Tuesday, April 17, 2012

KCKPS announces teachers of the year

News Release:
For their exemplary work, and their dedication to the district and its students, two teachers in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) have been chosen as the elementary and secondary local teachers of the year. They are: Helen Windhorst, art teacher at New Stanley Elementary School; and Steve Howard, math teacher at J.C. Harmon High School.

Each year, staff in all the district schools nominate one educator for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. This list of “Star Teachers” is then reviewed by a collaborative committee consisting of teachers, administrators and a representative from NEA-KCK. The committee selects one elementary and one secondary nomination to forward on to the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.

All 45 “Star Teachers” will be celebrated at the district’s annual Star Teacher Celebration, set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 at the Central Office and Training Center.

Helen Windhorst 
Windhorst started working for the district in 1976 as a contract art substitute. She has taught at more than a dozen elementary schools over the years and has been at New Stanley for the past 12.  For the past seven years, she has served as the district’s lead art teacher. Windhorst guides her students to learn about themselves, art and the world around them. She links learning to other activities and to their daily lives and leads them into self-reflection by modeling and encouraging them to be artists in her room.

“I immerse them in art content gathered from national and state conferences, the Internet, personal experience, books and colleagues,” Windhorst said. “In return, they give me their hearts.”

Windhorst is a member of the Kansas Arts Education Association and the National Arts Education Association and has served as a presenter at their annual conferences. She has established many school/community activities at New Stanley including Muffins for Moms, Donuts for Dads and Fifth Grade Family Art Night.

Steve Howard 
Howard has spent 23 of his 31 years as an educator in the KCKPS. One critical aspect of his teaching style is bringing math and real life skills together. An example of this was the establishment of a student run store at Harmon. Students purchased the goods and the profit they made became their working capital.

His students compete annually in the district’s Math Relays, and typically have one of the largest pools of students at the event.

“For me to be at all successful in helping my students to acquire needed math skills, I must start with relationship building, establishing trust and letting them know I see them as capable, worthwhile people. First and foremost, I believe they are great kids and I tell them that on a daily basis. Only then can I begin teaching math,” Howard said.

He has been recognized as the Star Teacher at Harmon six times and has twice been named Teacher of the Year by the KCK Rotary. He also has been named KCK Track Coach of the Year and KCK Soccer Coach of the Year.

The complete list of Star Teachers is as follows:

High Schools
Mary P. Blomquist, F.L. Schlagle; Steve Howard, J.C. Harmon; Kelly Burns, Sumner Academy; Dane Johnson, Washington; Carol Normandin, Wyandotte.

Alternative Schools
Hershell R. Cox, Bridges/Wyandot Academy.

Middle Schools
James Thompson, Argentine; Jennifer Reynolds, Arrowhead; Anita Perdue, Central; Jae Tillman, Coronado; Stephanie Budt, Eisenhower; Fulece C. Carson-Hughes, Northwest; Hailee Nieman, West.

Elementary Schools
Nicole Marie Ragsdale, Banneker; Sara Passman, Bethel; Lisa Young, Caruthers; Mikesha Bradner, Claude Huyck; Tracie Rezzelle, Douglass; Lynn Salisbury, Emerson; Emily Coonfield, Eugene Ware; Irina Eccles, Frances Willard; Susan Care, Frank Rushton; Amy Runyon, Grant; Amirah Captain, Hazel Grove; Dawnyel McCollum, John F. Kennedy; Rick Smith, John Fiske; Katrina Byers, Lindbergh; Beverly Hovorka, Mark Twain; Jennifer Ramirez, McKinley; Colton Currie, M.E. Pearson; Elvis Spearman, New Chelsea; Helen Windhorst, New Stanley; Rachel Matias, Noble Prentis; Carmen Dorsel, Parker; Kathy Manherz, Quindaro; Brenda Chabot, Silver City; Lisa Webster, Stony Point North; Judy Fink, Stony Point South; Janice R. Vose, T.A. Edison; Bonnie Kane, W.A. White; Julia Cordes, Welborn; Amanda Griffin, White Church; John Burton, Whittier.

Andrea Netzer, KCK Early Childhood Center; Heather Turi, Morse Early Childhood Center.