2023 Kansas Horizon Award Program Recognizes 32 Kansas Educators

Topeka, KS— Thirty-two educators from Kansas are being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the 2023 Kansas Horizon Award program.

The 2023 Kansas Horizon Award recipients were recently announced by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

The educators will be honored at a special ceremony during the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) State Education Conference on Feb. 17 in Topeka.

The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by KSDE, allows all school districts in the state to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award. To be eligible for the 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 program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. congressional districts. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers may be selected for the award from each region.

Recipients of the 2023 Kansas Horizon Award were notified of their selection by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.

“We are fortunate to have such outstanding teachers in our state’s classrooms,” Watson said. “I want to commend all 32 Horizon Award recipients. Because of them, we move closer to our vision of leading the world in the success of each student.”

The 2023 Kansas Horizon Award recipients, along with their regions, are listed below:


Region 1

  • Kaisha Batman, Dodge City High School, Dodge City Unified School District 443.
  • Monica Blanco, Dodge City Middle School, Dodge City USD 443.
  • Derek Davidson, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383.
  • Anne Kenworthy, Rock Creek Middle School, Rock Creek USD 323.
  • Sally Lopez, Oliver Brown Elementary School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383.
  • Ashley Sides, Prairie Hills Middle School, Buhler USD 313.
  • Andrew Thiesen, Garden City High School, Garden City USD 457.
  • Kinsey Volk, Bickerdyke Elementary School, Russell USD 407.

Region 2

  • Julia Ferguson, Quail Run Elementary School, Lawrence USD 497.
  • Heidi Jo Hayen, Berryton Elementary School, Shawnee Heights USD 450.
  • Madeline Lane, Lansing High School, Lansing USD 469.
  • Emma Lehmann, Neodesha High School, Neodesha USD 461.
  • Hannah Lucas, Humboldt Elementary School, Humboldt USD 258.
  • Megan Maness, French Middle School, Topeka USD 501.
  • DeLaney Russell, Dr. Jerry Hamm Early Learning Center, Coffeyville USD 445.
  • William Wehrs, Seaman High School, Seaman USD 345.

Region 3

  • Cooper Allison, Woodland Spring Middle School, Spring Hill USD 230.
  • Jordyn Burke, Corinth Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.
  • Jordan Dillon, Blue Valley High School, Blue Valley USD 229.
  • Lisa Frakes, Turner High School, Turner USD 202.
  • Alexandra Furminger, Oak Grove Elementary School, Turner USD 202.
  • Jennifer Miller, Nike Elementary School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Stephanie Ruley, Gardner Edgerton High School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.
  • Sydney Sieben, Riverview Elementary School, De Soto USD 232.

Region 4

  • Sue Ake, Gordon Parks Academy, Wichita USD 259.
  • Kassady Griffin, Eisenhower High School, Goddard USD 265.
  • Cody Kirkendoll, Campus High School, Haysville USD 261.
  • Rochell Knight, Derby Middle School, Derby USD 260.
  • Carla McConnell, Sunset Elementary School, Newton USD 373.
  • Aaron Miller, Valley Center Middle School, Valley Center USD 262.
  • Jamie Rhue, El Paso Elementary School, Derby USD 260.
  • Erin Walter, Norwich Elementary School, Kingman-Norwich USD 331.

As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to join KEEN, a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in several professional development programs throughout the year.

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