A Leavenworth High School social studies teacher has been named a finalist in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

A Leavenworth High School social studies teacher has been named a finalist in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

Sharon Kuchinski is one of eight finalists in the statewide competition. One of the finalists will be named the 2019 Kansas Teacher of the Year in November.

“I’m excited,” Kuchinski said.

She has been teaching in Leavenworth public schools since 2006. She taught at the former West Middle School and Richard W. Warren Middle School before coming to Leavenworth High School. She is now in her third year at the high school where she teaches advanced placement European history, U.S. law and world history.

Earlier this year, Leavenworth public school officials selected Kuchinski to be the school district’s secondary education level representative in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

Lora Crawford, who teaches third grade at Anthony Elementary School, was selected as the district’s elementary education level representative.

A total of 114 educators from across the state were nominated this year for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, according to a news release from the Kansas State Department of Education.

Kuchinski was selected as one of six semifinalists for Region 2 of the Kansas Teacher of the Year competition. Region 2 is the state’s 2nd congressional district, which includes all of Leavenworth County.

Two teachers from the Basehor-Linwood school district also were named semifinalists from Region 2. They are Rebecca F. Hill, a third-grade teacher at Basehor Intermediate School, and Molly K. Bovos, a physics teacher at Basehor-Linwood High School.

Kuchinski was announced as the Region 2 finalist for the secondary education level on Sunday during an awards banquet in Topeka.

“I was very honored,” Kuchinski said. “I was very excited to have the opportunity to represent my district.”

Nicole Corn, a kindergarten teacher in Lawrence, was named the Region 2 finalist for the elementary education level.

As a finalist, Kuchinski will receive a $2,000 prize, which is being awarded through Security Benefit, a corporate sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

Kuchinski said Monday was a special day as she returned to her teaching duties after being named a finalist.

“The students in the building have been wonderful,” she said.

Kuchinski said she also was congratulated by her colleagues.

As part of the judging process, representatives of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program will visit Kuchinski next month at Leavenworth High School.

“They will observe me teaching for a while,” she said.

She also will be interviewed.

Kuchinski said she previously was named the Leavenworth school district’s teacher of the year for the secondary level in 2012.

“Not only is Mrs. Kuchinski a tireless and passionate educator in the classroom creating and teaching memorable lessons in social studies and geography, she is also committed to developing and sustaining programs to ensure smooth transitions for all our newly enrolled students,” Leavenworth Superintendent Mike Roth said.

The superintendent credited Kuchinski with creating the Pioneer Ambassador program, which he said “is an important component of the positive school culture at both Leavenworth High School and Richard Warren Middle School.”

“Her students leave knowing that they have a responsibility to contribute positively in their communities, and she helps them to find their voice as student leaders,” Roth said.

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