Paula Athey

Congratulations to Paula Athey, library media specialist at Moonlight Elementary, who has been selected as the USD 231 Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Athey has taught in the Gardner Edgerton District for 26 years. For the past eight years, she has served as the library media specialist at Moonlight Elementary.
She started her teaching career at Gardner Elementary as a third-grade teacher followed by serving as a kindergarten teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and reading specialist. Upon the opening of the building in 2002, Athey moved to Moonlight Elementary as a kindergarten teacher and reading specialist prior to her current role. She holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of St. Mary and Masters of Science in Educational Technology with an emphasis in Library Media from Pittsburg State University.
She has been a district mentor since 2015 and has shown leadership at Moonlight Elementary as a co-chair of the Reading Committee and a co-creator of the Growth Mindset lessons taught to all MLE students. She helps students through programs such as student council, Novel Navigators, Moonlight Night at the JOCO Public Library, and the staff holiday family adoption program. She is currently planning Moonlight’s first Awareness Week in April to celebrate the diversity in learners.
Athey’s current message is awareness, acceptance, and appreciation for all.
She now will move to the state level and participate in the KTOY selection process. The KTOY Program recognizes a regional finalist for each of the eight (8) regions. From the eight representatives, a Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected. As a team, these designees are provided professional learning opportunities, make visits to school districts around the state, advocate for education at the state level, and represent teachers as a whole across Kansas. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is nominated to represent Kansas in the National Teacher of the Year Program. For additional information about the state program visit