Two educators have been selected to advance to the Kansas Teacher of the Year Regional Competition: Katie Gartenmayer, third grade teacher at Nike Elementary; and Ashley Gorney, Spanish teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School.
Gartenmayer, USD 231’s elementary level honoree, holds a Master of Science in Teaching with an emphasis in Speakers of Other Languages from Pittsburg State University; and a Bachelor in Elementary Education from Benedictine College. She has been in education for seven years and has taught third grade for all seven years. Outside of her teaching day, Gartenmayer is a Mentor Teacher and participates in the USD 231 Leadership Team. She has also been a Cooperating Teacher with MidAmerica Nazarene University, Fort Hays State University, and Benedictine College. Katie has also facilitated various presentations to groups including “Learning Goals,” “7 Habits of Happy Kids,” “Growth vs. Fixed Mindset,” and “First Year Teachers – Family Communication.”
Gartenmayer has been recognized for her teaching abilities from her colleagues by being nominated and selected as a USD 231 Shining Star, December 2016; Atchison Elementary School Teacher of the Month, February 2014; Atchison Elementary School Teacher of the Month, October 2014; and Kansas Teacher of Promise, 2009.
“Miss Gartenmayer cannot truly be defined by words alone, but rather her actions,” said Lisa Thompson, Nike principal. “She believes in all of the children and will find ways to help them be successful. Academics are a priority, but in Miss Gartenmayer’s classroom this is just one piece of the puzzle. She’s masterful at creating an atmosphere where students are encouraged and learn how to always be kind, respectful, and responsible. She is a proficient and dedicated leader in our school.”
Ashley Gorney, USD 231’s secondary level honoree, has been in the teaching profession for 13 years with nine years at Gardner Edgerton High School. Prior to GEHS, she taught Spanish I, II, and III at Great Bend (Kan.) High School.
Gorney holds a Bachelor’s in Spanish from Fort Hays University. Outside of her teaching responsibilities, she has fulfilled the roll of assistant coach for volleyball and basketball, as well as assumes the role of chair of the International Languages Department. Gorney is also a Mentor Teacher to new teachers to GEHS. Her professional passion is to continue to learn to provide the best possible educational experiences to her students. She has visited five Spanish-speaking countries learning about the people, cultures, beliefs, music, and the language, mainly for the purpose to share these experiences with her students.
“Ashley’s students love her class ,and she is a big reason why our Spanish program has doubled since her arrival,” said Mark Meyer, GEHS principal. “Her tremendous success in the classroom is commendable, but the strength, courage and determination she exhibits every day motivates and inspires everyone in our school community. She is a true example of what we all strive to be.”
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 in the state 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-finalist, 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.