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Wilbur science teacher wins Excellence in Public Service Award

Wilbur science teacher wins Excellence in Public Service Award

Tim Elsen surrounded by district leadersTim Elsen, a science teacher at Wilbur Middle School, received the 2023 Excellence in Public Service Award from the Wichita Public Schools.

Click here to watch a video news story of Elsen's award surprise.

Now in its 35th year, the award recognizes employees from the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and Wichita Public Schools who exhibit the highest standard of service on the job and through their volunteerism.

The winners each receive $2,500 from the DeVore Foundation.

Elsen has worked for the district for 10 years.

Schanee Anderson, a parent of one of Elsen’s students and Curator of Education and Farms for the Sedgwick County Zoo, nominated Elsen for the award, highlighting his work with students involved in Wilbur’s Science Olympiad program..

“When my son was a student at Wilbur, Mr. Elsen encouraged him to join Science Olympiad, an activity he participated in for the next four years,” said Anderson. “With Mr. Elsen’s help, he won first in state in Herpetology and the entire team placed second. Although I was always impressed with Mr. Elsen’s work with the students as a fellow educator, I was even more impressed as a parent. He truly cares about each of his students and really wants them to all love science.”

Anderson also noted Elsen’s extra efforts in advocating for extracurricular activities for students.

“He is an advocate to get permission for students to come to Sedgwick County Zoo twice each year for Safari Edventure Day and Party for the Planet Earth,” said Anderson. “His students help facilitate environmental education activities to younger students, and teaching other students about the environment has been a great opportunity for Mr. Elsen’s students to grow themselves.”

Elsen’s community work includes being actively involved in Science Olympiad as well as the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, where he was past president and served on the executive board and as a regional representative. He has been instrumental in creating regional conferences at no cost for teachers, which provided opportunities for networking, hands-on science experiences and fun activities for attendees.

Elsen is one of the main facilitators of the regional Science Olympiad competition where middle schools from around the region compete to get to the state competition. He has served as the regional coordinator for two years and as a coach for 11 years.

At Wilbur, Elsen is the head of the school’s recycling program and serves as an AVID coach. He has also been a mentor for second-year science teachers in the district and his classroom has been used as a model classroom by WPS’ new teacher induction team.

Elsen was named an Outstanding Teacher of Science by the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science in Spring 2022, received the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Region IV Science Teacher of Excellence Award in Spring 2013, and received the district’s Good Apple Award three times.

He will be honored, along with the Excellence in Public Service Award winners from Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita, at a reception at Botanica on May 11.