HOISINGTON — Andrea Dolezal, Hoisington Middle School science and social studies teacher, received the Kansas Horizon Award sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education. The award identifies and recognizes exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.
"I am blown away," said Dolezal, when she was notified Thursday morning. "I’m shaking."
The teacher knew she had been nominated. "It was an honor just to get nominated," she said. She did not, however, know that she had been chosen as a recipient until she was called to the middle school office.
Just 16 first year secondary teachers from the state of Kansas are given this award in addition to 16 elementary school teachers.
Dolezal credits hard work to her success. "To get noticed is nice," she said.
Hoisington Middle School Principal Pat Reinhardt gave her more credit. "For a beginner teacher, she is phenomenal," she said. "The kids are engaged and on-task. She’s very innovative and always trying to do better."
One example of her innovation was the roller coasters she had her students create last year. The students’ goal was to make sure the marble made it to the end of the course with obstacles in the way. Dolezal’s students agreed with the state’s assessment of their teacher. "She’s awesome," said her fifth graders.
"Teachers touch tomorrow," said Dolezal. "I’ve always wanted to help. I’ve always wanted to make a difference."
Her goals for herself involve wanting to be a successful teacher and involve her students. "I want kids to enjoy coming to school," Dolezal said. "I want them to remember what they learned."
The teacher gets her ideas from many resources including the internet and likes to engage kids in the decisions. Her philosophy is to engage all students, keep trying, and don’t give up.
Reinhardt nominated Dolezal for her skills in and out of the classroom. "Mrs. Dolezal is very put together and mature," she said. "She knows school policy and is good with the new discipline program, ‘Give ‘em Five.’"
In addition Dolezal sponsors the Scholar’s Bowl team and was instrumental in setting up the Talent Show.
The Kansas Horizon Award program is a regional competition. The regions correspond to the state’s four U.S. congressional districts.
The Kansas State Department of Education appointed regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region for a total of 32 teachers.
The rules require that the nominee performs normal classroom duties in a way that distinguishes him or her from other new teachers.
Nominees are chosen by school district superintendents and building principals.
The Kansas State Department of Education appointed regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region.
The 32 teachers will be individually recognized during a luncheon at the two-day Kansas Exemplary Educators Network conference Feb. 24-25 in Topeka.