FORT RILEY, Kan. — Geary County Schools USD 475 on Friday announced Kelsey Geerdes, a third-grade teacher at Fort Riley Elementary School, as their nominee for the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansas Horizon Award.
The Horizon Award is presented to an exemplary first-year teacher “who performs in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding,” according to the Kansas State Department of Education’s website.
“It was evident from day one that she spent a great deal of time preparing for a successful year,” Fort Riley Elementary School Principal Kenneth Upham said. “Ms. Geerdes’ success last year was due in large part to the highly effective way she ran her class. Setting clear expectations, rules, and procedures from the first day of school led to a positive climate where students thrived and enjoyed being in the classroom.”
Geerdes’ students partake in daily reading and math stations, incorporating working with partners and movement to keep them engaged.
“I have found that many students learn best when they can physically participate in a lesson and move or work with a group as a team to complete an activity,” Geerdes said.
Geerdes’ class received one of the highest attendance rates among the school last year, largely due to her prioritization of the relationships between herself and her students.
“Listen to what your students talk about and include their interest in your lesson plans,” Geerdes said. “Be yourself and be silly with your students, they’ll be more open with you if you have fun with them and participate in activities with them.”
The winners of the Horizon Award program will be announced during the 2022 Kansas Exemplary Educators Network Conference in February.
For media inquiries, please contact Lindley Lund, Marketing and Media Specialist for Geary County Schools USD 475, at firstname.lastname@example.org.