KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kristen Merrell has been named Missouri’s Teacher of the Year.
Merrell was presented with the award Wednesday at a surprise ceremony at Lee’s Summit Elementary School.
Merrell has taught kindergarten, third, fourth and fifth grades there since 2004.
"Mrs. Merrell sees each of her students and meets them where they are," wrote a parent volunteer in a nomination form, "encouraging them with individualized tasks and opportunities that allow them to reach their personal best. She is deftly efficient and here classroom hums with sounds of excited and engaged children."
Merrell was a 2007 state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, was named Math and Logic Teacher of the Year, and has been awarded numerous education grants.
She previously taught sixth grade at Prairie View Elementary and at Pleasant Lea Elementary and has been with the R-7 School District for 12 years. In addition, she has taught at Longview Community College in the College for Kids and Adults with Disabilities programs.
Before joining the R-7 School District, Merrell operated her own preschool and worked as a dance instructor and assistant director.
Merrell earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her master's degree from Webster University.
Merrell, who is now in the running for the national Teacher of the Year award, and the six other finalists will all be recognized at a banquet scheduled for November in Jefferson City.
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