Photo of Distinguished Classroom Teacher Honorees 2021

     Photo from left: Kelsey Potter, Heather Manganiello, Mike Williams, Kelli Phimsiprasom, Jonathan Belsan, Crystal Firestone, Courtney Maddux and Alexandra Stamps.


    Distinguished Classroom Teacher Awards

    The Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award program recognizes outstanding teachers who affect the quality of education in the Wichita Public Schools. It is the highest award bestowed by the district on its teaching staff.


    Each year, awards are given in eight different categories - new teacher (elementary), new teacher (secondary), primary (Pre-K through 2), intermediate (3 through 5), middle school, high school, support (elementary) and support (secondary) teachers.


    Anyone can nominate a teacher for this prestigious award. The nomination form must be completed in collaboration with the teacher-nominee and submitted by the announced deadlines. The deadline for 2021 nominations was noon on January 22.

    A selection committee made up of teachers, school and district-level administrators, the executive directors of elementary and secondary schools and a member of the United Teachers of Wichita reviews the nominations and makes the final selections.


    The award recipients are recognized by the Board of Education and each receives a crystal award and $20 in PTR Bucks to be used at Parent Teacher Resources. Their schools also receive a commemorative banner featuring their award-winning teacher.


    The 2021 Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award honorees were surprised with news of their awards on March 17 by Board of Education members, district leaders and their family members.


    This year's honorees in their respective categories include


    Alexandra Stamps, 5th grade teacher at McLean Science & Technology Magnet Elementary – New Teacher, Elementary
    Runner up: Jesse Millspaugh, 4th grade teacher at Dodge Literacy Magnet Elementary

    Kelsey Potter, 7th grade science teacher at Stucky Middle School
     – New Teacher, Secondary category
    Runner up: Jamie Smartt, 6th grade language arts teacher at Brooks Center for STEM and Arts Magnet Middle School.

    Kelli Phimsiprasom, 1st grade teacher at Linwood Elementary School 
    – Primary (Grades Pre-K – 2) category
    Runner up: Dana Tisdale, kindergarten teacher at Gordon Parks Academy

    Courtney Maddux, 3rd grade teacher at Harry Street Elementary
     – Intermediate (Grades 3 – 5) category
    Runner up: Jerusha Willenborg, 3rd grade teacher at Gordon Parks Academy

    Jonathan Belsan, 6th-8th grade social studies teacher at Coleman Middle School
     – Middle School category
    Runner up: Claire Overstake, 6th grade science teacher at Stucky Middle School

    Crystal Firestone, 9th-12th grade mixed abilities teacher at Northwest High School
     – High School category
    Runner up: Chitra Harris, 9th-12th grade science teacher at South High School

    Mike Williams, physical education teacher at Colvin Elementary
     – Support Teacher, Elementary category
    Runner up: Kristen Mott, MTSS Facilitator at Harry Street Elementary School

    Heather Manganiello, social worker at Hamilton Middle School
     – Support Teacher, Secondary category
    Runner up: Kellie Loudermilk, data leader at Wilbur Middle School


  • Distinguished Classroom Teachers 2020

    DCTA honorees 2018

    2020 Distinguished Classroom Teachers (back row) Denise Van Horn, Leigh Kasper, Sam Belsan, Darham Rogers and Afton Miller; (front row) Tiffany Peterson, Lisa Reeb and Catherine Busick.

    Distinguished Classroom Teachers 2019

    Distinguished Classroom Teachers 2017

    2019 Distinguished Classroom Teachers (left to right) Keely PJ Tolbert, Ashley Cavazos, Kimberly Knox, Cathy Boote, Kate Skinner, Susan Moore and Sarah Gegen.