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2021 Kansas Horizon Award program recognizes 32 first-year educators

TOPEKA — Thirty-two first-year educators from Kansas are being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award program.

The 2021 Kansas Horizon Award recipients were announced Jan. 7 by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by KSDE, gives 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 2021 Kansas Horizon Award were notified of their selection by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.

“I want to commend these outstanding educators,” Watson said. "Thanks to the pandemic, this group has experienced anything but a typical first year in the teaching profession. And to be singled out by their districts for their extraordinary performance makes me both proud and excited to have them in Kansas classrooms.”


Region 1

  • Larrah Bills, Heusner Elementary School, Salina USD 305.
  • Hanna Lehr, Buhler High School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Shelby Mann, Norton Community High School, Norton Community Schools USD 211.
  • Sam Pahls, Prairie Hills Middle School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Nicholas Preheim, Hutchinson STEM Magnet School at Allen, Hutchinson USD 308.
  • Elizabeth Ratzlaff, Moundridge Middle/High School, Moundridge USD 423.
  • Paige Stewart, Hutchinson Middle School, Hutchinson USD 308.
  • Sarah Wedel, Park Elementary School, Lyons USD 405.

Region 2

  • Spencer Feldkamp, Ottawa High School, Ottawa USD 290.
  • Lindsay Francis, Lincoln Elementary School, Fredonia USD 484.
  • Allyson Gilmore, Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence USD 497.
  • Sarah Kennedy, West Indianola Elementary School, Seaman USD 345.
  • Haydee Martinez Bretado, Scott Dual Language Magnet, Topeka USD 501.
  • Ruochen Shen, Eudora High School, Eudora USD 491.
  • Tricia Wyckoff, Southeast Elementary School, Southeast USD 247.
  • Dr. David Yoo, Baldwin High School, Baldwin USD 348.

Region 3

  • Sydney Clarke, Wheatridge Middle School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Molly Dugan, Spring Hill Middle School, Spring Hill USD 230.
  • Kassidy Evans, Blue Valley Northwest High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Rachel Leonard, F.L. Schlagle High School, Kansas City USD 500.
  • Kelsey Mackeprang, Junction Elementary School, Turner USD 202.
  • Emily Mauer, Timber Creek Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Abigail Morris, Stony Point North Elementary School, Kansas City USD 500.
  • Susan Specht, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.

Region 4

  • Micaela Heinrich, Maize South High School, Maize USD 266.
  • Brooke Hernandez, Andover Middle School, Andover USD 385.
  • Victoria Hoerst, Wheatland Elementary School, Andover USD 385.
  • Candice Michaud, Haysville West Middle School, Haysville USD 261.
  • Shonna Miller, Rex Elementary School, Haysville USD 261.
  • Alison Nikkel, Hesston Elementary School, Hesston USD 460.
  • Madison Sites, Pray-Woodman Elementary School, Maize USD 266.
  • Rebekah Wendland, Derby High School, Derby USD 260.

As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (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.

Each awardee will receive a cash award sponsored by The Capitol Federal Foundation

Posted: Jan 7, 2021,
Categories: KSDE,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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