Madeline Dierking, a fourth grade teacher at Logan Avenue Elementary, learned today she is a 2015 Kansas Horizon Award winner. She is one of 32 winners announced today across the state. The winners were notified by telephone by Interim Education Commissioner Brad Neuenswander.
The Kansas Horizon Award Program recognizes exemplary beginning teachers who perform their first year in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. Dierking is now in her second year of teaching. She was nominated by her principal, Jessica Griffin, and Superintendent Theresa Davidson.
“Madeline has built a stronger relational capacity, used more data-driven instruction, differentiation, and shown more leadership than all first-year teachers I have observed,” Griffin wrote in the nomination.
“Her instruction is mesmerizing. Madeline engages students immediately with rigorous academic tasks.”
Dierking wrote in her nomination, “Throughout my first year of teaching, I was constantly reminded that I had the most important job in the world; providing a quality education for each student in my room.”
She added, “It is so important to create a climate where students know they contain great gifts and have the potential to make a difference in the world.”
In her second year, Dierking has already accepted a leadership role for her school, working on a district curriculum team.
“Ms. Dierking has certainly stood out as an exceptional educator in our district,” wrote Vicki Schweinler, executive director for elementary education, in her nomination letter. “Recently, she was added as a lead teacher to our district level (curriculum) alignment team. This is virtually unheard of for a first-year teacher to be placed in such a demanding role. She has not only embraced this new role but has excelled at it.”
The Horizon Award is sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education. Teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching are eligible to be nominated. The awards will officially be presented at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network Conference Feb. 20 in Topeka.