Nine Olathe teachers are semifinalists for statewide awards

A district committee has chosen nine highly qualified educators as semifinalists in two statewide award programs. The educators are being considered as district nominees for the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year Award and the 2015 Emporia State University Master Teacher Award.

Elementary Kansas Teacher of the Year semifinalists: Lyndsay Cast, fifth-grade teacher at Bentwood Elementary School; Gayla Posch, fourth-grade teacher at Tomahawk Elementary School; and Betsy Prestridge, fourth-grade teacher at Countryside Elementary School.

Secondary Kansas Teacher of the Year semifinalists: Blake Revelle, eCommunication instructor at Olathe Northwest High School; Eric Griffin, instrumental music teacher at Mission Trail Middle School; and Carol Beaver, math teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School.

Emporia State University Master Teacher semifinalists: Maureen Donegan, social science coordinator at the Instructional Resource Center; Bilinda Hulse, fifth-grade teacher at Heatherstone Elementary School; and Dena Steen, third-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School.

District selection committees chose the semifinalists from applications representing each school and others working in classrooms. The Master Teacher Award nominees may include administrators, librarians, counselors and others in important roles who aren’t assigned to a particular classroom.

“It’s very important to have an awards program that can honor a broader spectrum of educators,” said Executive Director of Human Resources Jim Payne.

“The committee has a real task to read through application materials and select a few people from the number of very highly qualified people who are nominated,” he added. “We are really lucky to have so many caring professionals in Olathe.”

The semifinalists will be videotaped in an interview and while teaching. The selection committee will meet Dec. 9 to select one district finalist for each of the three awards. The district finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year will submit an application to the Kansas State Department of Education in the spring. The district finalist for Emporia State University’s Master Teacher award will complete a portfolio to submit next fall.

All building nominees will be honored at the district’s Teacher Recognition Ceremony at 5 p.m. April 8 at Frontier Trail Middle School.


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