KSDE Weekly

Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition

2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year to be named Saturday, Sept. 23 in Wichita

This is an exciting weekend for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and eight of the state’s top educators. On Saturday, Sept. 23, KSDE will announce the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year during the Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet in Wichita. 

Selected from a pool of more than 123 nominations, the 2024 finalists are Erin Pittenger, an elementary art teacher at St. George Elementary School (Rock Creek Unified School District 323); Gretchen Elliott, a secondary art teacher at Smoky Valley High School (Smoky Valley USD 400); Fonda Telthorst, an elementary music teacher at Piper Prairie Elementary School (Piper USD 203); Cherryl Delacruz, a high school mathematics teacher at Highland Park High School (Topeka USD 501); Michelle Tapko, a sixth-grade teacher at Roesland Elementary School (Shawnee Mission USD 512); Taylor Bussinger, a social studies teacher at Prairie Trail Middle School (Olathe USD 233); Melissa Haney, an elementary science teacher at Explorer Elementary School (Goddard USD 265); and Joanna Farmer, an agriculture teacher at Southeast High School (Wichita USD 259). 

The 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year class will meet with other Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees for the annual leadership conference on Friday and Saturday morning at the Marriott Hotel in Wichita.  

Friday will include introductions and a presentation on leadership by Cindy Couchman, superintendent for Buhler 313, and Samantha Neill, an educator at Buhler High School. Leah Fliter, assistant executive director for advocacy and governmental relations at the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) will share her presentation, “The Education Landscape,” also on Friday morning.  

Friday afternoon will include time for the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year class to identify goals for their year, as well as a panel presentation by the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year Team. 

Saturday will kick off with “Unleashing Your Super Powers” from Don Epps, Pleasanton USD 344 superintendent and conclude with the Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet, which is also at the Marriott Hotel. 

All eight finalists will receive a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit and a red marble apple from the Master Teacher in Manhattan. Each finalist also receives Capturing Kids’ Hearts training from the Flippen Group, of College Station, Texas, and a one-year membership in the Kansas State Teachers of the Year organization. 

The educator named the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year will receive $4,000; a Kansas Teacher of the Year Lifelong Learning Scholarship to attend participating universities free of charge; and The Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship, which provides funds for travel and other necessary expenses incurred by the Kansas Teacher of the Year. The recipient also will receive the use of a rental car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car for travel and a Leader in Education ring from Jostens Inc. 

The 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year will become a candidate for the 2024 National Teacher of the Year designation. 

Congratulations to all 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees and finalists. We can’t wait to celebrate alongside each of you. 

Posted: Sep 21, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush
Tags: KTOY

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