Seven Wichita teachers were surprised in their classrooms or at school assemblies last week with news that they had received the 2014 Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award from the school district, officials said.
The recipients:• New teacher, elementary: Bethany Lewallen, fifth-grade teacher at McCollom Elementary
• New teacher, secondary: Katie Richardson, sixth-grade language arts teacher at Coleman Middle School
• Primary teacher (grades pre-K-2): J. Michele Steinbacher, kindergarten teacher at Gordon Parks Academy
• Intermediate teacher (grades 3-5): Marianne Olson, fifth-grade teacher at Clark Elementary
• Middle school: Kathleen C. Bastin, sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher at Coleman Middle School
• High school: Rebecca Simmons, language arts teacher at Northeast Magnet High School
• Support teacher: Julie Dunkelberger, library media specialist at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet
The teachers were nominated by peers, building administrators or parents. The winners were selected by a committee that includes principals, assistant principals, teachers, support staff, assistant superintendents and a member of United Teachers of Wichita.
The teachers will be recognized at the school board meeting March 10. At the meeting, officials will announce who will represent the district for the prestigious Kansas Teacher of the Year award and the Kansas Horizon Award, which honors outstanding first-year teachers.