Seven Wichita teachers were surprised in their classrooms Thursday with news that they received the 2016 Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award from the Wichita school district, officials said.
▪ New teacher, elementary: Olivia Franz, fourth-grade teacher at Lawrence Elementary
▪ New teacher, secondary: Jill Bajaj, math teacher at Robinson Middle School
▪ Primary teacher (grades pre-K-2): Donna Cruz, first-grade teacher at Cloud Elementary
▪ Intermediate teacher (grades 3-5): Georgia Flood, fifth-grade teacher at Chisholm Trail Elementary
▪ Middle school: Jim Sullivan, social studies teacher at Hamilton Middle School
▪ High school: Melody Robinson, science and English teacher at West High School
▪ Support teacher: Kelly Baird, reading intervention teacher at Ortiz Elementary
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 7. At the meeting, officials will announce which will represent the district for the prestigious Kansas Teacher of the Year award and the Kansas Horizon Award, which honors outstanding first-year teachers.