The top nine teachers in the state of Kansas met with University of Saint Mary educators and students considering a teaching career Wednesday at the Keleher Learning Commons on campus.

Whitney Morgan, the 2019 Kansas Teacher of the Year, and eight finalists for the annual teacher recognition spoke about how to be an effective classroom teacher.

The panel is on a 20-school tour of colleges and universities in the state, sharing teaching tips to students considering a career in education.

“We emphasize our CORE message of being a teacher,” said Morgan, an English teacher at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. CORE stands for collaboration, opportunity, relationships and empathy.

The panel included Sharon Kuchinski, social studies teacher at Leavenworth High School.

She said there is a redesign of educational goals happening in the state of Kansas.

“Education is not defined by test scores,” she said. “The focus is on who kids are and who they can become.”

She said effective teachers are “positive, set and review goals and stay connected to colleagues.”

Drew Cortez, a former USM quarterback, is in his final weeks of college. He will graduate in May with degrees in history and secondary education.

Cortez currently is serving as a student teacher at Leavenworth High School.

“It was awesome to hear teachers who were in the same situation as I am now and how they got to where they are,” Cortez said. “Even the elementary school teachers who spoke, their message and tips can be modified for high school teachers too.”