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124 educators from across state to be recognized during Kansas Teacher of the Year ceremonies

Eight finalists will vie for 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year title

More than 120 teachers nominated for the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year program will be recognized at ceremonies across the state this weekend and next. 

The announcement of semifinalists and finalists for the program will be made at these ceremonies. 

The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession. 

This year, 124 educators from across the state were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction. Nominations are made in each of the four congressional districts in the state. 

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators and higher education representatives to select semifinalists and finalists from each region. 

Each panel selects six semifinalists – three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semifinalists, 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 state’s eight regional finalists.  

All eight regional finalists will gather Saturday, Sept. 23, in Wichita at the Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet for the announcement of the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year. 

Every year, the Kansas Teacher of the Year is available through the Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship to conduct workshops for school personnel, visit with teams of teachers or serve as a keynote speaker for school districts. The Kansas Teacher of the Year, as well as the other seven regional finalists, comprise the Kansas Teacher of the Year Team. The team is also available to give presentations across the state. 

KSDE began administering the Kansas Teacher of the Year program in 1992.  

Each Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as a National Teacher of the Year through the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). 

Tabatha Rosproy, the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year, was the latest Kansan to receive the national distinction. She was named the 2020 National Teacher of the Year and was the first early childhood educator to be named a finalist since 1991. Marjorie French, who was a math teacher at Topeka High School, Topeka USD 501, also received the national title in 1962. 

Past finalists from Kansas include Joshua Anderson, 2007 (speech and debate, language arts, Olathe Northwest High School, Olathe USD 233); Ronald Poplau, 2006 (community service, Shawnee Mission High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512); Tracy Taylor Callard, 2002 (elementary, Wichita Collegiate School); Darla Mallein, 1998 (American history, Emporia Middle School, Emporia USD 253). 

The 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year Regional Award Banquets will take place March 25 and 26 and April 1 at locations throughout Kansas. See the listing below: 

When: Saturday, March 25, Sunday, March 26, and Saturday, April 1. 

Saturday, March 25: 

  • Region 4 – Wichita. 
  • Time: Doors open at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. 
  • Location: Wichita Marriott Hotel, 9100 E. Corporate Hills Drive. 

Sunday, March 26: 

  • Region 2 - Topeka. 
  • Time: Doors open at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. 
  • Location: Townsite Tower, 534 S. Kansas Ave. 
  • Region 3 – Overland Park. 
  • Time: Reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. 
  • Location: Sheraton Overland Park Hotel, 6100 College Blvd. 

Saturday, April 1: 

  • Region 1 - Salina. 
  • Reception at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. 
  • Location: Tony’s Pizza Event Center, 800 The Midway. 

This year’s nominees are listed below, along with the name of their school and their district. 

Region 1


  • Courtney Adkins, Buhler Grade School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Tawanna Berry, Park Elementary School, Lyons USD 405.
  • Molly Brown, Eisenhower Elementary School, Great Bend USD 428.
  • Desiree Cooper, Scott City Middle School, Scott County USD 466.
  • Rashelle DeWeese, Syracuse Elementary School, Syracuse USD 494.
  • Lindsey Graham, Lincoln Elementary School, Clay County USD 379
  • Brooke Heiter, North Elementary School, Goodland USD 352.
  • Sheila Hessman, Ross Elementary School, Dodge City USD 443.
  • Chantay Hill, Heusner Elementary School, Salina USD 305.
  • Lisa Juel, Garden City Achieve, J.D. Adams Hall, Garden City USD 457.
  • Carla Kerbow, Hugoton Elementary School, Hugoton USD 210.
  • Cori Krol, Haven Elementary School, Haven USD 312.
  • Patricia Lujan, Hickok Elementary School, Ulysses USD 214.
  • Meghan Mai, Washington Elementary School, McPherson USD 418.
  • Serena Marquez, Marlatt Elementary School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383.
  • Erin Pittenger, St. George Elementary School, Rock Creek USD 323.
  • Lachelle Spann, Wiley Elementary School, Hutchinson USD 308.
  • Kandy Williams, West Elementary School, Wamego USD 320.


