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Two Kansas teachers receive 2024 Milken Educator Award

Two Kansas teachers receive 2024 Milken Educator Award

Two Kansas teachers on Thursday, Feb. 8, received the surprise of a lifetime when they were presented with a national Milken Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation. The prestigious recognition comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize and honors outstanding educators across the country for excellence in and out of the classroom.

Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The specific states and schools on this year’s winners’ list remain a closely guarded secret until each Award is announced.

Alex Lahasky

Alex Lahasky teaches 11th grade social studies at Blue Valley West High School, Blue Valley USD 229, his alma mater.

Lahasky is known for helping students delve into history, igniting a passion for the past and establishing meaningful connections to the present. He follows the Socratic method, using open-ended questions to stimulate conversation and higher-order inquiry. He brings history to life, implementing a spy simulation during the Cold War unit and creating mixtapes comprised of his renditions of pop and rap songs that illustrate historical events and the meanings they evoke.

Lahasky has seen a nearly 90% pass rate on the AP exam based on the scores of more than 150 of his students during the past five years. Additionally, students earning college credit increased from 60-90% between students taking the AP exam and those choosing dual enrollment through Lahasky’s partnership with Baker University.

Beyond the classroom, he actively engages with incoming freshmen, introducing them to high school life. He also is involved in the Advisory Leadership Team.. Additionally, he initiated and continues to oversee biweekly meetings for new teachers, equipping them with essential tools for success in their roles. Outside of academic leadership, Lahasky serves as the school’s assistant baseball coach.

He earned his Bachelor of Science in social science and secondary education in 2014 from William Carey University and a Master of Arts in history in 2016 from Pittsburg State University.

Matt Mayeske

Matt Mayeske teaches 9th and 10th grade social studies at Gardner Edgerton High School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231, his alma mater.

Mayeske brings real-world scenarios into his classroom.  Specifically, he has implemented a yearlong roleplaying game where students create a family and participate in simulation activities for each unit. Additionally, he orchestrates a French Revolution simulation and a strategy-style conflict activity. In geography, students study interactive maps using GIS technology to analyze data and trends on a deep level.

Outside of the classroom, Mayeske leads several after-school clubs including Diversity Club; Link Crew, a leadership program of upperclassmen who mentor younger students; Geography Club; Table Gaming Club; Anime Club; and the Ping Pong Club. Additionally, he leads the Climate and Culture Committee and actively participates in the school’s Building Leadership Team and SITE Council. He also coaches track, and serves as an announcer for football, soccer and wrestling.

Mayeske earned a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education in 2018 from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a Master of Science in education with a specialization in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) from Pittsburg State University in 2020.

Posted: Feb 8, 2024,
Comments: 0,
Tags: Milken

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