Sydney Clarke, Gardner Edgerton Wheatridge, and Molly Dugan (above), Spring Hill Middle School, were recently named as Horizon Award winners. Photos courtesy of USD 230 and 231

Thirty-two first-year educators from Kansas, including a Gardner Edgerton and Spring Hill teacher, are being recognized for their outstanding teaching skills through the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award program.

Sydney Clarke

Sydney Clarke, fifth-grade teacher at Gardner’s Wheatridge Middle School, and Molly Dugan, Spring Hill Middle School, were recognized.
The 2021 Kansas Horizon Award recipients were announced Jan. 7 by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).
The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by KSDE, gives all school districts in the state an opportunity to nominate one elementary and one secondary teacher for the award. To be eligible for the award, teachers must have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding.
The program is a regional competition with four regions corresponding to the state’s U.S. congressional districts. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers may be selected for the award from each region.
Recipients of the 2021 Kansas Horizon Award were notified of their selection by Randy Watson, Kansas commissioner of education.
“I want to commend these outstanding educators,” Watson said. “Thanks to the pandemic, this group has experienced anything but a typical first year in the teaching profession. And to be singled out by their districts for their extraordinary performance makes me both proud and excited to have them in Kansas classrooms.”
As recipients of the Kansas Horizon Award, these educators are invited to join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN), a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in several professional development programs throughout the year.
Watson, called to congratulate Clarke on Jan. 7, 2021. The Horizon Award is reserved for those teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching and have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding.
This marks the third time in three years that Gardner Edgerton teachers have won this prestigious award. Emily Baden, fourth-grade teacher at Nike Elementary won in 2020 and Katey Foley, French teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School won in 2019.
Clarke will be recognized during the February 1, 2021 Board of Education meeting.