Thirty-two first-year educators from Kansas are being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the 2018 Kansas Horizon Award program.

Among them is one teacher from Newton USD 373 —  Constance Neale, of Slate Creek Elementary School.

The award recipients were announced Jan. 9 by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

The Kansas Horizon Award program, which is sponsored by KSDE, allows all school districts in the state an opportunity 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. 

“I want to congratulate these outstanding teachers,”Watson said Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson.  “Each recipient has demonstrated their dedication to the teaching profession, and I want to thank them for their time and talent. With the help of great teachers like these, we are one step closer to meeting the vision for education in the state, which is Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. Kansas is lucky to have such quality teachers in its classrooms.” 

The first-year educators will be honored at a special ceremony during the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) State Education Conference on Feb. 16 in Topeka.

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.

As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to 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.

2018 Kansas Horizon Award Recipients


Region 1


Katie Crowsey, Lyons Middle School, Lyons USD 405


Tanner Dahlke, Riley Elementary School, Great Bend USD 428


Taylor Gros, Bluemont Elementary School, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383


Arika Haresnape, Clifton-Clyde High School, Clifton-Clyde USD 224


Mandy Malone, Hutchinson Middle School, Hutchinson USD 308


Kelly Oberheu, Emporia High School, Emporia USD 253


Jessica Steele, Cottonwood Elementary School, Salina USD 305


Courtney Unruh, Hutchinson Magnet School, Hutchinson USD 308




Region 2


Lindy Broeckelman, Logan Elementary School, Seaman USD 345


Brandon Daley, Woodlawn Elementary School, Lawrence USD 497


April Gee, Valley Heights Junior Senior High School, Valley Heights USD 498


Avery Ozier, Pauline Central Primary School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437


Samuel Parrilla, Burlington Middle/High School, Burlington USD 244


Derek Smith, Southern Coffey County High School, Southern Coffey County USD 245


Ashley Snow, Lakeside Elementary School, Pittsburg USD 250


Berenice Weisel, Southwest Middle School, Lawrence USD 497




Region 3


Sarah Broddle, Monticello Trails Middle School, De Soto USD 232


Paige Fickbohm, Oak Grove Elementary School, Turner USD 202


Christopher Hagedorn, Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill USD 230


Melissa Kinzer, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233


Alexandria Mackenzie, Apache Innovative School, Shawnee Mission USD 512


Katie Omo, Prairie Ridge Elementary School, De Soto USD 232


Michael Richards, Oxford Middle School, Blue Valley USD 229


Michaela Shandy, Blue River Elementary School, Blue Valley USD 229




Region 4


Connor Christensen, Apollo Elementary School, Goddard USD 265


Hilary Cosgrove, Freeman Elementary School, Haysville USD 261


Hannah Martin, Maize South Middle School, Maize USD 266


Constance Neale, Slate Creek Elementary School, Newton USD 373


Carlyn Olson, Winfield High School, Winfield USD 465


Colleen Tajchman, Derby Hills Elementary School, Derby USD 260


Rachel Villareale, Rose Hill Middle School, Rose Hill USD 394


Jessica Williams, Stafford Middle/High School, Stafford USD 349