Skinner wins Kansas teacher of the year


Kansas State Department of Education

Here at Newton High School, most of our teachers do not get recognized statewide for the work that they do for students. But on Sept. 24, at the Marriott Hotel in Wichita, Brian Skinner was named the Kansas Teacher of the Year. Skinner teaches English, coaches Scholar’s Bowl, and is the Special Education department chair at NHS.

Becoming the Kansas Teacher of the Year is a lengthy and tough process just to get nominated. It began with the mountain of paperwork Skinner had to do with how he interacts with students, followed by a year of waiting to be announced as a nominee.

“Becoming the [Kansas] Teacher of the Year requires a lot of different pieces. I felt really honored to be named as district nominee right about 12 months ago, filled out a bunch of paperwork pieces where I had to respond to essay questions indicating my styles of teaching, how I work with the students, different involvement I have,” Skinner said.

Next, people from the Kansas State Department of Education came out and interviewed him and his students about why he was a good candidate for the award. Skinner was then named a finalist. Skinner said he was feeling anxious during the ceremony for the award.

“During the ceremony, it was a lot of feelings of anxiousness cause all the finalists I was with were all amazing, and just to be considered amongst them was really cool, but in the back of my mind was like ‘What if I win that would be really cool,’ and then they called my name and there was a lot of excitement,” Skinner said.

Reagan Seidl, Special Education Director for The Harvey County Special Education Cooperative, said she is glad Skinner is being recognized.

“I am extremely proud of Brian and all of his hard work. I am proud that people are recognizing all of the neat things he does, his commitment to his profession, his commitment to his co-workers, his commitment to his students is amazing and I am glad that he is being recognized for that. It was nice that the state recognized him,” Seidl said.

Skinner said he plans to use the prize money to work on some home improvement projects to make his life better.

“This is my tenth year teaching. When I was in high school, my junior history teacher Ms.Laura Pullman, she was a great person. She pushed me with academics, she pushed me with the style of learning I had and that’s when I started to want to become a teacher,” Skinner said.

Skinner has been teaching at NHS for 10 years. Principal Blake Smith is happy that Skinner is finally getting some recognition for the hard work that he does

“He’s been working so hard for so many years, and he does such a great job and it’s kinda nice that he was finally able to get recognized for his hard work by the state. We were at the ceremony. There is eight great teachers from across the state that are finalists, and this is the first time that a teacher from Newton, USD 373 has won the award of best teacher in the entire state, So, we felt a lot of pride and the great teachers from our district are finally getting recognition.” Smith said