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Salina Public Schools rewards teachers for demonstrating excellence

Two Salina public school teachers received a warm welcome and sustained applause after delivering their remarks Tuesday, both recognized for their commitment to student success.

Hernan Hernandez, a third grade teacher at Schilling Elementary, received the district’s Horizon Teacher Award, and Kevin Poland, a social studies teacher at Salina South High School, was named a $305 Master Teacher.

The two were honored at the $305 school board meeting on Feb. 14.

Hernandez remains committed to meaningful student relationships

Teachers who demonstrate excellence in their first full year of teaching are nominated for the district’s Horizon Award.

Hernandez’s teaching style includes strong bonds with her students, hands-on activities, frequent movements, and technology. When presented with the Horizon Award, Salina Public Schools said his passion for teaching is evident in everything he does and that other teachers note that he wants to make sure his students get the best he can. give.

“I feel very honored to have received this Horizon Award,” said Hernandez. “I feel like I’m here because I’ve wondered what my ‘why’ is.”

She said teaching wasn’t the first career she pursued. He knew he wanted to help and serve people, but he didn’t know how. After meeting the right people, he was motivated to go back to school and finish his degree. In that process, he learned a lot about himself, he said.

“I’m someone who believes that once you decide things, you can get things done,” Hernandez said. “Those who believed in me helped me earn my trust to grow — and I’m still growing.”

Hernandez said he takes the time to learn about his students’ interests, hobbies and skills. Knowing the little things about the students he teaches helps build meaningful and positive relationships, he said.

Collaboration is also important to Hernandez. In meeting his students’ families, he quickly learns the parents’ goals and preferred methods of communication.

His time spent creating an exemplary learning environment benefits his students as well as his colleagues, with whom he has been known to share generously.

Hernandez also helped start a student council at Schilling Elementary, fostering a new way for students to develop leadership, belonging, and a sense of pride.

In an email, the district said Hernandez’s work in creating a safe and positive learning environment helps foster student success on a daily basis.

Kevin Poland recognized for service to staff, students and the community

Members of the National Association of Educators – Salina selected Kevin Poland, a social studies teacher at South High School, as a Master Teacher from $305 2023.

Poland is in its 15th year of teaching at Salina South. As a social studies educator, you said you are committed to ensuring future generations are civic-minded citizens.

As a teacher, Poland said she has a responsibility to lead the development of student empathy and education. In each of her lessons, she prioritizes excellence, inclusion, and community development.

Students in the Polish class practice healthy community relationships and develop skills that can be applied to improve the political and economic climate.

“I am very happy to receive this award,” said Poland. “But I feel really undeserving, because it’s the flaw at South High and throughout the district that really keeps us going. It’s a community that lifts each other through adversity and celebrates together.”

Poland was part of the Writing to Learn team at South High School, a group of teachers from different content areas exploring how to use writing in the classroom as a way for students to communicate their learning.

She has also contributed to the integration of school technology, served on South High’s multilevel student support leadership team, and mentored others as a teacher ambassador. He was trained in Kagan and Advance Placement education.

Poland received the Secondary Horizon Award in 2010 and has been involved in the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network, helping teachers make connections with other passionate and dedicated educators throughout Kansas.

As a career-long member of the Kansas National Education Association, he said he appreciates the collective strength and support of fellow KNEA educators.

“We have taught through many adversities,” Poland said. “Teaching through a building under construction… teaching through COVID… there have been some hills and valleys and the only thing that has kept me going are the faculty and students who surround me every day.”

Poland’s involvement extends to the Salina community, where she judges debate, participates in student events, and is a sponsor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Project 7.

His involvement in his church includes the Church Council, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, an after-school program, and the Deacons’ Council.

Kendrick Calfee has been a reporter for the Salina Journal since 2022, focusing primarily on county government and education. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @calfee_kc.

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