Meet our Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Geary County Schools USD 475 is proud to say two of the educators within the school district have been nominated for the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Teacher of the Year for Region 1. The nominees are Desiree Brown, a music teacher at Sheridan Elementary, and Laura Miller, an agriculture science teacher at Junction City High School.

Brown has taught for 17 years, with 11 of those being for Geary County Schools USD 475. She decided to become a music teacher after being inspired by her musician father, as well as an impactful music teacher she previously had.

Desiree Brown.

“I believe that all people need someone that is their inspiration, someone to look up to, someone that they can trust and be comfortable with, and teachers are in a unique position to build those relationships and be those people,” Brown said.

Brown’s favorite part of teaching music is building a relationship with the students and seeing their stresses or struggles melt away when they are creating music while watching them grown from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Desiree Brown.

“I’m very proud to represent USD 475 and very thankful to work with the people I do, the colleagues, the students, the parents,” Brown said. “It’s a really special place.”

Miller has been a teacher for 14 years and has been at Junction City High School for the past six years. During her time, she has taught biology, animal science, natural resources, agriculture science, and zoology, and has been a driving force in the establishment of the school’s agriculture program and FFA program.

Laura Miller

“It’s really helped me grow as an individual, as a teacher it has helped me become a better advocate for my students and for the industry and in life,” Miller said. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot from where I started to where I am no, and obviously I’m not done growing.”

Miller plans to continue growing the school’s agriculture program as well as the FFA program as the adviser, which 10 of her students placed first in at the Kansas State Agroscience Fair Competition, five students in the top 10 nationally, and two student groups in the top three nationally.

Miller said her favorite part of working at Geary County Schools USD 475 is the diversity among her students.

“When people think of agriculture, they don’t really think maybe it’s a diverse area or industry, but there is a lot of diversity,” Miller said.

The Kansas State Department of Education will hold a virtual celebration on Saturday, where the Region 1 nominees will be announced for the elementary and secondary categories.

For inquiries, please contact Lindley Lund, Media and Marketing Specialist for Geary County Schools USD 475 at lindleylund@usd475.org.