Congratulations to KCSS TOY Award Winners

Yesterday three outstanding social studies teachers were recognized at the annual Kansas State Social Studies Conferences for receiving the Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Award.  Judy Cromwell taught social studies in the Topeka area for over 38 years. She was a long-time member of KCSS and served on the board for 28 years.

Judy was known for her strong support of classroom teachers, her delicious buffalo chip cookies, and for leading summer trips around the state with teachers. The Excellence in Teaching Award is named in her honor.  Intended to reward and encourage high quality instruction in the social studies for educators who are currently teaching social studies at least half-time and have three years teaching experience, KCSS selects one winner in each of the grade levels: elementary, middle, high school, and higher education.

This year nominations were received and winners were selected for the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

terryTerry Healy was recognized as the 2016 recipient of the elementary award.  Terry currently works in the Manhattan Ogden School District as a gifted and enrichment educator and has worked as a freelance writer for The Education Center. She is also a previous winner of the Gilder Lehrman, Konza Prairie, and Patricia Behring Kansas History Day Teacher of the Year Awards. She is described by her nominators as a model educator who demonstrates outstanding community service, continuous professional growth, exceptional school service, innovative instructional strategies and participation in numerous professional organizations.  Her lessons are not limited to the confines of school; rather, she searches for opportunities to utilize community resources to enhance her instruction so it is even more engaging and meaningful for her students. Her accomplishments are commendable as she is a teacher who goes far above and beyond all expectations, to leave a lasting impact on her students and those fortunate enough to work with her.

kyleKyle Johnson was recognized as the 2016 recipient of the middle school award.  Kyle currently works at Seaman Middle School in Topeka as the gifted facilitator teaching both 7th and 8th grade social studies and language arts, as well as Creative and Dramatic Arts. He is also a previous winner of the Seaman School District and Kansas History Day Teacher of the Year Awards. He is described by his nominator as the ideal nominee for this award because he is enthusiastic, challenging, and open to new ideas. He motivates his students to achieve their full potential by believing every student can go beyond his/her expectations and continually grow as historians. By a current student he is described as not only a great teacher, but also a motivational basketball coach and scholars’ bowl sponsor. He makes sure that his students have fun while learning and is always a person that they can count on and look up to, going well beyond being a history teacher. He has taught his students how to use their talents in ways that they never knew they could and made them proud of whom they are.

jasonJason Dolezal was recognized as the 2016 recipient of the high school award.  Jason currently works at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City teaching world and American history, government, economics, psychology, and family advocacy. He is described by his nominator as a complex thinker who works to integrate effective instructional techniques and literacy development within his lessons everyday. He is instrumental in motivating colleagues on all curriculum and peer education teams. One of his greatest assets is his ability to build relationships with his students to create a safe and caring classroom culture for learning. By current students he is described as always giving kind words, motivating them, making them laugh, and teaching them to live their own future, not someone else’s past. He invests his time to inform each and every one of his students on how well they are doing, gets to know them, and tells them where they need to improve. His feedback and compliments makes his students feel like the world is not so unbreakable and helps to keep them going. He inspires his students each day to keep going because their hard work will pay off in the long run.

At this time next year we hope to be awarding a teacher from all of the grade levels and we need your help to make that happen. If you know a teacher deserving of this award please take the time to nominate them for the 2017 Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Award, nominations will be accepted from the beginning of the 2016-17 school year through October 2017 and next year’s recipients will be honored at the 2017 Kansas State Social Studies Conference. Information can be found at

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