Freedom Brass, teacher at Lincoln Elementary, was the Geary County USD 475 nominee for the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year. As part of her duties as the district nominee, it was her job to host a group of nominees from other districts during a day of learning about what makes USD 475 such a great district.
Nominees from Council Grove, Concordia, Clay Center, Manhattan, and Rock Creek/St. George were treated to an educational and fun-filled day of hands-on activities and interaction with students. Inclement weather prevented a few of the expected attendees from making the trip to Geary County, but most of the nominees met early at Lincoln Elementary and were prepared for a full day of learning about USD 475.
Freedom prepared an active day for the group. First, they were treated to a grab-and-go breakfast at Lincoln Elementary, where they were able to interact with students and teachers and were invited to sign a birthday card for the PE coach’s mother’s 80th birthday.
Next, the group boarded the Blu Jay Van and headed to the high school. They spent a few minutes in Becky Steiger’s Anatomy class, then headed on to Joanna Erichson’s Culinary Arts class. The group was surprised with custom-made aprons that Freedom made, and then spent an hour with students making pastries in celebration of Mardi Gras. They made a King’s cake, cookies, and beignets, then spent time talking with students about their future goals.
After the high school, the group travelled over to JCMS for a tour and to visit some of the classes there. They also had an opportunity to drive by the new JCHS campus and see the progress happening with construction before returning to Lincoln Elementary.
Back at Lincoln, the group met with Principal Kathi Teeter to learn about how family-style dining and grouping students into dens encourage students to form positive relationships with each other and help establish important bonds between students and teachers. They were also able to observe the family-style dining environment and interact with the students again.
The KTOY group was treated to a special lunch from local favorite, JC Barbeque, then went back to JCHS for more observation and a tour of the facilities. They finished their day back at Lincoln Elementary, with a discussion about John Steiger Character Education and an opportunity to discuss reflections from their day.
Freedom thanked each guest for spending the day in USD 475, and each guest parted with a bag of gifts from the district.