The Shawnee Mission School District is proud to announce the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year honorees!
The Shawnee Mission School District elementary nominee is Michelle Tapko, sixth grade teacher at Roesland Elementary School. The secondary-level nominee is Sarah Starforth, special education teacher at Arrowhead.
Tapko was surprised with the announcement during an all-school assembly. The sixth grade teacher is known for being a genuine leader, principal Kelly Swift said.
“She makes incredible connections with families, students and staff,” Swift expressed. “These connections last a lifetime. Any student who is lucky to have her has been blessed with a gift. Her intensity and passion to ensure every student, every day is taken care of emotionally, physically and academically is beyond compare. She is so deserving to be the nominee to represent SMSD!”
Starforth is a key leader at Arrowhead and is a dedicated teacher who seeks professional growth, Principal Rob Shackelford stated.
“She is well respected by her peers and families,” Shackelford added. “She also cares deeply for the students she serves.”
These nominees will be honored by the Kansas State Department of Education in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. Honorees are recognized at a ceremony and are able to join a network of teachers who share best practices and ideas. The person selected for Kansas Teacher of the Year will be able to advance to the National Teacher of the Year competition.