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Liberal, Dodge City Instructors Finalists For Teacher Of The Year

KSCB News - September 6, 2014 9:42 pm

Jennifer Hofferber, a special education teacher for students in grades 4-6 at Sunflower Intermediate School in Liberal (Liberal USD 480), and Shannon Ralph, a high school biology teacher at Dodge City High School (Dodge City USD 443), were named Region 1 finalists for the 2015 Kansas Teacher of the Year award during a ceremony held today at the Salina Country Club. This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.

As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Hofferber and Ralph each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, each finalist is now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on November 22.

Hofferber and Ralph were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 1, which covers the first U.S. congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Drenda Higgins, a second-grade teacher at Moundridge Elementary School (Moundridge USD 423); Ashley Messick, a first-grade teacher at Northview Elementary School in Manhattan (Manhattan-Ogden USD 383); Dr. Casey Ewy, a special education teacher at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Manhattan (Manhattan-Ogden USD 383); and Michael Petermann, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Wamego Middle School (Wamego USD 320). Each of the semi-finalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Ninety-eight 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 semi-finalists and finalists from each region.

Each panel selects six semi-finalists – three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, 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 and sponsored by Voya and People to People Ambassador Programs.


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