Hocker Grove Teacher Named Kansas Geography Educator of the Year

Ms. Gilman 2018 Kansas Geography Educator
Shawnee Mission School District

As part of Geography Awareness Week, Kim Gilman, Hocker Grove social studies teacher was recognized as Kansas Geography Educator of the Year.

Dr. Richard Lisichenko, geography and geoscience professor from Fort Hays State University, traveled to Hocker Grove to present the honor. He also presented her with a National Geographic globe and three kits from the Geno Project, which maps ancestry from DNA.

Gilman was officially named the 2018 Kansas Geography Educator of the Year during the Kansas Council for Social Studies Conference earlier this year. Lisichenko thanked Gilman for being an excellent teacher and shared her accomplishments with Hocker Grove staff and students.

“What most impressed me about Kim Gilman, was all the time, effort, and energy she contributes to a variety of school clubs and organizations to promote knowledge and love for geography,” Lisichenko said. “She is an extraordinary volunteer and outstanding advocate for geography.”

At the state level, Gilman has been a valuable member of the Kansas Geographic Alliance, through which her time and efforts have helped improve geographic education in Kansas Lisichenko added. 

Gilman is a National Geographic Certified Educator. She volunteers to help run the state Geographic Bee. At Hocker Grove, Gilman sponsors student council, geography club, and the National Geographic Bee.

“Geography is such a dynamic subject beyond maps, it’s all about relationships,” Gilman said. “Geography is about our relation and impact to each other and our environment.”

Gilman designs her lessons to be project-based and interactive. One of the students’ favorite activities is a scavenger hunt that shows how they are all connected globally. The lesson starts with the students identifying their personal cultural heritage, then identifying where their clothing and school supplies were made. Then they create a map illustrating these geographical locations, helping to show that the students from Kansas are all connected to rest of the world.

Gilman has also traveled to help her geography instruction. Through the Fulbright Program and Transatlantic Outreach Program, she has traveled to Germany, Poland, and India for professional development. She encourages other teachers to seek out similar opportunities to explore.

In honor of National Geographic Week, the Governor of Kansas signed a proclamation acknowledging the importance of geographic literacy towards reducing the potential of conflict through the understanding of others.