West Indianola teacher gets statewide honor

West Indianola Teacher Receives Statewide Honor
Posted on 09/23/2022
Haley Slusser, a kindergarten teacher in her fifth year at West Indianola Elementary School, was surprised to receive the NextGen Under 30 award.
"I was very excited and very shocked at the same time,” Slusser said. "The words of affirmation mean so much."
NextGen Under 30 is a Kansas Department of Commerce program that identifies talented young adults and encourages them to follow their lifetime family and career goals in Kansas. It recognizes individuals who demonstrate talent, drive, and service to their communities. Slusser was one of only six winners in the K-12 Education category to win in the state.
Those who know Slusser said she is good at making connections with families and is very deserving of the honor. A parent of a child in Slusser’s class nominated her. 
"Ms. Slusser is a creative, innovative, and caring teacher. She is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure her students are successful academically and socially,” West Indianola Principal Tami Wade said. "She fosters relationships with parents to create a partnership in learning where they feel connected to her classroom,” Wade continued.
Slusser said the technology integration she uses in her classroom helps increase family engagement. “Just to be acknowledged by a parent meant the world to me,” Slusser said of being nominated.
Slusser tries to build a relationship with each student, she has high expectations for her students, and strives to be consistent in her teaching style. She wants children to be excited about the work they're doing.
"I’m a teacher because I want to make a difference. I love to see the lightbulb go off in their heads. Then to have all the kids come back after I’ve had them in previous years, it makes my heart so happy to see all their growth,” Slusser said.
Slusser and other winners will get to meet the governor, and be honored at an award ceremony later in the year.