The 2016 Kansas Teacher of the Year Team
We are a team of 8 teachers from across the state of Kansas recognized by our peers, districts, and local community leaders as effective teachers. We are a team of PK-12 teacher-leaders passionate about making education in Kansas world class! Together we have 173 years of teaching experience and look forward to sharing our experience and passion for teaching and learning!
Kansas Teacher of the Year 2016, Dodge City USD 443
Coffey has taught at Dodge City High School for eight years, the last four in mathematics. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming. In the spring of 2011, Coffey received his Transition to Teaching certification from Fort Hays State University. He recently completed his master's degree in education from Fort Hays State.
Coffey has served the past three years on Dodge City High School’s Building Leadership Team. He is co-creator and moderator for a monthly Twitter chat for the purpose of creating a community of connected educators working together toward a common goal. Coffey also serves as a mentor to new teachers in his school.
He serves as the head coach of the Comanche Middle School Wrestling Team and created the annual “Leaf It on the Mat” event, which teaches athletes about the importance of giving back to the community. Every fall, students take to the streets of Dodge City to help residents clean up their yards and rake leaves in order to help serve his community.
One of Coffey's favorite projects has been co-founding and directing an annual week long Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics camp called “Wild West STEM Camp.” The camp gives 4th and 5th graders an opportunity to explore STEM careers and be inspired by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. "We work hard to ensure The Wild West STEM Camp can be offered for free to promising students in Dodge City. We want to show our young students that STEM fields are fun, give them permission to let their inner 'nerd' shine, and inspire them to work hard and pursue their dreams in a STEM field," Coffey explains.
Kristoffer Barikmo, Blue Valley USD 229
Kristoffer is currently a Government and Economics teacher and Community Service Coordinator at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He has taught at nationally recognized public and private high schools in Denver and Kansas City. He has also been teaching leadership development since his years at Saint Louis University with the Division of Student development. His passion is empowering young people to transform the world in large and small ways. His mission is to equip teachers with skills and capacities that develop stronger connections with students in the classroom.
His classrooms have been laboratories of experiential learning and exploration in US and World history, Government, Economics, Sociology, and Social Justice Studies. The work of teaching has taken Kristoffer all over the world including Costa Rica, the decks of the Denis Sullivan, Mystic Whaler, and Amistad schooners, the mountains of New Mexico, and countless retreats. His experience in education has made it clear that John Dewey was speaking to teachers in the 21st century when he said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
Kristoffer is a published author and recognized presenter on civic education, global citizenship, global problems, collaborative leadership, teamwork, communication, and transformative education. He has a degree in Political Science from Saint Louis University, a Master of Education in Secondary Social Studies from Rockhurst University, and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent and Young Adult Social Studies. He brings his expertise in pedagogy, educational technology, collaborative leadership, multicultural understanding, and many other topics to life through the programs of "Teach Connected" his professional development group.
Lucinda Crenshaw, Lawrence USD 497
I graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield, KS certified as a Kindergarten-9th grade teacher with many areas now designated as Highly Qualified. I obtained a masters of education with an emphasis in science from Wichita State University. I launched my career teaching first grade in the Fairfield Unified School District at Turon Elementary, a K-8 school, for 3 years. When my husband began his doctoral program at KU we moved to Lawrence and I taught fourth grade for 1 year at Muncie Elementary in the Turner School District. In 1989 I transitioned to teaching fifth and sixth grade mainly geography, science and technology in an open classroom departmentalized setting. When I came to West Jr. High (now Middle) School in 2000, I taught eighth grade physical science and currently teach seventh grade earth science. By maintaining my National Board Middle Childhood Generalist Certification, for over 17 years, I continue to hold an Accomplished KS Teaching Licensure.
Being an active member in the National Education Association since my undergraduate years has allowed me to serve in more than one role as an officer of our local, a problem-solver consultant, and a negotiation team member. Representing science and general education educators on a variety of committees from building to state level throughout my career continues to offer me a way to help keep our profession strong and be a needed voice to advocate for others to improve not only our own lives but others, our communities, country, and world.
I strive to see beyond what others see and make connections between a diverse array of people and issues. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. My challenge is configuring them to generate the most successful outcome possible. I have helped families, colleagues, and SPED teams understand why a given student (or a whole classroom) struggles and then helped them problem-solve to improve interventions. I am passionate about what I do and what I can help others learn to be able to do for themselves.
Students become scientists in my classroom as they experience and learn through inquiry and constructivism. We utilize scientific processes, growth mindsets, and habits of mind to foster our ever evolving classroom community. We look at our world through a variety of perspectives and learn to advocate for ourselves as students, people, and members of our community armed with wisdom and respect. My class offers opportunity to take calculated risks and educated guesses to then guide the creation of significant understandings and knowledge every day. That knowledge combined with action leads to authentic empowerment which can initiate critical reflection, change, and improvement.
