TOWANDA - Circle Towanda Elementary  fifth-grade teacher Kali Stearns was recently named as a Kansas Horizon Award winner. The award recognizes first-year teachers.


“I could not have survived my first year of teaching, let alone be recognized for this award, without the support I’ve received,” Stearns said. “It is very special to work in a place where everyone welcomes you with such open arms. Being a part of the ‘Circle Family’ has helped me to thrive and I am lucky to work with such amazing people.”


The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by the Kansas State Dept. of Education, identifies and recognizes elementary and secondary first-year classroom teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. Only a select few receive this award annually.


According to the Kansas State Department of Education website, there are four different regions used in the selection process. A selection committee chooses four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers in each region. Thirty-two teachers in Kansas are given this award every year.


“I was excited to announce to our staff and community that we have a Horizon Teacher award winner in our building,” said Terri Turner, principal of Circle Towanda Elementary. “Ms. Stearns is an outstanding fifth-grade teacher. I have observed her many times and continue to be amazed that she is still considered an entry-level teacher. She represents our school incredibly well. I look forward to her sharing her skills and techniques with others in the state of Kansas and shining a light on our outstanding district.”


Stearns will be recognized at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) State Education Conference in Topeka on Feb.14.