Geary County Schools and USD 475 press release
Geary County Schools and USD 475 is proud to announce that Eisenhower Elementary first grade teacher Mckenzie French has been named the district’s nominee for the Kansas Horizon Award Program.
“Ms. French is exactly the kind of educator that families want for their child. She is relentless in providing students with everything they need. Her students thrive due to her love and commitment,” said Amy Roether, Eisenhower Elementary principal.
The Kansas Horizon Award Program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, identifies, and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in classrooms across the state. The mission of the program is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.
“It means a lot and feels really good to be named the district’s recipient for the Kansas Horizon Award,” said French. “I now know that I am on the right track, and it just reaffirms that I’m making a difference in my students.”
French, who is now in her second year of teaching in the district, came to Geary County Schools USD 475 last fall after graduating from Kansas State University in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
“The leadership of USD 475 is incredibly proud that Ms. French has joined our instructional family and is thriving in her second year of teaching,” said Dr. Debra Gustafson, Associate Superintendent of Geary County Schools USD 475. “We look forward to her future contributions and appreciate all who have assisted her along the way.”
In the classroom, French’s first grade students partake in engaging and exciting curriculum that helps them grow throughout the school year. Her students also learn how to believe in themselves through her positivity and infectious smile.
“My students are my whole world and I love being able to spend time with them. I have 18 little souls in my classroom that I get to impact every single day in a positive way. I love that. I get to see them grow from the beginning of the school year, starting out as kindergarten students, to ending the year as second grade students. They mean everything to me,” said French.
The Buhler native was not new to the district last fall as she not only student taught at Lincoln Elementary, but also did a practicum class for the Lions while at K-State.
“I love working for this district. Being at Lincoln, I told myself that I wanted to work here because everyone worked so well together. I knew instantly that this was the district that I wanted to work for,” said French. “My first impression of USD 475 six years ago totally impacted my decision to come back. Everyone works so well together and there is so much respect and communication throughout the district, which is really helpful.”
Kansas Horizon Award Program winners will be recognized at a special ceremony during the 2024 Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) Conference, which is scheduled for Feb. 22-23, 2024, in Topeka.