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SHS Teacher Maret Schrader named finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year

TOPEKA — Kristine “Kristi” A. Bruce, a fourth-grade teacher at Auburn Elementary School (Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437), and Maret Schrader, a ninth-grade language arts teacher at Seaman High School in Topeka (Seaman USD 345), were named Region 2 finalists for the 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year award during a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 11, in Topeka. This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. 

As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Bruce and Schrader each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are each now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov. 19.

Bruce and Schrader were among six Teacher of the Year semifinalists from Region 2, which covers the second U.S. congressional district.

Other semifinalists were Patty Nicholson, a fourth-grade teacher at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School in Leavenworth (Leavenworth USD 453); Suzy Wilcox, an early childhood special education teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School in Paola (Paola USD 368); Fonda K. Rose, a middle school physical education teacher at Ottawa Middle School (Ottawa USD 290); and Melanie E. McQueen, lead English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher and a secondary Spanish teacher at Eudora High School (Eudora USD 491).

Each of the semifinalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. This year, 103 educators across the state were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.

Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators and higher education representatives to select semifinalists and finalists from each region.

Each panel selects six semifinalists — three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semifinalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the state’s eight regional finalists. 

The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession. 

The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, serve as ambassadors for education in Kansas, making public appearances across the state promoting education and the teaching profession.

The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as National Teacher of the Year.

The National Teacher of the Year program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation.