Andover Central Middle School special education teacher Roxana Smith was recognized as one of 32 Horizon Award winners from the State of Kansas Thursday.
The Horizon Award program, currently in its 11th year, allows all school districts to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award. To be eligible for a Horizon 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 Horizon Award program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. Congressional districts.
The Andover School District has had a Horizon Award winner almost every year the program has existed.
Dr. Diane DeBacker, Kansas Commissioner of Education, called Smith Thursday after she was called out of class by Principal Tim Hayden.
When Smith arrived in the conference room for the phone call, she was greeted by Superintendent Greg Rasmussen, Assistant Principal Janelle Tittsworth, and Smith’s family. Her husband Phil Smith and her three sons, Caleb, Michael and Joshua all said how proud they were Smith was being honored in this way.
Smith was a para-professional in the district until last year when she took over the classroom and, according to Hayden, did incredible things in the classroom.
Debacker told Smith she had joined an elite group of teachers who have displayed their skills in the classroom and received this award.
A tearful Smith thanked Debacker for the honor and her kind words.
The mission of the Horizon Award program is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.
Novice teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching are eligible to be recognized. Applications will be submitted in October of their second year of teaching, and recognition will occur in February of their second year.
The criteria for this award are:
• Nominee will have successfully completed his or her first year of teaching in a prekindergarten through grade 12 Kansas school accredited by the State Board of Education.
• Nominee will be a full-time classroom teacher.
• Nominee will be responsible for the assessment of students, assignment of grades, preparation of lesson plans, parent-teacher conferences, discipline, attendance, and other daily educational tasks.
• Nominee will have performed in a way that distinguishes him or her from other novice teachers.
• Nominee will be selected by the school district superintendent and building principal.
Kent Bush can be reached at email@example.com.