TOPEKA — Jonathan Ferrell, a sixth-grade science teacher at Briarwood Elementary School in Overland Park (Shawnee Mission Unified School District 512), and Jason Sickel, a high school vocal music teacher at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229), were named Region 3 finalists for the 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year award during a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 11, in Overland Park. This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.
As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Ferrell and Sickel each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are each now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov. 19.
Ferrell and Sickel were among six Teacher of the Year semifinalists from Region 3, which covers the third U.S. congressional district.
Other semifinalists were Julie A. McEathron, an early childhood special education teacher at the Earl Watson Jr. Early Childhood Center in Kansas City (Kansas City USD 500); Heather James, a first-grade teacher at Valley Park Elementary School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229); Kristen E. Holmes, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Westridge Middle School in Overland Park (Shawnee Mission USD 512); and Lindsay McCracken, a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Bonner Springs High School (Bonner Springs-Edwardsville USD 204).
Each of the semifinalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. This year, 103 educators across the state were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.
Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators and higher education representatives to select semifinalists and finalists from each region.
Each panel selects six semifinalists — three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semifinalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the state’s eight regional finalists.
The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession.
The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, serve as ambassadors for education in Kansas, making public appearances across the state promoting education and the teaching profession.
The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as National Teacher of the Year.
The National Teacher of the Year program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation.
Communications and Recognition Programs
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