district superintendent and building principal.

Selection Process:

The Kansas Horizon Award Program is a regional competition. The regions correspond to the state’s four U.S. congressional districts.

The Kansas State Department of Education will appoint regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region for a total of 32 teachers.

2020 Kansas Horizon Award Application (Available late August 2019)


2018 Kansas Horizon Award Recipients

Region 1

Katie Crowsey, Lyons Middle School, Lyons USD 405

Tanner Dahlke, Riley Elementary School, Great Bend USD 428

Taylor Gros, Bluemont Elementary School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

Arika Haresnape, Clifton-Clyde High School, Clifton-Clyde USD 224

Mandy Malone, Hutchinson Middle School, Hutchinson USD 308

Kelly Oberheu, Emporia High School, Emporia USD 253

Jessica Steele, Cottonwood Elementary School, Salina USD 305

Courtney Unruh, Hutchinson Magnet School, Hutchinson USD 308


Region 2

Lindy Broeckelman, Logan Elementary School, Seaman USD 345

Brandon Daley, Woodlawn Elementary School, Lawrence USD 497

April Gee, Valley Heights Junior Senior High School, Valley Heights USD 498

Avery Ozier, Pauline Central Primary School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437

Samuel Parrilla, Burlington Middle/High School, Burlington USD 244

Derek Smith, Southern Coffey County High School, Southern Coffey County USD 245

Ashley Snow, Lakeside Elementary School, Pittsburg USD 250

Berenice Weisel, Southwest Middle School, Lawrence USD 497


Region 3

Sarah Broddle, Monticello Trails Middle School, De Soto USD 232

Paige Fickbohm, Oak Grove Elementary School, Turner USD 202

Christopher Hagedorn, Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill USD 230

Melissa Kinzer, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233

Alexandria Mackenzie, Apache Innovative School, Shawnee Mission USD 512

Katie Omo, Prairie Ridge Elementary School, De Soto USD 232

Michael Richards, Oxford Middle School, Blue Valley USD 229

Michaela Shandy, Blue River Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229


Region 4

Connor Christensen, Apollo Elementary School, Goddard USD 265

Hilary Cosgrove, Freeman Elementary School, Haysville USD 261

Hannah Martin, Maize South Middle School, Maize USD 266

Constance Neale, Slate Creek Elementary School, Newton USD 373

Carlyn Olson, Winfield High School, Winfield USD 465

Colleen Tajchman, Derby Hills Elementary School, Derby USD 260

Rachel Villareale, Rose Hill Middle School, Rose Hill USD 394

Jessica Williams, Stafford Middle/High School, Stafford USD 349



Communications and Recognition Programs
Team Director

Denise Kahler
(785) 296-4876

Questions about this
page contact:

Cheryl Franklin
(785) 296-4909

Tamla Miller
(785) 296-4950

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