Topeka teachers nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– One hundred and thirty-one teachers across Kansas are being honored for the time and effort they put into their schools. Of those hundreds, a few Topeka teachers were recognized on Sunday.

Each year teachers from all over Kansas are nominated for their hard work. The Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet honored more than 30 Region 2 teachers, many of them who work in Topeka.

“We care so much,” said Cassie Geis, a teacher at Seaman High School. “We care so much for our students and for our schools. And we are there for them if they need anything.”

Every region nominates two teachers to be the finalist for the Kansas Teacher of the Year award. One of the Region 2 finalists, a Washburn Rural Middle School teacher.

“I’m not afraid to speak out when it comes to doing what’s best for kids,” said Lara McDonald, a Washburn Rural Middle School teacher. “I will fight for my students. I will find food for students. I will find clothing for students. I will go to students house and deliver. A lot of teachers are quiet, and I’m not one of those teachers.”

Two USD 501 teachers were among the 38 nominees. Julie Waterhouse teaches students who are learning English at Eisenhower Middle School. She said one of the challenges she has faced are students not knowing their worth.

“They have a tendency to come into my classroom with the perception that they are a loser,” Waterhouse said. “And that they will never be successful. That they are not smart. That’s the first hurdle they have to overcome.”

While the recognition of these teachers is nice, they said it’s your child learning that is the greatest reward.

“We come into our classrooms every day because we love kids,” Waterhouse said.

The 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year winner will be announced in November.

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