The Leavenworth and Lansing school districts recently announced their selections for Teacher of the Year.
In Leavenworth, Kelsey Stimatze was recognized as the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Mary Schwartz was honored as the Secondary Teacher of the Year, according to an announcement posted on the district’s Facebook page.
Stimatze is a kindergarten teacher at Earl Lawson Elementary School. Schwartz is a language arts teacher at Leavenworth High School.
Each year, Kansas school districts have the opportunity to each select an elementary teacher and secondary teacher to participate in a statewide Teacher of the Year program.
Stimatze and Schwartz were selected from finalists from each of the Leavenworth district’s four elementary schools as well as Richard Warren Middle School and the high school.
Stimatze and Schwartz learned they were selected for the district-level honors earlier this month in announcements delivered by their principals through online videoconferencing.
School buildings are closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, but teachers are still providing instruction to students by remote means.
Regional finalists in the state program will be announced in September, and the state finalists will be announced in November, according to information posted on the Leavenworth district’s Facebook page.
In Lansing, kindergarten teacher Janet Moorehead has been named the Elementary Teacher of the Year and eighth-grade science teacher Vera Daniels is the Secondary Teacher of the Year.
The Lansing winners are selected through the Lansing Educational Foundation.
Foundation Director Sharon Burns said the foundation leaves it up to the teachers to decide whether they want to apply for the state Teacher of the Year program, but it is an option for them.
The LEF also recognizes other staff members in the school district as the Educational Support Professionals of the Year. This year, Diane Kelly and Jennifer Zule have been recognized with that honor.
Zule is the district food services coordinator. Kelly serves as an aide at the Lansing Elementary School library.
The Lansing Teachers of the Year and Educational Support Professionals of the Year traditionally are recognized during a breakfast hosted by the Lansing Educational Foundation. But that breakfast has been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Burns said some of the award recipients are happy because they will not have to give speeches this year. But Burns said the LEF will find a way to recognize the award winners.
“We’ll definitely do something,” she said.
Moorehead, Kelly and Zule recently were recognized with a parade of cars. The drivers lined up their vehicles April 10 at Lansing Elementary School and then drove by the homes of the three award recipients, according to a news release from the school district.
A friend and neighbor of Moorehead came up with the idea for the car parade.