An Andover Middle School instructor has been named 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year by the Kansas State Department of Education.
Eighth-grade advanced language arts teacher Dyane Smokorowski — known to her students as Mrs. Smoke — received the honor before a crowd of more than 400 Saturday evening in Wichita, according to a news release from the state education department. She was among 91 nominees and eight finalists considered in the statewide competition.
As Teacher of the Year, Smokorowski will receive $4,000 from Security Benefit Corp., a Lifelong Learning Scholarship and the Hubbard Foundation Kansas Teacher of the Year Ambassadorship, which reimburses its recipient for travel and other expenses during the award year.
She also receives $11,000 in SMART Technologies ULC of Canada educational software and equipment, a rental car and gasoline, and a Jostens Leader in Education ring.
Smokorowski joined the Andover school district five years ago as an instructional technology coach and technology professional development instructor. Within a year, she began teaching middle school language arts courses, which includes digital citizenship and Internet safety. In one classroom-based project, Smokorowski’s students developed a website exploring intellectual property and digital piracy after reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”
In addition to teaching, Smokorowski trains other instructors statewide and nationwide to enhance teaching by integrating technology in their classrooms. She is an Intel National Senior Trainer and co-hosts monthly Internet-based professional development courses for primary and secondary school teachers.
Other Teacher of the Year finalists were Colleen Mitchell of Village Elementary School, Emporia; Sarah Berblinger of Prairie Hills Middle School, Buhler; Laura Moyers of Anthony Elementary School, Leavenworth; Sibyl “Sue” Commons of Baxter Springs High School, Baxter Springs; Judy Domke of Stanley Elementary School, Blue Valley; Scott Keltner of Eudora High School, Eudora; and Ramie Allison of Nelson Elementary School, Haysville.
Each will receive $2,000 cash from Security Benefit and $1,500 in software and equipment from SMART Technologies.
The competition is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education.