KSDE Weekly

Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition

2020 Kansas Horizon Award program recognizes 32 first-year educators

Thirty-two first-year educators from Kansas are being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the 2020 Kansas Horizon Award program.

The 2020 Kansas Horizon Award recipients were announced Jan. 7 by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

The first-year educators will be honored at a special ceremony during the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) State Education Conference on Feb. 14 in Topeka.

The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by KSDE, allows all school districts in the state an opportunity to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award. To be eligible for the award, teachers must have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding.

The program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. congressional districts. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers may be selected for the award from each region.

Recipients of the 2020 Kansas Horizon Award were notified of their selection by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.

 “We are fortunate to have such quality teachers in classrooms across Kansas,” Watson said. “I want to congratulate these first-year educators. It is because of them that we move closer to our vision of leading the world in the success of each student.”


Region 1

  • Elly Dice, North Lyon County Elementary School, North Lyon County USD 251.
  • Christina Frost, Council Grove Elementary School, Morris County USD 417.
  • Mariannet Herrera, Western Plains High School, Western Plains USD 106.
  • Lillian Lingenfelter, Peabody-Burns Middle School, Peabody-Burns USD 398.
  • Carrie Pilkington, St. George Elementary School, Rock Creek USD 323.
  • Lisa Pluff, Manhattan High School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383.
  • Caroline Riggenbach, Plum Creek Elementary School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Kyle Van Vogelpoel, Rock Creek Junior-Senior High School, Rock Creek USD 323.

Region 2

  • Chad Aberle, West Middle School, Lawrence USD 497.
  • Kaylee Barber, Washburn Rural High School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
  • Tristan Bartley, McLouth Middle/High School, McLouth USD 342.
  • Heather Corley, Anderson County Junior-Senior High School, Garnett USD 365.
  • Sidney Doty, Berryton Elementary School, Shawnee Heights USD 450.
  • Allison Flinn, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa USD 341.
  • Tawni Schraad, Randolph Elementary School, Topeka USD 501.
  • Scotti Twombly, Hiawatha Elementary School, Hiawatha USD 415.

Region 3

  • Emily Baden, Nike Elementary School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Samantha Collins, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233.
  • Katie Cox, Turner Middle School, Turner USD 202.
  • Blake Fingalsen, Rhein Benninghoven Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.
  • Bennett Johnson, Heritage Elementary School, Olathe USD 233.
  • Paige Lankford, Blue Valley West High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Matthew Lundy, Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill USD 230.
  • Emily Moore, Overland Trail Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229.

Region 4

  • Victoria Bay, Andover Central Middle School, Andover USD 385.
  • Keegan Hallmark, Andover Middle School, Andover USD 385.
  • Kacie Johnson, El Dorado Middle School, El Dorado USD 490.
  • Chasmyn Lindeman-Thimesch, Cloud Elementary School, Wichita USD 259.
  • Crystal Logan, Mulvane High School, Mulvane USD 263.
  • Kelley Lowe, W.D. Munson Primary School, Mulvane USD 263.
  • Mollie Mills-Weis, Newton High School, Newton USD 373.
  • Kali Stearns, Circle Towanda Elementary School, Circle USD 375.


As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to join KEEN, a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in several professional development programs throughout the year.               


Posted: Jan 7, 2020,
Categories: KSDE,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

Theme picker

Copyright 2024 by Kansas State Department of Education | 900 SW Jackson St. | Topeka, KS 66612 Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use  |  System Maintenance Notices  |  Open Records (PDF)

The Kansas State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. (more information...)

To accommodate people with disabilities, on request, auxiliary aides and services will be provided and reasonable modifications to policies and programs will be made. To request accommodations or for more information please contact the Office of General Counsel at gc@ksde.org or by 785-296-3201.