Congratulations to Shannon Ralph, Kansas’ 2015 Teacher of the Year!
On Saturday, we had the honor to travel to Wichita to attend the KTOY award ceremonies. Eight finalist teachers, their families and friends, officials from the Department of Education and state leaders were there to acknowledge the work done by teachers all across the state and to present Shannon with the award. As her partners and her family, we couldn’t be more proud!
Shannon not only works hard every day in and out of the classroom to deserve this award, but she also worked hard on her application and the KTOY selection process. She wrote several essays describing her teaching philosophy, how to improve the teaching profession, and educator-community involvement. in September Shannon was honored as a regional finalist. She also recorded a video interview and invited judges into her classroom for visits for the finalist application process.
The KTOY award gives Shannon great opportunities to promote inquiry learning in the classroom and serve as an advocate for students and teachers. She’ll serve in an advisory role with lawmakers and leaders to promote Kansas education. Shannon will visit Kansas universities to guide and encourage pre-service teachers. She will also work with state and national presenters and consultants in conferences and workshops and participate in even more professional development activities.
There are some more tangible benefits to being the Kansas Teacher of the Year too! Shannon is awarded the lifelong learning scholarship which includes free enrollment at any Kansas Regents’ college or university while she’s teaching in the state. During the spring semester of 2015, she’ll partake in the Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship, allowing her to travel the state and meet with other educators to support the mission of the KTOY program. Shannon will also attend Recognition Week in Washington, D.C. in April, where she’ll get to brainstorm with 2015 Teachers of the Year from every state and meet with President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. She also received a cash award from Security Benefit, a technology package from SMART Technologies and a Leader in Education ring from Jostens, Inc. Shannon starts her tour as KTOY by throwing a ball out at the Chiefs vs. Raiders game at Arrowhead on December 14th, along with Missouri’s Teacher of the Year.
By the way, this isn’t Shannon’s first teaching accolade! She was also named by Emporia State University as a Kansas Master Teacher in 2008 and received the Wolfe Family Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Kansas this year.
Keep checking the Biology Rocks Blog for details about Shannon’s travels as the 2015 Kansas Teacher of the Year. She’ll be posting updates here and tweeting as she travels, teaches and learns how to make Kansas education even better.
Congrats Shannon, you deserve it!