Two Blue Valley teachers win first-year teaching award

Kassidy Evans and Emily Mauer wowed many during their first year of teaching. Relationship building and understanding the diverse needs of every student are a few qualities Evans and Mauer share that helped both teachers excel during their first year. The Kansas Department of Education named Evans, interrelated resource teacher at Blue Valley Northwest, and Mauer, fourth grade teacher at Timber Creek Elementary, as recipients of the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award.

In Kassidy Evans’ classroom at Blue Valley Northwest, she tailors her
teaching strategies to meet the different needs of each student. Evans prioritizes relationship building with her students to help identify their individual needs and reach their goals. By putting positive relationships at the forefront, she has been able to gain the trust of her students and the families she works with. 

“After Kassidy began working with our students and staff, it became clear to me that one of her gifts was in relationship-building,” said Monica Symes, Blue Valley Northwest school psychologist. “Her students trust her and work well with her to make progress. If she is concerned about a student, you will find her rallying the team to problem-solve.”

At Timber Creek Elementary, Emily Mauer believes building relationships with her students is a key ingredient in a successful classroom. Making strong connections helps her understand the ways her students can learn best. She uses a student-centered and welcoming approach, which empowers her students to take risks and challenge each other. This, in turn, builds confidence in her students' learning. 

“It is abundantly clear that Emily has an innate, keen sense for the diverse needs of children in her care,” said Laura Lahue, Valley Park Elementary assistant principal and former Timber Creek colleague. “She motivates and inspires her students on a level that paves the way for a personalized relationship with the school experience. Her aptitude for providing high-quality instruction, as well as her natural inclusion of character development and social-emotional learning make her a one-of-a-kind educator.”

The Horizon Award program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, recognizes 32
exemplary first-year teachers each year who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.

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