2016 Kansas Horizon Award Recipients
• Karisa Cowan, Hoisington Middle School, USD 431 Hoisington
• Manuel Espinoza, Walnut Elementary School, USD 253 Emporia
• Aspen Frey, Lincoln Elementary School, USD 418 McPherson
• Amalea Peters, Clay Center Middle School, USD 379 Clay Center
• Alissa Miller, Emporia Middle School, USD 253 Emporia
• Andrew Potts, Kenneth Henderson Middle School, USD 457 Garden City
• Allie Ronnebaum, Fort Riley Middle School, USD 475 Geary County
• Chelsea Willems, Ware Elementary School, USD 475 Geary County
TOPEKA — The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) announced Jan. 5-6 the recipients of the 2016 Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes exemplary first-year educators.
Thirty-two first-year educators from around the state received this distinction and will be honored at a special ceremony during the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) State Education Conference on Feb. 19 in Topeka.
Among them is Hoisington Middle School fifth grade teacher Karissa Cowan.
“Mrs. Cowan has done an outstanding job during her first year of teaching,” said USD 431 Superintendant Bill Lowry. “Her use of technology for engaging students is phenomenal.”
The Kansas Horizon Award program, which is sponsored by KSDE, allows all school districts in the state an opportunity to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award.
To be eligible for the award, teachers must have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding. The program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. Congressional districts. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers may be selected for the award from each region.
Recipients of the 2016 Kansas Horizon Award were notified of their selection by Commissioner of Education Randy Watson.
“I want to extend my congratulations to these outstanding teachers,” Watson said. “The recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award are outstanding first-year educators who have excelled in helping all students toward reaching their potential. I am very happy these quality teachers are in Kansas classrooms. I want to thank each award recipient for their time, talents and dedication to the profession.”
As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to KEEN, a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in a number of professional development programs throughout the year.