Susanne Stevenson, a fourth-grade teacher at Beeson Elementary School, Dodge City Unified School District 443, and Amber Carithers, an English language arts teacher at Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson USD 308, were named Region 1 finalists for the 2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year award during a virtual ceremony Saturday, March 27. This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.
In prior years, the Kansas Teacher of the Year finalist ceremony has taken place in person. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took place virtually this year.
As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Stevenson and Carithers each will receive 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 a ceremony Saturday, Sept 25, in Wichita.
Stevenson and Carithers were among six Teacher of the Year semifinalists from Region 1, which covers the first U.S. congressional district.
Other semifinalists were Rachel Harder, a fourth-grade teacher at Union Valley Elementary School, Buhler USD 313; Kendra Stoppel, a first-grade teacher at Scott City Elementary School, Scott City USD 466; Christi Reid, a seventh-grade mathematics teacher at Lyons Middle School, Lyons USD 405; and Lisa Renz, an English teacher at Hays High School, Hays USD 489.
Each of the semifinalists will receive a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan.
This year, 138 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 (KSDE), 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, serves as an ambassador 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.
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