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2022 Kansas Regional Teachers of the Year 


Amber R. Carithers, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grades 10, 12 English Language Arts

Hutchinson USD 308
Hutchinson High School
810 East 13th
Hutchinson, KS 67501

Email: carithersa@usd308.com
Phone: (620) 615-4100

Amber R. Carithers

Amber Carithers teaches English language arts at Hutchinson high School, Hutchinson Unified School District 308.

She has taught eight years at Hutchinson High School
Carithers has an associate of arts degree From Hutchinson Community College. She transferred to Wichita State University to receive her bachelor’s in secondary English education. Carithers continued her education and received a master’s degree in teaching from Friends University and a master’s degree of liberal studies in literary arts at Fort Hays State University.

Carithers teaches online graduate teacher workshops at Friends and Baker universities. She is a member of the English Language Arts Task Force, Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) Building Leadership Team, co-starter of the Graber Elementary and HHS Classroom Connections, social committee president and Hutchinson High School Book Club adviser. She also has led a book study about creating trauma-sensitive classrooms for classified and certified staff members in her district.





Natalie R. Johnson-Berry, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grades 9 and 12 English

Shawnee Mission USD 512
Shawnee Mission North High School
7401 Johnson Drive
Shawnee Mission, KS 66202-2394

Email: nataliejohnson@smsd.org
Phone: (913) 993-6900

Natalie R. Johnson-Berry

Natalie Johnson-Berry teaches ninth- and 12th-grade English at Shawnee Mission North High School, Shawnee Mission Unified School District 512.
Johnson-Berry has been an educator for 22 years, having taught at schools in Kansas, Missouri and Georgia. She is a National Board-Certified teacher and received the first year Sallie Mae Teacher Award for Excellence.

Johnson-Berry had a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in teaching from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and an education specialist degree in leadership from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

As a Deep Equity leadership team member and trainer for her district and building, Johnson-Berry facilitates professional development for faculty to implement culturally responsive practices. She founded the Black Student Union at her school, resulting in more unions districtwide. Johnson-Berry also is a building and district site council representative.

She received the Clay Blair Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Maya Angelou Excellence Award.




Amanda Ketterling, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grades K-5 Library Media Specialist

Bonner Springs USD 204
Bonner Springs Elementary School
212 S. Neconi
Bonner Springs, KS 66012

Email: ketterlinga@usd204.net
Phone: (913) 441-1777

Amanda Ketterling

Amanda Ketterling serves as the library media specialist at Bonner Springs Elementary School, Bonner Springs USD 204.

She has more than 20 years of teaching experience in the Bonner Springs district. She taught second through fourth grades at Bonner Springs Elementary from 2000-2017.

Ketterling has a bachelor’s degree in education from Bakery University and a master’s in education: library media specialist degree from Fort Hays State University.

Active on the Building Lighthouse and Leadership Active teams, Ketterling is a strong voice in her community, mentoring colleagues, as well as students, to help them discover their own strengths.

She created a buildingwide Spread the Word: Inclusion Unit, which brings awareness of how people with disabilities are treated.

Throughout her career, Ketterling has been honored for professionalism and dedication to her students, receiving the 2013 and 2019 Excellence in Education award, plus the USD 204 Teacher of the Month award in 2018.




Lisa E. Martinez, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grade 9-12 Spanish

Seaman USD 345
Seaman High School
4850 Rochester Rd.
Topeka, KS 66617-1398

Email: lmartinez@usd345.com
Phone: (785) 286-8300

Lisa E. Martinez

Lisa Martinez teaches Spanish at Seaman High School, Seaman Unified School District 345.

She has taught 16 years at Seaman High School.

Martinez has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with an emphasis in secondary education from Washburn University. She also has a master’s degree in education from Baker University and a master’s degree in teaching Spanish language from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Martinez has taught Spanish levels 1 through 5, concurrent college courses and has been an adjunct professor of Spanish at Washburn University.

She is the Seaman High Spanish Club sponsor and SHARP director. Martinez was a Topeka North Rotary Outstanding Educator nominee in 2020 and was named the Seaman USD 345 Secondary Teacher of the Year 2020-2021.

Martinez frequently connects her students to Hispanic role models and native Spanish speakers, both in her community and abroad. She is currently developing a class to serve heritage speakers’ unique needs.




Lisa E. Martinez, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grade 4

Ottawa USD 290
Lincoln Elementary School
1102 Milner
Ottawa, KS 66067-1804

Email: oneillm@usd290.org
Phone: (913) 724-3536

Megan L. O’Neill

Megan O’Neill teaches fourth grade at Lincoln Elementary School, Ottawa Unified School District 290.

She has taught nine years at Lincoln Elementary.

O’Neill has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ottawa University with an emphasis in mathematics.

She has participated in a variety of continuous education opportunities, such as Cognitive Coaching, Kagan Cooperative Structures, the Math Leadership Institute at the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence and more.

As a math leader, O’Neill collaboratively designed and presented math professional developments districtwide. She has been part of Lincoln’s site council and Building Leadership Team in addition to several district committees. O’Neill has mentored multiple aspiring educators and first-year teachers. She is a member of her local teacher’s union and is a representative assembly delegate with the Kansas National Education Association and National Education Association.




Kristin Salazar, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grade 9-12, Business and CTE Courses

Goddard USD 265
Eisenhower High School
1230 S. 167th St. W., P.O. Box 789
Goddard, KS 67052

Email: ksalazar@goddardusd.com
Phone: (785) 794-4190

Kristin Salazar

Kristin Salazar teaches business and Career and Technical Education (CTE) at Eisenhower High School, Goddard Unified School District 265.

Salazar has taught business classes for Goddard USD 265 schools for 23 years. She has taught a variety of classes, which include computer applications, graphic design, computer science principles utilizing the Project Lead the Way curriculum, business essentials, Teaching as a Career, Teaching Observation and the Early Release program.

Salazar has a bachelor’s degree in business education from Fort Hays State University. After teaching two years at Goddard High School, Salazar pursued her master’s degree focusing on curriculum and instruction from Wichita State University.

She sponsors the largest Business Professionals of America chapter in the state of Kansas. Under Salazar’s direction, several members have been awarded at the state and national levels. She also serves on the Kansas State BPA Board of Directors, where she assists in organizing the state leadership conference.

Along with BPA, Salazar stays active coaching track and field throwing events.

Salazar received the 2000-2001 Young Teacher of the Year for Goddard USD 265 and the KAKE TV Golden Apple Award in April 2018.




Laurie Thisius, 2022 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Grade 4

Cheney USD 268
Cheney Elementary School
126 W. 5th Ave.
Cheney, KS 67025

Email: lthisius@usd268.org
Phone: (316) 542-3137

Laurie Thisius

Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year

Laura Thisius teaches fourth grade at Cheney Elementary School, Cheney Unified School District 268.

Thisius taught fourth grade at Rea Woodman Elementary School in Wichita before joining the staff of educators at Cheney Elementary, where she has served for the past 23 years. She has taught both third- and fourth-grade classes at Cheney, and she has sponsored the student council, Recycling Crew, and the Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Dependability and Empathy (PRIDE) Team.

Thisius has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in curriculum and instruction, focusing on classroom technology, from Kansas State University.

She has served in multiple leadership roles and is an active member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International philanthropic sorority, filling both local and state roles.





Kansas Teacher of the Year logo 


For more information about the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, please contact:

Tamla Miller
(785) 296-4950

Communications and Recognition Programs Team Director

Denise Kahler
(785) 296-4876


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