Horizon Award Announced for SMSD Teacher

Horizon Award Announced for SMSD Teacher
Shawnee Mission School District

Susan Specht, a health and physical education teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest, is a Horizon Award honoree.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Commissioner Randy Watson shared the news with Specht in a virtual meeting. Click here to see a video: https://youtu.be/pzgRSgHO4_s

She is one of 32 educators being honored for outstanding skills through the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award program. This award is given to honor teachers for outstanding work in their first year of teaching.

Recipients were announced Jan. 7 by the Kansas State Department of Education.

“I want to commend these outstanding educators,” Watson expressed in a press release. "Thanks to the pandemic, this group has experienced anything but a typical first year in the teaching profession. And to be singled out by their districts for their extraordinary performance makes me both proud and excited to have them in Kansas classrooms.”

Specht values each individual student in her class and teaches with great love in her heart because teaching is her calling, principal Lisa Gruman shared as Specht was nominated for the award.

“She creates a safe space for each of her students to thrive and express the very best of themselves,” Gruman added. “Ms. Specht provides her students choice and voice in their learning, a strategy that also allows her to assess their emotional wellbeing as well as their academic skills. She builds self-confidence and resilience in her learners and the athletes she coaches. She models hard work, integrity, and determination integral to life’s success.”

Kansas Horizon Award winners are invited to join a network of educators who have been recognized as exemplary called the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN). Honorees will also receive a monetary award from The Capitol Federal Foundation.