I bring to education wit, ingenuity, and perseverance, doing whatever it takes to ensure teachers are regarded as professionals and that all students have a chance to succeed. I believe my concerted time and effort provides an impassioned, strong, experienced voice for teachers and students to create quality programs, relevant curriculum, and dynamic enjoyable work environments both in and out of the classroom.
Shelly Jennings, Maize USD 266
I grew up in the small, rural town of Little River, Kansas. I attended Kansas State University where I studied special education and also certified Kindergarten-9 in science. My teaching experience began in the Buhler School District, where I taught for four years. I moved to Wichita, Kansas with my husband David and daughter. I have taught kindergarten, pre-school, third grade and second grade and my husband and I have had four more children added to our family while here in the Maize School District. We have been here since 1996. It's in the years in the Maize District that I have obtained my master's degree and published an action-research document with strategies for struggling readers in the elementary classroom.
Sheila Koup, Eureka USD 352
Sheila Koup has a BLA from the University of Missouri @ K.C., a BSE with certifications in English and Social Science from Emporia State University, and an MAT with an emphasis in American History from Emporia State. She has been teaching for fifteen years, and currently teaches Composition I and II as concurrent credit courses through Flint Hills Technical College, as well as English IV and English I at Eureka Jr./Sr. High School. She is the head of the English Department, a member of the Student Improvement Team and the Curriculum Council, the chair of the Senior Exit Project team, and a trainer in her building for the McREL Evaluation Tool and the BYOC system. She is married with three grown children and six grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys scrapbooking and other crafty endeavors.
Nona Mason, Goodland USD 352
Nona is a Kindergarten Teacher at West Elementary School in Goodland, Kansas. She has taught in Kansas for 31 years, with 29 years in Goodland. For 25 years she was the Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in an integrated preschool classroom. Now she enjoys the challenges of teaching Kindergarten. Her classroom is the English as a Second Language classroom for Kindergarteners in her school district. Nona enjoys using technology, engaging children in SMART board activities and taking advantage of the one to one iPad situation in her Kindergarten classroom. She believes that children learn best by doing. Her classroom is full of busy, active children who are moving, exploring and learning together.
Jolene Pennington, Paola USD 368
Jolene is a 5th grade teacher at Sunflower Elementary School in Paola, Kansas for USD 368. She is the daughter of retired Supt. James Stolfus and sister to Jan Jacka, retired Speech Pathologist USD 501. She received her first degree from Emporia State University in 1973, BSE K-12 Art Education, and later from Pittsburg State University, K-9 Classroom and MA in History. She has dedicated her life to the youth of Kansas.
In addition to her involvement with education through building activities such as Constitution Day and Veteran's Day, she has also has been awarded the Young Careerist Award by the Business and Professional Women, the Kansas Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award and the 2015 Kansas History Teacher of the Year. She demonstrates a commitment to teaching in a creative, imaginative manner, effectively using the district’s curriculum as well as documents, artifacts and primary resources in order to engage her students. Her students are involved in community service projects, some of which include our military. Each year her students make a global connection as they share their lives and culture with other classrooms from around the world. Mrs. Pennington helps inspire the fun of teaching to her coworkers. The grants she has written and received, through USD 368, have allowed her and her colleagues to travel to sites throughout the United States and bring the history and experiences back to students with enthusiasm. For many years she has served on numerous local and state education committees with great commitment and advocacy for students. She has been actively involved in her communities as well. Her volunteer work has included her church, American Red Cross, 4-H Leader, Girl Scouts, NCCC Summer Academies, cancer and other drives, Daughters of the American Revolution, Kansas State Historical Society, to name only a few. Summer and after school jobs have been devoted to instilling work ethic and graduation completion to the youth in her community. She has been committed to inspiring college and high school students interested in education as a profession within her classroom as well. During her summers she strives to remain the best teacher for her students as possible. In this quest she has been award travel to national workshops where she has been able collaborate and learn with other teachers throughout the United States. Mrs. Pennington states about others, "I have found that teachers are passionate and compassionate people that love to teach and love to learn. Educators are exceptional and an irreplaceable group of professionals."
Anna Sahadeo, Shawnee Mission USD 512
Anna Sahadeo has been a classroom teacher for 13 years. She has taught 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade in both the Liberty, Missouri and De Soto, Kansas school districts. She presently teaches 2nd grade at Rosehill Elementary in Lenexa. Anna attended the University of Kansas, graduating with an Elementary Ed. degree in 2001 and a Masters degree in Special Ed. in 2002. When not teaching, Anna is an avid sports fan (Jayhawks, Chiefs, Packers, and Royals), enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family. She lives in Overland Park and is a mom to Alice, her 15 year old dog.