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District Names 2018-19 Teachers of Year

Two educators received the school district’s highest honor by being named 2018-19 Teachers of the Year. Matt Bradford of De Soto High School and Emily Valdez of Starside Elementary were surprised with the announcement on Thursday, March 7, by a visit from Superintendent Frank Harwood.

As the District Secondary and Elementary Teachers of the Year, both will now represent USD 232 in the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year program. The school district is an important and strong participant in the state’s teacher recognition program. The district is honored to have two Kansas Teachers of the Year, along with 15 state finalists and 12 semifinalists represented in the program since the year 2000 – more than any other school district in region three.

The Kansas Teacher of the Year Award Program recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.  Its mission is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.

Photograph of Matt Bradford, director of bands at De Soto High School. Photograph of Emily Valdez, third grade teacher at Starside Elementary.

Bradford is the director of bands at De Soto High School. He joined USD 232 in 2012 and is in his 23rd year in education. Valdez is a third grade teacher at Starside Elementary. She joined USD 232 seven years ago in a support role and moved to a teaching position at Starside in 2015. Both teachers will learn in September 2019 if they will advance to the finalist level of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.