In a surprise announcement Thursday, two Shawnee Mission School District educators learned they are the district’s nominees for the 2021 Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
Shawnee Mission’s Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees are Crystal Brower, Kindergarten teacher at Shawanoe Elementary School, and Natalie Johnson-Berry, English Language Arts teacher at Shawnee Mission North High School. Superintendent Mike Fulton congratulated the honorees during the surprise, virtual announcement.
“We are very proud of you and we wanted to congratulate you on this well-deserved recognition,” Fulton said. “We want to thank you for all of the great things you do for students.”
Students, teachers, parents, and community members first nominated teachers for consideration. Each school in the district was given the opportunity to nominate a candidate to apply for consideration. A committee of Shawnee Mission educators selected the district nominees.
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) asks each school district in the state to nominate one elementary and one secondary classroom teacher for the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program.
Johnson-Berry is “an all-around, fantastic teacher,” Shawnee Mission North Principal Jeremy Higgins said.
“She can always be depended upon when you need something or when a student needs something,” Higgins said. “We are lucky to have her as a teacher at Shawnee Mission North.”
Shawanoe students and staff are proud to have Brower represent their school and the Shawnee Mission School District, Principal Dominic Flora said.
“She builds extremely strong relationships with her students and their families and teaches with great urgency and passion,” Flora said. “Students achieve and reach goals because they are inspired by her belief in them.”
Nominees are honored by KSDE at a recognition ceremony in September. The person named Kansas Teacher of the Year is entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition and each nominee is invited to become a part of a Kansas teachers network to share best practices and ideas.