Twelve Lee’s Summit R-7 School District teachers receive Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Teaching Awards

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

To be recognized at April 12 community reception

Twelve Lee’s Summit R-7 School District educators were recently named Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Teaching award winners. Recognized teachers are Anne Braun, Woodland Elementary School;  Tracy Colón, Summit Technology Academy; Susan Dunham, Hazel Grove Elementary School; Matt Good, Lee’s Summit West High School; Teresa Graves, Summit Pointe Elementary School; Mindy Haesemeyer, Lee’s Summit North High School; Kim Hartman, Woodland Elementary School; Pamela Hayes, Longview Farm Elementary School; Jonathan Krinke, Lee’s Summit North High School; Brad Rackers, Lee’s Summit West High School; Kimberly Rues, Summit Pointe and Greenwood Elementary Schools; and Krista Tucker, Highland Park Elementary School.  

All 12 recipients will be honored at a reception and program scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. April 12 at the Longview Mansion, 1200 SW Longview Park Drive. The reception is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the R-7 School District, and all students, parents and community members are invited to attend. At approximately 5 p.m., a brief program highlighting each of the 12 Excellence In Teaching Award winners, as well as three Teachers of Distinction, will begin.

The Excellence In Teaching recipients were selected by a committee composed representatives from the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, the business community and R-7 staff.

Mrs. Anne Braun teaches fourth grade at Woodland Elementary School. She has been teaching for 21 years, with 18 years in the Lee’s Summit School District. Mrs. Braun, a math and reading leader at Woodland Elementary (WLE), provides math and reading strategies and resources to staff and students. She is the WLE math cadre representative at the district level. Outside of the classroom, she volunteers her time as a genius hour teacher, providing a time for students to think critically, collaborate, communicate and be creative. Mrs. Braun was a PEAK grant recipient in 2011, awarded by the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation.

Mrs. Tracy Colón is a pre-professional nursing teacher at Summit Technology Academy. She has 12 years of teaching experience and has been in the district for 21 years. She developed the pre-professional nursing program at Summit Technology Academy in 2006. In collaboration with the University of Central Missouri professors, she works to develop a model of nursing practice where high school students and university nursing students work together for mutually beneficial results. Mrs. Colón is a former recipient of the Learning for Life Award and former teacher leader at New Teacher Institute, mentoring many new career and technology teachers throughout the state.

Mrs. Susan Dunham is a kindergarten teacher at Hazel Grove Elementary and has taught in the district for 10 years.  She helped co-develop and facilitate summer parent education classes at Crossroads of Lee’s Summit for incoming kindergarten families, providing them with supplies and skills to prepare Hazel Grove’s newest students.  She is the current classroom host for the 2016-17 Reader’s Workshop Professional Development Network Lab and member of the district’s math curriculum writing team.  She has received five PEAK grants awarded by the Lee’s Summit Education Foundation and three grants awarded by the Missouri State Teachers Association.  She also co-developed the “Christmas at the Grove” program, which provides an evening of Christmas activities, gifts, and food for underprivileged families.

Mr. Matt Good is a speech and debate teacher at Lee’s Summit West High School.  He has been teaching for 17 years, 5 of those in the Lee’s Summit School District.  He has received several outstanding awards including the 2015 Wayne Brown Outstanding Teacher award from the Speech/Theatre Association of Missouri, 2012 National Federation of High Schools Missouri Outstanding Speech/Theatre Educator and Diamond Coach in the National Speech and Debate Association. Mr. Good currently serves as chair of the Show-Me District of the National Speech and Debate Association. The size of the Debate/Forensics program at LSWHS has doubled during Mr. Good’s tenure, growing from approximately 80 students in 2012 to 160 in the 2016-17 school year.

Mrs. Teresa Graves teaches sixth grade at Summit Pointe Elementary. She has been a teacher for 23 years, all in the Lee’s Summit School District.  Mrs. Graves is a former Literacy Leader member who assisted school staff with implementation of Readers’ Workshop. She serves on a number of teams, including Summit Pointe’s Leadership Team and Crisis Team and has mentored several student teachers over the years. As Student Council sponsor, Mrs. Graves initiated community service projects, including collections for Lee’s Summit Social Services and Harvesters, and in 2015 she developed a students vs. staff dodgeball tournament.