  • Collin Carlson, Salina South High School, Salina USD 305.
  • Ismael Carrillo Navarrete Jr., Liberal Sr. High School, Liberal USD 480.
  • Raul De La Torre Jr., Dodge City Middle School, Dodge City USD 443.
  • Gretchen Elliott, Smoky Valley High School, Smoky Valley USD 400.
  • Kelly Estes, Wamego High School, Wamego USD 320.
  • Danielle Evans, Rock Creek Middle School, Rock Creek USD 323.
  • Celeste Hamel, Clay Center Community High School, Clay County USD 379.
  • Jennifer Hegwood, Ulysses High School, Ulysses USD 214.
  • Alice Hilt, Garden City High School, Garden City USD 457.
  • Cheri Hopson, Goodland Jr/Sr. High School, Goodland USD 352.
  • Haleigh Jung, Manhattan High School East/West Campus, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383.
  • Brian McCandless, Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson USD 308.
  • Brian Moler, Buhler High School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Andrew Scherer, Lyons Middle School, Lyons USD 405.
  • Marcia Skinner, Hugoton Middle School, Hugoton USD 210.
  • Karl Stover, Ellsworth High School, Ellsworth USD 327.
  • Kyle Unruh, McPherson High School, McPherson USD 418.
  • Jennifer Wieberg, Deerfield High School, Deerfield USD 216.

Region 2


  • Kendra Cochran, North Fairview Elementary School, Seaman USD 345.
  • Melissa Criqui, Marais Des Cygnes Valley Elementary School, Marais Des Cygnes Valley USD 456.
  • Monica Dutcher, Pinckney Elementary School, Lawrence USD 497.
  • Kim Goll, MacArthur Elementary School, Fort Leavenworth USD 207.
  • Tracie Holcomb, Shawnee Heights Elementary School, Shawnee Heights USD 450.
  • Caitlan Johnston, Gray Hawk Elementary School, Basehor-Linwood USD 458.
  • Allen Lake, McEachron Elementary School, Topeka USD 501.
  • Olga McAlpine, Jackson Heights Elementary School, Jackson Heights USD 335.
  • Elizabeth Olorunfemi, Overbrook Attendance Center, Santa Fe Trail USD 434.
  • Megan Powers, Riverside Elementary School, Emporia USD 253.
  • Kathleen Reed, Osage City Elementary School, Osage City USD 420.
  • Brittany Scott, Ware Elementary School, Geary County USD 475.
  • Christine St. John, Lincoln Memorial Elementary School, Caney Valley USD 436.
  • Emily Stark, Richard Warren Intermediate School, Leavenworth USD 453.
  • Fonda Telthorst, Piper Prairie Elementary School, Piper-Kansas City USD 203.
  • Kendra Temaat, Eudora Elementary School, Eudora USD 491.
  • Jamey Thomas-Andrews, Indian Hills Elementary School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
  • Casey Wright, Baldwin Elementary Intermediate Center, Baldwin City USD 348.


  • Danielle Balsman, Baldwin High School, Baldwin USD 348.
  • Michael Brown, Junction City High School, Geary County USD 475.
  • Cherryl Delacruz, Highland Park High School, Topeka USD 501.
  • Sara Gillespie, Shawnee Heights High School, Shawnee Heights USD 450.
  • Jessica Greenfield, Humboldt High School, Humboldt USD 258.
  • Amy Harper, Fort Scott Sr. High School, Fort Scott USD 234.
  • Travis Henry, Jackson Middle/High School, North Jackson USD 335.
  • Robert Jackson, Seaman Middle School, Seaman USD 345.
  • Misty Lawson, Emporia Middle School, Emporia USD 253.
  • Diana Roney, Washburn Rural Middle School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
  • Zachary Saltz, Lawrence High School, Lawrence USD 497.
  • Scott Steinlage, Basehor-Linwood Middle School, Basehor-Linwood USD 458.
  • Shane Stout, Piper High School, Piper-Kansas City USD 203.
  • Brian White, Lansing High School, Lansing USD 469.
  • Kristen Whitten, Richard Warren Middle School, Leavenworth USD 453.

