Teacher of the Year Finalists

Maegen Stucky, an elementary teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, McPherson USD 418, and Whitney Aves, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson USD 308, were named Region 1 finalists for the 2025 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) award during a ceremony on Saturday.

According to the Kansas Department of Education, this award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Kansas. The KTOY Region 1 awards banquet took place in Salina on Saturday evening.

As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Stucky and Aves each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, the major corporate partner for the KTOY program. In addition, they are each now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during a ceremony Saturday, Sept. 28, in Wichita.

Stucky and Aves were among six KTOY semifinalists from Region 1, which covers the 1st U.S. congressional district.

The other KTOY Region 1 semifinalists were Sara Greene, a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary School, Wamego USD 320; Megan Todd, a fifth-grade teacher at Rock Creek Middle School, Rock Creek USD 323; Elizabeth Aldridge, an English language arts teacher at Wamego High School, Wamego USD 320; and Christopher Rome, an English language arts teacher at Marion High School, Marion-Florence USD 408.

Each of the semifinalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan.

This year, 120 educators across the state were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.

Nominations are made in each of the four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), sponsor of the KTOY program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators and higher education representatives to select semifinalists and finalists from each region aligned with the state’s four congressional districts.

Each panel selects six semifinalists – three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semifinalists, 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 state’s eight regional finalists.

The mission of the KTOY program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance and the teaching profession.

Members of the KTOY team, comprised of the current Kansas Teacher of the Year and state finalists, serve as ambassadors for education in Kansas. They make public appearances across the state to promote education and the teaching profession.

The Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for selection as National Teacher of the Year, a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in partnership with the Voya Foundation.

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Photos courtesy Kansas Department of Education. Whitney Aves (left) and Maegen Stucky (right)