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Chanute Public Schools announces 'Students First' staff members for December

Posted Date: 01/12/2021

Join us in celebrating the USD 413 staff members

selected to receive a district

Students First! Award

in December

for going above and beyond expectations

to meet the needs of our students


bob ortiz students first award



Bob Cummings, District Maintenance

Bob is always willing to adapt to situations when things need done on short notice. His knowledge of how things work in our district is a great asset for both students and staff. Although many times Bob's work is behind the scenes, it does not go unnoticed.



Rachel Stokes,rachel stokes students first

Preschool Custodian

at Lincoln 

Rachel works so hard at keeping Lincoln clean. She’s always willing to do anything anyone asks of her. This year has been really hard on custodians and I feel she has worked extra.





Loretta Dillow, library aide at Chanute Elementary

loretta dillow students firstLoretta Dillow is a valuable part of the CES team. She works hard to get to know the students at CES as readers, so she can make book recommendations and connections with students in the library. If anyone needs extra help, she always says, "Yes!" with a smile. With the pandemic Loretta really had to change her role in the library and she made that change without hesitation. Every day she quarantines books, selects specific books for students and fulfills the holds placed through BookHub. The library would not be able to distribute books without her tireless efforts. She makes reading possible and does it with an upbeat and grateful attitude. Loretta is truly here for the students and staff at CES!


MaryEllen Smedley, Nurse Assistant at Chanute Elementary

Everyone's job has been changed a little this year due maryellen smedley students first to COVID, but MaryEllen Smedley takes the changes in stride and always has a huge smile on her face. She has taken up some of the slack that allows me to focus more on the data and doesn't complain a bit. This woman is a rock star!  



shelly kuhn students firstShelly Kuhn, speech language specialist at Chanute Elementary

Shelly Kuhn is one of the most talented and resourceful members of our 413/ANW family. She‘s incredibly dedicated not only to her own students, but to everyone else in the building  needing assistance. I cannot count the number of first-then charts, visual schedules, icons, and social stories she’s provided me, but each one is truly unique and tailored to the individual needs of each student. She’s one of the most organized and professional members of our team, and goes above and beyond to help children with their speech language needs. Shelly Kuhn is a true gem and most deserving of this award.

Patty Small, Title I teacher

at Chanute Elementarypatty Small, students first

Patty always brings wonderful ideas to our PLC to help us with reading. When we have concerns about a student, she quickly does assessments and gives us feedback. She has also stepped in and covered as a sub numerous times when needed.



Ellen Kellerman, ANW SPED para at Chanute Elementary

ellen kellerman students firstEllen Kellerman cares so much about the kids and the staff. She works well with my students - encouraging, prompting, and checking on them. She takes steps to work well with me, to make sure she understands what is expected of the students, both academically and behaviorally. She is willing to take on (almost) any task I ask of her. I'm so thankful when I have her in my classroom.


Michelle Johnson, science teacher at Roystermichelle johnson students first

Michelle Johnson is always coming up with new and inventive ways to teach our science curriculum. Her students all love her and I even hear my students talking about how much they loved having her last year. Her patience and kindness is something I can only hope to someday have. She always has the best interest of others ahead of her own. She is a crucial part of our Science PLC and we are better because she is in it!

Max Ruark, English teacher and coach at Chanute High School

max ruark students firstMax Ruark is one of the most underappreciated teachers we have in our district. He’s not only an expert in his content area who shares his expertise and passion for literature, he’s also a phenomenal culture builder. He builds positive relationships with students, opens lines of communication and teaches life lessons that go far beyond Shakespeare and proper grammar. Max is also willing to get out of his comfort zone and try something new for the benefit of students. He was among the first to pilot and implement EBL and Learning Grids, showing a willingness to lead from the front in search of what is best for students. Whether in the classroom, on the tennis or basketball court, he walks the walk when it comes to being a role model for the students and athletes under his care.

Matt Morgan, District School Resource Officermatt morgan school resource officer

As our SRO, Matt Morgan spends a lot of time getting to know all the kids. He is happy to see them and always tries to greet each one with a smile and kind words. He spends 10-minute break and all of the lunch periods talking with students. He is a great asset to our school. I really enjoy seeing him here with the kids every single day.