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Horizon Award teachers selected
Christie Gerdes, Barton County Special Services director, and Khris Thexton, USD 428 superintendent, pose with Alden Adams, Helping Hands Preschool teacher, and some of his students. Adams is the elementary school nominee for the Kansas Horizon Award program.

Each year, Great Bend USD 428 selects two exemplary first-year teachers for the Kansas Horizon Award. The 2019 nominees are Jason Drouillard, Great Bend Middle School English teacher, and Alden Adams, Helping Hands Preschool teacher. Both teachers are beginning their second year in the district.

The program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, recognizes and rewards teachers who have served as outstanding representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state during their first year of teaching.

Adams and Drouillard will now apply for Kansas state honors. Horizon Award winners receive special recognition during the KEEN State Education Conference, which takes place each February in Topeka.

Superintendent Khris Thexton noted that these two are not alone in being recognized for teaching excellence. At the state level, Great Bend High School Assistant Principal Randy Wetzel has been named Assistant Principal of the Year, and Park School fifth-grade teacher Signe Cook is one of four finalists in the state for Kansas Teacher of the Year. The TOY winner will be announced in November.

“We are very fortunate to have outstanding faculty and staff in our district and their dedication to our students shows in everything they do,” Thexton said. “We have always known we have great teachers and administrators. It is awesome to see representatives at the state level recognize the great people we have on staff.

“I would like to wish all our nominees good luck as they compete at the state level,” he said.