Region 3


  • Sabrina Andrews, Mize Elementary School, De Soto USD 232.
  • Anne Atkinson, Junction Elementary School, Turner-Kansas City USD 202.
  • Morgan Bradford, Edwardsville Elementary School, Bonner Springs USD 204.
  • Samantha Crabbs, Wellsville Elementary School, Wellsville USD 289.
  • Rebecca Finley, Broadmoor Elementary School, Louisburg USD 416.
  • Catherine Karst, Overland Trail Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Jan Lee, Lincoln Elementary School, Ottawa USD 290.
  • Tanya Mathieu, Westview Elementary School, Olathe USD 233.
  • Celia Merino, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Kansas City USD 500.
  • Julie Oakley, Sunflower Elementary School, Paola USD 368.
  • Michelle Tapko, Roesland Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.
  • Laurie Tyner, Central Heights Elementary School, Central Heights USD 288.
  • Michelle Uptegrove, Edgerton Elementary School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Jamie Wyse, Timber Sage Elementary School, Spring Hill USD 230.


  • Taylor Bussinger, Prairie Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233.
  • Andrew Elliott, Mill Creek Middle School, De Soto USD 232.
  • Sydney Goldman, Paola Middle School, Paola USD 368.
  • Brandon Hawks, Blue Valley Southwest High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Adrianne Lane, Louisburg High School, Louisburg USD 416.
  • Matthew Mayeske, Gardner Edgerton High School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Andrea Pate, Turner Middle School, Turner-Kansas City USD 202.
  • LeAnne Richardson, F.L. Schlagle High School, Kansas City USD 500.
  • Sarah Starforth, Arrowhead Day School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.
  • Tierney Thompson, Bonner Springs, Bonner Springs USD 204.
  • Emily Veer, Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill USD 230.

Region 4


  • Casie Davis, Garfield Elementary School, Augusta USD 402.
  • Amanda Du Frain, Wheatland Elementary School, Andover USD 385.
  • Katelyn Graber, Cheney Elementary School, Cheney USD 268.
  • Melissa Haney, Explorer Elementary School, Goddard USD 265.
  • Tia Massey, Valley Center Intermediate School, Valley Center USD 262.
  • Joell Matlack, Halstead Middle School, Halstead USD 440.
  • Brooke McGown, Circle Benton Elementary School, Circle USD 375.
  • Emily Noe, Stone Creek Elementary School, Derby USD 260.
  • Stephanie Owen, Freeman Elementary School, Haysville USD 261.
  • Cassidy Ricke, South Barber PreK-6, South Barber USD 255.
  • Nicole Schell, Garden Plain Elementary School, Renwick USD 267.
  • Katherine Todd, Maize Elementary School, Maize USD 266.
  • Miranda Turner, Harper Elementary School, Chaparral USD 361.
  • Elizabeth Wall, Irving Elementary School, Winfield USD 465.
  • Amanda Warkentine, South Breeze Elementary School, Newton USD 373.


  • Leslie Bruna, Andale High School, Renwick USD 267.
  • Michael Bumgarner, Winfield High School, Winfield USD 465.
  • Joanna Farmer, Southeast High School, Wichita USD 259.
  • Joel Gerber, Chaparral Jr/Sr High School, Chaparral USD 361.
  • Joan Grover, Flinthills High School, Flinthills USD 492.
  • Zachary Helgesen, Maize High School, Maize USD 266.
  • Katherine Hollas, Goddard Middle School, Goddard USD 265.
  • Jelinda Keeling, El Dorado High School, El Dorado USD 490.
  • Joshua Kelly, Haysville Middle School, Haysville USD 261.
  • Sarah Koehn, Andover High School, Andover USD 385.
  • Renee Teague, Cheney High School, Cheney USD 268.
  • Rebecca Timberlake, Augusta Sr. High School, Augusta USD 402.
  • Lauren Van Allen, Oxford Jr/Sr High School, Oxford USD 358.
  • Brandon Wade, Pratt Sr. High School, Pratt USD 382.
  • Amanda Walls, Derby Middle School, Derby USD 260.
Posted: Mar 23, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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