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Hays High School teacher Lisa Renz chosen as semifinalist for Kansas Teacher of Year



KANSAS – Lisa Renz, who teaches English at Hays High School, has been named a semifinalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year.

The Kansas State Department of Education during a virtual ceremony March 27 honored 24 semifinalists statewide.

Those included Renz and five other teachers from Region 1, which consists of the state’s 1st Congressional District.

Renz has taught since 1999 in Hays USD 489, and previously taught from 1991 to 1999 in Russell USD 407, according to her LinkedIn page.

“Great teacher. What an honor,” USD 489 said in a message posted Thursday on its Facebook site.

More than 30 people posted comments in response.

“Congratulations to a very dedicated, deserving educator!” wrote Sue Ann Tebo, who also teaches at Hays High School. “You are awesome.”

“Way to go!” wrote Mona Chapman. “You are a perfect choice!! Congratulations!!!”

Each Teacher of the Year semifinalist will receive a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan, according to a news release put out by Anne M. Bush, communication specialist for the state department of education.

That department sponsors the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, for which elementary and secondary school teachers may be nominated in each of four regions.

Semifinalists and finalists are picked by selection panels composed of of teachers, educational administrators and representatives from institutions of higher education.

This year, 138 educators statewide were nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year, according to the education department news release.

Three elementary school teachers and three secondary school teachers were chosen as semi-finalists in each district.

The other five semi-finalists in District 1 were Susanne Stevenson, a fourth-grade teacher at Beeson Elementary School in Dodge City; Amber Carithers, an English language arts teacher at Hutchinson High School in Hutchinson; Rachel Harder, a fourth-grade teacher at Union Valley Elementary School in Buhler; Kendra Stoppel, a first-grade teacher at Scott City Elementary School in Scott City; and Christi Reid, a seventh-grade mathematics teacher at Lyons Middle School in Lyons.

Stevenson and Carithers were then named Region 1 finalists at the March 27 ceremony. Both are now eligible to become Kansas Teacher of the Year.

The winner of that award will be chosen from among the eight regional semifinalists and announced during a Sept. 25 ceremony in Wichita.

The state winner will be eligible to become National Teacher of the Year, according to the state education department’s news release.

It said the National Teacher of the Year program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation.