Sunset Elementary School social worker Sara Friesen Guhr has been named the Kansas School Social Worker of the Year by the Kansas School Social Work Association.


The announcement was made May 26 during a Zoom call with Friesen-Guhr, the president of the Kansas School Social Work Association, Friesen Guhr’s colleagues and a number of district administrators.


Friesen Guhr was nominated by Sunset principal Debbie Watson. Several school employees also wrote her letters of support.


“In my 37 years as an educator, I have been blessed to know and work with many, many exceptional people,” Watson said. “Sara is right there at the top of my list. She is one of the most genuinely compassionate, nurturing and loving individuals that I have ever known. When students are asked, ‘Who are some adults in this building that you know you can trust and who love you?’ Sara is always on their list.”


Friesen Guhr knew she was being nominated. Last March, students and employees surprised her at an assembly with the nomination. They also sang the school song for her and gave her flowers and cards they created.


“I knew that I had been nominated but I never expected any more than that, to be honest,” Friesen Guhr said. “The assembly felt like plenty. The reality is I couldn’t do what I do without the incredible people at Sunset, so it’s a bit humbling.”


Friesen Guhr has been a social worker at Sunset for 15 years. She says that when she was deciding what career she wanted to pursue being a school social worker spoke to her two interests of education and social work.


“I love the diversity of what I get to do in a school setting,” Friesen Guhr said. “I get to do preventative kinds of things and working with all kids as well as working with kids and families who are really struggling.”


If travel restrictions are lifted, Friesen Guhr will be honored this October at an 11-state district conference in Michigan.