A second-grade teacher at Prairie Park School is just one of 32 teachers from across the state to receive a Kansas Horizon Award.
Amanda Vail was the lone recipient from the Lawrence school district.
“It was a complete surprise,” she said. “I felt very honored to receive the award because there are so many great teachers that deserve it.”
The award honors exemplary teachers who have finished their first year in the classroom.
This school year is the second one for Vail, who graduated from college with a business administration degree at Kansas University.
“I was actually in banking,” she said. “I really just felt like I wanted something more fulfilling personally.”
She went back to the classroom at Rockhurst University to get her master’s in teaching. And the decision has been the right one for Vail.
“It’s definitely been good for me,” she said.
Her fellow teachers weren’t exactly surprised that she won the Horizon Award.
“My son was in her class last year, and you would have never known that she was a first-year teacher,” said Christine Wesley, who also teaches second grade at Prairie Park. “She continues to shock us all the time. She really deserves it.”
And Vail enjoys the second-grade age group. “They have such an innocence about them,” she said. “You can really see them learning every day, and it’s just so neat to see the world through their eyes.”
This is the seventh year for the Horizon Award, which is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Education. Vail will also be invited to join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network.