SMSD Horizon Nominees Announced

SMSD Horizon Nominees Announced
Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission is proud to recognize some of the best new educators in the state!

In a surprise announcement, two SMSD teachers learned they are the district’s nominees for the Horizon Award, an honor that recognizes first-year Kansas teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.

These teachers are incredibly talented, and to have their  abilities recognized in the first year of teaching – one that is known to be challenging – is a true accomplishment, Pam Lewis, director of elementary human resources expressed. 

“As One Shawnee Mission, we are so proud to celebrate these teachers and recognize their amazing work during the start of their career right here in the SMSD,” Lewis shared. “People are our greatest resource in Shawnee Mission and we are so fortunate for the ways these educators are using their strong abilities to support student success.”

Shawnee Mission’s Horizon Award honorees are:

Jordyn Burke, a Kindergarten Teacher at Corinth Elementary School

Emma Weil, an English Language Arts Teacher at Trailridge Middle School

Jordyn Burke

Jordyn Burke shines in effective communication, providing a foundation for strong family involvement in the classroom, Principal Michelle Lord shared. Lord noted Burke excels in personal contacts with families in a variety of ways. She also invites family members to read to classes and serve as volunteers, uses technology to share updates of students engaged in learning, and finds ways to help all families feel included and valued. Parents have also been invited as guest speakers into the classroom to speak about a variety of relevant topics.

“She attends dance recitals, soccer games, birthday parties, and continues to find ways to make connections and strengthen relationships,” Lord shared. “She provides information, timeliness, consistency, frequency, follow-through, and clarity when communicating with families. She is beyond her years as an effective communicator and will continue to be a model for others regarding effective school-family partnerships.”

Emma Weil

Emma Weil is a natural teacher and builds a classroom environment where students are eager to learn, Trailridge Principal Matt Engler noted. Not only did she demonstrate dedication in the classroom, but also engaged with students as a club sponsor, academic enrichment sponsor, and in other activities at the school.

“Mrs. Weil takes building relationships to a new level,” Engler expressed. “She builds meaningful connections with kids and then uses those connections to increase student learning.”

About the Horizon Award

Later this year, regional selection committees will select 32 teachers to be recognized with the Horizon Award. Individuals selected will be invited to be honored at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network conference.