Laura J. Moyers an elementary music teacher at Anthony Elementary School in Leavenworth (Leavenworth USD453), and Sibyl “Sue” Commons, a high school mathematics teacher at Baxter Springs High School (Baxter Springs USD 508), were named Region 2 finalists for the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year award today.

The announcements were made during ceremonies at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka. As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Moyers and Commons each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major partner in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, an award that will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on November 17.

Moyers and Commons were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 2, which covers the second U.S. Congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Tammy M. Cole, a kindergarten teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School in Paola (Paola USD 368); Kandy J. Williams, a third-grade teacher at West Elementary School in Wamego (Wamego USD 320); Devra D. Parker, a high school English teacher at Burlington High School (Burlington USD 244)’ and Christine “Cristi” D. Wiegers, a high school special education teacher at Wamego High School (Wamego USD 320). Each of the semi-finalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Statewide, 91 educators were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.

Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators, and higher education representatives to select semi-finalists and finalists and from each region.

Each panel selects six semi-finalists – three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the regional finalists.

The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the University of Phoenix Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs. The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, travels the state advocating for education and the teaching profession.