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Kansas Distinguished Teachers speak to future educators

Kansas Distinguished Teachers speak to future educators

Will Austin

Jeff Baxter, Kansas Teacher of the Year from Leavenworth High School, concludes a presentation he and seven other distinguished Kansas teachers gave to Emporia State education classes at 1 p.m. Thursday Jan. 30 in Visser Hall. The presentation was titled “The Power of You: Becoming the Decisive Element.”

Distinguished Kansas teachers came to Emporia State to talk to future educators about the power of being teachers and how to be successful in their future careers in Visser Hall on Thursday, Jan. 30.

The program was presented by eight 2014 Kansas Regional Teachers of the Year who were also finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year.

Presenters included Jennifer Bailey of Valley Center High, Marney Hay of Pray-Woodman Elementary, Brandi Leggett of Prairie Ridge Elementary, Mary Lonker of Wamego High, Jenny Nash of Cottonwood Elementary, Katie Perez of Morgan Elementary, Jennifer Smith of Lakewood Middle and Jeff Baxter of Leavenworth High, who is the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year.

While at ESU, the group spoke to several education classes about their experiences as educators and answered questions about what to expect in the first years of teaching. The presentation was titled “The Power of You,” and was about how to become a “decisive element in the classroom.”

Adam Butch, sophomore elementary education major, attended the lecture for a class but said he still enjoyed getting to hear the experienced opinions about teaching.

“(I feel) like there’s a great value to teaching students things that you’ve learned,” Butch said. “(I will apply what I learned) by always trying something new and never stop learning.”

All of the teachers received their awards after being nominated in 2013 by fellow teachers, members of their respective administrations, the school board and even students and parents.

Leggett, who was nominated by students, parents and teachers alike, said that she felt honored that she was considered.

“There are a lot of great teachers at our school,” Leggett said. “So it was an honor to be considered and nominated.”

Baxter, who said he has been teaching high school language arts “a lot longer than 25 years,” said being named Kansas Teacher of the Year was humbling.

After the presentation, the distinguished teachers allowed time for students to ask questions. When one individual asked what advice they had for the future educators, Hay said, “Be true to yourself and remember who you are.”

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