Leavenworth names Teacher of the Year finalists

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Kathleen Edwards, right, is honored as the Leavenworth school district's Teacher of the Year finalist for the secondary level. Also pictured is James Vanek, principal of Leavenworth High School.
Melani Braun, right, is honored as the Leavenworth school district's Teacher of the Year finalist for the elementary level. Also pictured is Jeanette Clampitt, principal of Henry Leavenworth Elementary.

Leavenworth public school officials have announced their district's finalists for the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

Melani Braun, third-grade teacher at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School, will represent the district in the program at the elementary level.

Kathleen Edwards, special education teacher at Leavenworth High School, will represent the district at the secondary level.

Both teachers will advance this spring for consideration at the regional and state level, according to a news release from Jake Potter, director of public relations for Leavenworth public schools.

According to Braun, "Our school year starts off being built on honesty and openness. My students may not realize it explicitly, but by telling them 'the why,' I am showing them that I will be very honest with them. They know the answer will never be 'because I said so.' There is always a reason. They see me being open with them, so they are more open with me. I think that buy-in is what helps me build strong relationships with my students."

In her application, Edwards wrote, "Education that does not transcend the classroom is useless. As a special education teacher, particularly of the students who have an emotional and/or behavior disorder, the skills I teach will enable my students to become productive and successful members of society ... My ultimate goal is to enable the students to use what they have learned in my class in their everyday lives, both inside and outside of school."

Other building finalists this year from the Leavenworth public schools are Jodie Brice, Earl Lawson Early Education Center, Michelle Smith, Anthony Elementary School, Jennifer Buck, David Brewer Elementary School, Margaret Magaha, Leavenworth Intermediate School, Amy Stockton-Miller, Warren Middle School, and Jeanne Gray, Nettie Hartnett - QUEST 1821.