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Eight Kansas educators named 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year finalists

Eight Kansas educators named 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year finalists

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) announced the eight finalists and semi-finalists for the 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) award during regional banquets attended by more than 500 educators from across the state on April 6-7.

Selected by the four Kansas U.S. congressional districts, the eight finalists are as follows:

Region 1 Finalists

  • Whitney Aves, Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson USD 308
  • Maegen Stucky, Roosevelt Elementary School, McPherson USD 418

Region 2 Finalists

  • Elizabeth Anstine, Leavenworth Sr. High School, Leavenworth USD 453
  • Benjamin Eckelberry, Tecumseh North Elementary School, Shawnee Heights USD 450

Region 3 Finalists

  • Ryan Mellick, Bonner Springs High School, Bonner Springs USD 204
  • Amber Pagan, Nieman Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512

Region 4 Finalists

  • Erik Stone, Gordon Parks Academy, Wichita USD 259
  • Olivia Winegeart, Paul B. Cooper Elementary School, Derby USD 260

The Kansas Teacher of the Year finalists each have received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the KTOY program. They are also eligible to be named the 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year.

The KTOY program is unique among other states in how the Kansas Teacher of the Year and the other seven finalists travel together throughout the state as a team, serving as ambassadors for Kansas education when they visit schools, make public appearances and promote education throughout the state. 

In the next few weeks, the KTOY finalists will be interviewed by KSDE, will make presentations based on a given topic, will be asked a series of education-based questions and will have their classroom videotaped for five minutes. All of this information will be reviewed this summer by the KTOY state selection committee comprised of 35 to 40 K-12 educators, higher education representatives, legislators and business people. The committee will choose the 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year who will be announced during a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Wichita.

The Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for selection as National Teacher of the Year, a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with the Voya Foundation.

The Kansas Teacher of the Year Team webpage can be found here. The lists of the 2025 KTOY semi-finalists can be found by clicking on each of the regional finalists stories under KSDE News on the ksde.org homepage.

Posted: Apr 11, 2024,
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