When Basehor-Linwood High School mathematics teacher Jessica Booth received an email recently from the secretary of the Mathematics Department at Pittsburg State University, she was shocked to find out that she had been named the 2017 Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher in Kansas.

“It was completely unexpected,” Booth said. “I was shocked and honored in the spring of 2015 when I was nominated for this award by my soon-to-be principal, Jarred Fuhrman. Last year, a deserving teacher from Carl Junction received the award and while I was slightly disappointed, I still found honor in being nominated. I was shocked this year when I received the email notifying me I had won. It was the last thing I was expecting.”

Booth believes math is like a puzzle. Some of her students understand the puzzle and some tend to struggle with math. She stresses to her students that while they may not directly use math in their chosen profession, being able to use problem-solving skills will be beneficial in their daily lives in the future. She knows that students must be patient as they try to reach the correct solution.

Booth has always had a passion for math. It came easy for her. When she began taking upper-level courses in college, she became hooked. She conveys to her students that math is more than what they are taught at BLHS. Math is everywhere in all aspects of life.

“Not every student learns the same way. Being able to adapt your teaching techniques to help those students is what allows them to be successful,” said Booth.

While several of her students saw Fuhrman’s congratulatory tweet and congratulated her, Booth said the most important recognition has come from colleagues. 

She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Pittsburgh State University. Booth currently teaches algebra and statistics.

The presentation of the award was made last week at the 18th annual Pittsburgh State University Mathematics Department’s High School Math Honor Day. In addition to a trophy, she was also given a monetary award.

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com