Mrs. Mindy Haesemeyer is a English/Language Arts teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School.  She has been a teacher in Lee’s Summit for 16 years. Mrs. Haesemeyer is involved and helped establish several organizations including the “Pennies for Patients” drive at LSN, which is held yearly to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She established a yearly “18 & Swabbing” event at LSN, in coordination with the national campaign Delete Blood Cancer. Mrs. Haesemeyer is also involved in coordinating the annual toy donation event for Hope House in Lee’s Summit and the food drive which collects items for the Lee’s Summit Social Services. In 2014, she was awarded and recognized for the Missouri Association of Student Councils Trails West Advisor of the Year.  

Mrs. Kim Hartman is a special education teacher at Woodland Elementary School.  She has been teaching in the Lee’s Summit School District for 10 years.  Mrs. Hartman helped established reading buddies to foster self-esteem and confidence for intermediate special education students and partnered with staff to implement the Strategic Instruction Model for special education. She uses these tools in her teaching as she remembers the importance in making decisions based on what is best for students.

Mrs. Pamela Hayes is a first grade teacher at Longview Farm Elementary School.  She has a total 26 years of teaching experience, including 15 years in the Lee’s Summit School District.  She is involved in several leadership and committee roles at Longview Farm Elementary, including serving on the Principal’s Council and Leadership Team, the Historic Preservation Committee and as a sponsor of the Garden Club for Longview Farm.  Mrs. Hayes was the lead representative for R-7 Kindergarten Teacher and Science Curriculum team. She also served as the steering committee head for the Young Author’s Conference for the Lee’s Summit Reading Council.

Mr. Jonathan Krinke is a vocal music teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School. He has been teaching for 11 years, five of those in the Lee’s Summit School District. He is very active in and out of the classroom as he is the co-founder of the Missouri Choral Directors Association mentorship program for college students soon-to-be entering the education profession.  He organizes numerous performance opportunities for students locally, regionally and nationally including performances at world class venues such as Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and recently the Chicago’s Symphony Hall. In 2014, Mr. Krinke and the LSN combined men’s choir were selected to perform at the State Conference hosted by the Missouri Music Educators

Mr. Brad Rackers is the theatre director at Lee’s Summit West High School. He has been teaching in the Lee’s Summit School District for seven years. In 2016, he and the LSW theatre team won the award for Best Play for the production of Noises Off.  He was selected to serve as the Technical Director for the Missouri State Thespians’ All State Show Jekyll and Hyde. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Rackers organizes and serves as a mentor for the Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri’s “New Teacher Mentoring Program.”  He collaborated with others to work and create a new theatre curriculum focusing on student performance and project based learning.

Mrs. Kimberly Rues is a library media specialist at Greenwood and Summit Pointe Elementary Schools. She has been teaching for 26 years, 21 of those years in the Lee’s Summit School District.  She has served as the district Lead Elementary Library Media Specialist since 2010.  Mrs. Rues is a facilitator of Hour of Code at Summit Pointe and Greenwood Elementary schools.  She works with Summit Pointe’s third grade team and the Missouri Conservation to host a Missouri Endangered Animal Convention as the culmination of a project based learning unit on endangered species. She has established clubs and programs at each elementary school, including the Missouri Readers Club for middle grade readers at Summit Pointe and in 2016 coordinated access to Google Expeditions Pioneer Program at Summit Pointe and Greenwood.

Mrs. Krista Tucker teaches kindergarten at Highland Park Elementary. She has been teaching for nine years in the Lee’s Summit School District. Mrs. Tucker is a recipient of six PEAK grant awards by the Lee’s Summit Education Foundation and also a recipient of two Donors Choose Projects.  She holds the scholarship chair role on the Lee’s Summit Reading Council.  Outside the classroom, Mrs. Tucker is continuing her education by taking classes offered through Lee’s Summit R-7 and the University of Central Missouri. In her spare time, she worked to establish a summer book club for current and past students, two days each summer at a park in Lee’s Summit.   

Joining the twelve Excellence In Teaching Award winners, other finalists for 2017 Teacher of the Year include three Teachers of Distinction, former Excellence In Teaching recipients who were nominated for the award again this year. The Teachers of Distinction interviewing for Teacher of the Year are Erica Arbuckle, Hawthorn Hill Elementary School; Jen Posson, Summit Pointe Elementary School; and Stu Reece, Bernard Campbell Middle School. The announcement of the 2017 Teacher of the Year will be made at the April 12 reception.

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