Three Douglas County educators earn statewide recognition for outstanding teaching skills

photo by: Contributed Photos

Three Douglas County teachers -- Eudora High School’s Ruochen Shen, left; Free State High School’s Allyson Gilmore, center; and Baldwin High School’s David Yoo, right -- were named among the 32 winners of the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes first-year educators for outstanding teaching skills

Three Douglas County educators were recognized for their teaching during their first year in the profession last school year.

The Kansas State Department of Education this week announced teachers from the Lawrence, Baldwin and Eudora school districts were among the 32 teachers statewide to receive the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award. The annual award aims to recognize educators for exhibiting outstanding teaching skills during their first year.

The Douglas County teachers include Free State High School’s Allyson Gilmore, Eudora High School’s Ruochen Shen and Baldwin High School’s David Yoo. Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson notified each of them of the award earlier this week.

“I want to commend these outstanding educators,” Watson said, according to a news release. “Thanks to the pandemic, this group has experienced anything but a typical first year in the teaching profession. And to be singled out by their districts for their extraordinary performance makes me both proud and excited to have them in Kansas classrooms.”

Each fall, Kansas school districts are given the opportunity to nominate a secondary- and elementary-level teacher for the award. KSDE then has a committee select winners based on whether they successfully completed their first year of teaching and performed in a way that distinguished them as outstanding.

As recipients of the award, the teachers are all eligible to join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network, which consists of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. They also receive an undisclosed cash prize.


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