ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood Middle School and High School ag teacher Kent Blakeslee was named the 2020-21 USD 355 Educator of the Year during a lunch and ceremony on Thursday, May 13. A Barton County native and a 40-year veteran of the education field, Blakeslee will retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
Blakeslee graduated from Great Bend High School and later received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Ag Mechanization and a Master of Science Degree in Ag Education from Kansas State University. He spent 24 of his 40 years of teaching in Ellinwood.
During his time in Ellinwood, Blakeslee helped the district achieve North Central Association Accreditation and also implemented a greenhouse for student experiments.
“Mr. Blakeslee is a legend here at USD 355,” said Superintendent Ben Jacobs. “We’ll replace him physically but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to replace him in terms of ability and what he’s meant to the district. He is a committed teacher and has built some wonderful relationships with students over his 40 years in education.”
Other USD 355 teachers honored Thursday were:
Laurie Feist - A graduate of Claflin High School, Feist received a BA from Bethany College in Elementary Education. She has taught 4th and 6th grades for 29 years with the last 16 years in Ellinwood. She currently teaches 6th grade math and science and also serves as the STUCO sponsor.
Melissa Jacobs - Jacobs graduated from Larned High School and attended Barton Community College for two years. She then attended Newman University’s outreach teaching program in Great Bend and graduated from Newman University with a BS in Elementary Education. Jacobs has been an educator for 24 years, including eight spent in Ellinwood. She has served in many roles in elementary education and taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Ellinwood. Jacobs is currently a 2nd grade teacher.
Elizabeth Goldsberry - A graduate of Meade High School, Goldsberry earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Kansas State University. She then went on to receive a master’s degree in School Counseling from Kansas State. A kindergarten teacher for six years, Goldsberry spent four years in Pratt and the past two years in Ellinwood.