KSDE Weekly

Feature Story

Six educators named as finalists for Kansas Teacher of the Year

Last announcement will be made Saturday in Salina

Six outstanding Kansas educators were announced as regional finalists for the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year award during ceremonies this past weekend. And the final two regional winners will be announced Saturday, April 1, in Salina. 

The 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year Regional Award Banquets kicked off Saturday, March 25, in Wichita. Melissa Haney, a science teacher at Explorer Elementary School, Goddard Unified School District 265, and Joanna Farmer, an agriculture teacher at Southeast High School, Wichita USD 259, were named Region 4 finalists at the Wichita ceremony. 

On Sunday, March 26, the Region 2 Award Banquet took place in Topeka, where Fonda Telthorst, a music teacher at Piper Prairie Elementary School, Piper Unified School District 203, and Cherryl Delacruz, a mathematics teacher at Highland Park High School, Topeka USD 501, were named Region 2 finalists. 

Later that same day, the Region 3 finalists were announced in Overland Park. Michelle Tapko, a sixth-grade teacher at Roesland Elementary School, Shawnee Mission Unified School District 512, and Taylor Bussinger, a social studies teacher at Prairie Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233, were announced. 

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. 

Posted: Mar 30, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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