Elizabeth “Liz” Long, first grade teacher at Edgerton Elementary School was recognized as a Region III 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year semi-finalist at the annual Kansas State Department of Education Kansas Teacher of the Year banquet on Sept. 8. In addition, Leah Cogswell, math teacher at Wheatridge Middle School, was recognized for her selection as the USD 231 Teacher of the Year for the secondary level.
The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession.
Long is entering her 17th year in education and has been at Edgerton her entire career.  She holds a bachelor of science in education from Ottawa University and a master’s degree from MidAmerican Nazarene University.  She is also a member of the MidAmerican Nazarene University Clinical Mentoring Team, USD 231 Teacher Mentor program, and co-chair for the school improvement team (Reading).
“In all my years as an educator, I consider Liz to be among the most stellar teachers in the state of Kansas,” said Nancy Woolery, Edgerton Elementary Principal. “Her amazing patience and compassion for her students set her apart from others.  She works with the most challenging students to meet their individual needs and always keeps a smile on her face.  Elizabeth Long is truly the ‘valedictorian’ of teachers.”
Each year the Kansas State Department of Education looks for one outstanding teacher to become its Teacher of the Year, and sponsors a statewide competition. Each school district is given the opportunity to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher. Once selected as a District Teacher of the Year winner, an extensive application process must be completed to move onto the regional competition.
A regional selection committee is responsible for selecting six semi-finalists, three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers at the regional level.  Each regional finalist becomes a state finalist for the Kansas Teacher of the Year.  The 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year will be announced in November.