Skip to main content

District recognizes staff with Students First! awards

Posted Date: 02/11/2020

Thumbnail Image for Article 48101

Join us in celebrating the USD 413 staff members selected to receive a district

Students First! Award

for going well above and beyond expectations to meet the needs of our students

koester presents award to mendy burnettMendy Burnett, vocal music teacher at Chanute Elementary School

Mendy Burnett has a positive vibe about her and goes the extra mile by involving her students in and out of the classroom. She encourages students to do things they think they can’t do, and recognizes them for their accomplishments. Her bulletin board is filled with newspaper clippings of student successes. She practiced with piano students before and after school to provide music in the hallways at Christmas, adding beauty to the school climate.







Angie Wright, fourth grade teacher at Chanute Elementary Schoolkellen gives award to angie wright

Angie has put time and effort into finding a mystery reader with an interesting job or theme to come and read to all the fourth grade students on early release days. She creates short videos with clues for teachers to share with their students to get them excited about the mystery reader’s coming. What a great way to show students the love of reading! I can’t wait to see who else she has lined up to come read to our students. 







Hoops presents award to Angie VanLeeuwenAngie VanLeeuwen, Communities in Schools Site Coordinator

at Chanute Elementary

Angie is the first person I thought of when I heard about this award. She is and always will be Students First. She goes beyond whatever she’s asked to do, and always with a smile on her face. She helps students get to school, provides needed clothing, makes sure they’re on track academically, and are having a good day. Students love meeting with her and showing her they CAN do whatever she asks. When asked to do something, she finds a way to make it work. Our school wouldn't be what it is today without her!





Samantha Reinecke, Special Education teacher at Chantue Elementary SchoolPrincipals present award to samantha reinecke

Sam works so hard for ALL kids. She goes above and beyond to assist kids in exceeding their potential, understanding their self-worth, and feeling connected. She is an amazing advocate! In addition, she goes above and beyond with parents and other adults in the building- to help them understand student needs and to help them develop strategies to meet those needs. She is a huge asset to this building and to this community. I truly believe she deserves recognition for all her hard work!



koester presents award to pat summervillPat Summervill, District Database Administrator, Lincoln

Pat is a very dedicated person whose work takes places behind the scenes but impacts the learning taking place in the classrooms every day. She goes above and beyond every day for the students and staff of USD 413 as she pours over student data to ensure that it is correct and will not cause problems for secretaries, teachers, or state uploads. She’s become the resident expert in everything from PowerSchool to card access, KIDS uploads, and even our bell system and telephone system. She never shies away from the work needed to complete her job or help someone else resolve an issue on their computer.  Many times she answers texts and emails outside of the workday. 



David DeWeese, Support Operations Bus DriverMcKinney gives award to David DeWeese

David cares about the students on his route and is always looking out for them, especially the young ones. He’s kind to everybody, always greets them and is always ready to help them out any way he can. He doesn't care what their last name is or what kind of a house they live in, they are all equal in his mind. David understands that he can make a difference in a student’s day at school and a better day for the student when they go home. If I were to pick one bus driver that I thought could make a difference in a student’s life, I would pick David DeWeese.



Shannon Bogle surprised by awardShannon Bogle, Math/Science teacher, coach at Royster Middle School

Shannon’s plate is very full with her extra coaching, teaching and raising a family. Yet she still finds a way to engage her students and be successful with her coaching. She makes connections with her students and has a positive attitude every day!








Jory Murry, science teacher, coach at Royster Middle SchoolJory Murry receives award

Jory goes above and beyond to provide exciting and unique science educational opportunities for our students. She partners with other staff members and holds students to high levels of accountability.









Karen Graham receives applause at awardKaren Graham, secretary at Chanute High School

Student Government Association Sponsor

Karen leads our most active organization at CHS (StuGo) and has been an advocate for creating a positive culture at Chanute High School. Her lobbying for the creation of the PUPPs program and the time she gives to that program without any compensation are prime examples of someone who has made a habit of putting students first each and every day.

Karen is always giving more than her fair share. She gives up her time and  abilities to do what is best for CHS students. This isn't a one-time thing. This has been a habit of hers year after year after year. 



Tracy Walker, English Language Arts teacher, coach at Chanute High SchoolTracy Walker receives award

Tracy goes over and beyond for students 24/7. Though she teaches some of our most challenging students, she never gives up. A former special education teacher and a current reading interventionist, she teaches small groups and individuals, which means she spends a large chunk of time assessing skills, preparing lessons, and grading assignments. She is here early, and she stays late.

Tracy deals with struggling readers, and sometimes, her students present significant behavioral challenges. Several seem unmotivated and disruptive. It takes an effective teacher to do her job and be successful.