Gratitude is what comes to mind in connection with this prestigious award. I am thankful to every colleague who molded me into the educator I am today. My mother, a retired teacher, had high expectations for her students and worked tirelessly to provide them with success. Not all passionate and caring educators get recognized for their unrelenting efforts, so I am appreciative of this honor. As a representative for all the dedicated teachers past and present, I say, “Let’s keep rockin’ it!”

Michelle Kelly Basehor, KS | K-6, Mathematics, 2014

Michelle Kelly, an educator for 11 years, has taught kindergarten and first grade at Basehor Elementary School for the past six years. In addition to her years as a kindergarten teacher and first grade teacher, Michelle has also been a learning and behavior disability teacher and trainable-mentally handicapped teacher. Known as the “Silly Sock Schoolteacher,” Michelle’s energetic teaching style uses catchy rhymes, crazy hand gestures, interactive lectures, out-of-the-box lessons, and class cheers to engage young learners. By examining mathematical processes during activities, Michelle motivates her students to see what learning approaches work best for them, and then empowers them to utilize those strategies on an independent level. Her students take pride in becoming the experts in their own learning. Michelle was Basehor-Linwood’s District Teacher of the Year in 2014 and Robinson  Elementary’s Teacher of the Year in 2010. She has presented at state-level conferences, including the Kansas Excellence in Math and Science Conference and the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals Spring Retreat. Michelle has a B.S., cum laude, in psychology from Grand Valley State University, as well as a B.S., summa cum laude, in elementary education and a M.S. in early childhood unified, both from Emporia State University. She is certified to teach birth through sixth grade.