Teachers with local ties finalists for Kansas Teacher of Year

By The Herald Staff

School teachers play a big role in children’s lives as they mature.  Many go unnoticed for their work. A select group of teachers are recognized for their achievements. There were 138 educators across the state nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.

Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators and higher education representatives to select semifinalists and finalists from each region.


This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state

The eight finalists were recently revealed and two have local ties. Megan O’Neill, a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, was a finalist from District 2.

Susanne Stevenson, a fourth-grade teacher at Beeson Elementary School, Dodge City Unified School District 443, is a finalist from District 1. Stevenson is an Ottawa High School graduate.


Each panel selects six semifinalists — three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semifinalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the state’s eight regional finalists.

As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, O’Neill and Stevenson will receive a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are each now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during a ceremony Saturday, Sept 25, in Wichita.

The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession.

 The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, serves as an ambassador for education in Kansas, making public appearances across the state promoting education and the teaching profession.

The Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as National Teacher of the Year.