HSD recognizes Educator of the Year

May 17, 2013 

The Harrisonville School District recognized several year-end award winners at the district’s end-of-the-year ceremony April 25.

Harrisonville High School instrumental music teacher Andy Kroesen was named the Educator of the Year, Cass Career Center Director’s Secretary Linda Highley was recognized as the Support Staff Employee of the Year, District Social Worker Jennifer Beavers was recognized with the Outstanding Community Involvement Award and Ed Turner was named Volunteer of the Year.

Kroesen is in his 25th year of teaching. He’s taught at HHS since 2000. Prior to that, he taught in the Sedalia, Windsor and Osborn school districts.

He earned his bachelor’s in music education and master’s in music theory and composition from the University of Central Missouri.

Kroesen was selected for the honor by a panel of judges from outside the community who interviewed four finalists. The finalists were chosen by the Harrisonville Public School Foundation selection committee from nominations received from parents, students and Harrisonville schools’ staff members.

Nominations for Kroesen said, “He devotes countless hours to his students. He embodies professionalism and thereby instills this in his students. He challenges his students to strive for excellence not only in music, but in life. His daily persistence and consistency in dealing with classroom managements provides a place for all students to succeed. He has instilled many life-long virtues in his students including respect, responsibility, dedication, and integrity. I have never seen him have a bad day….he always greets everyone with a smile. He teaches with passion and understanding.”

The Harrisonville Public School Foundation presented Kroesen with a $500 grant. He also receives a plaque and a ring from Josten’s. He is eligible for the Missouri Teacher of the Year program.

Highley was also selected by a panel of outside judges from three finalists. She has worked for the district for 15 years – all at Cass Career Center.

Her nominations cited the following. “She’s the backbone of Cass Career Center – she is instrumental in keeping us on track. She is a model of dedication to the students and staff. In addition to her professional skills, she is kind, compassionate, and thoughtful. Her attention to detail is great and she’s a positive team player. If I ever have a question, I know that Linda will have the answer.”

Highley received a desk plaque and a $100 award from Sherwood Community Bank. In addition, she will be recognized with a plaque in the district office and a banner at her school.

Jennifer Beavers was recognized with the Outstanding Community Involvement Award sponsored by Community Bank of Harrisonville.

She received a $100 award from Community Bank, a plaque in the district office and a banner at her school.

Her nomination said, “Jennifer works tirelessly helping match community resources with students and families in need. She deals with issues ranging from transportation to clothing to meals and anything else students need to make their lives easier and more productive. She is the go-to person for families who need assistance. Jennifer's work often extends past the school day into the evening hours and weekends. She was instrumental in getting our backpack program up and going a few years ago and in bringing Bright Futures to our district this year. She is a huge asset to the Harrisonville School District and we are lucky to have her.”

Finally, Ed Turner was honored as the district’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year. Turner has worked as a Bright Futures volunteer at Harrisonville Early Childhood Center.

His nominations stated, “He comes to our school on a daily basis to help struggling students in math. He works with small groups of students and once they master the concept they ‘graduate’ from his program, however, not all my students are happy about ‘graduating’ from his class because they wanted to go back and work with him on their numbers. One of the great things about him coming to our school, is that he does not ask teachers to prepare any extra items. He plans and brings with him different activities, as well as using his iPad to keep students interested.”

The ceremony also included the recognition of the district’s retirees by the Board of Education.

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