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

Posted Date: 02/03/2021

Join us in celebrating the USD 413 staff members

selected to receive a district

Students First! Award

in April

for going above and beyond expectations

to meet the needs of our students



 Chuck Busse, USD 413 Bus Driverchuck busse students first

Chuck Busse is extremely good with the kids on his bus. He shows them respect and he gets respect back from them. He gives 100% in all that he does and always has a pleasant attitude while helping students with whatever needs to be done.




amanda clasen students firstAmanda Clasen, Lincoln PreSchool Teacher 

Amanda Clasen is not afraid to take the initiative or stick up for others. She is willing to help students in her classroom thrive and be successful. Even after being around a student who was upset with her, she shows that she genuinely cares about them and looks past the behavior and models what should happen. She’s always available for anyone to talk to. She created a spreadsheet to allow staff who may be having a bad day to receive something nice from their list of favorite things. This practice has cheered up staff members and helped make LELC feel like a family and team.




Gloria Ruggles, CES Secretarygloria ruggles students first

Gloria Ruggles goes above and beyond, both for staff and students. Often, students must wait in the office until an administrator can speak to them regarding a discipline matter. Sometimes those students are a little less than thrilled to be there. Gloria shows a commendable amount of patience in helping those students regulate in the office, while continuing to complete her regular duties. I have her extension memorized since she is one of my “go to” people for help. She always gives me directions even if I have already asked her how to do it before. Mostly, I just really enjoy working with her every day and think her kind heart and positive attitude is a tremendous asset to CES.



melissa thurman students firstMelissa Thurman, Fifth Grade at Chanute Elementary

Melissa Thurman has been excellent to work with, bounce ideas off of and work through frustrations. She’s been a great support as we embarked on this new journey of online teaching. We’ve shared a lot of frustrations and laughs as ideas have flopped along with some successes! But, every time it was back to the drawing board to talk about how can we improve this idea and get it across to the students. We have a new understanding about teaching and a whole new way of presenting concepts from what was our “normal classroom.” Melissa is dedicated to putting her Students First and going above the norm to help them succeed!




Jeff Smith, Physical Education teacherjeff smith students first

at Chanute Elementary

I see Jeff using his special education background to help kids all around the school building every day. He is a fun, cool PE teacher and coach, but he also has a kind, honest, helpful approach with kids that puts them at ease.




shannon sommers students firstShannon Sommers, District Librarian

Shannon Sommers is always there to lend a helping hand with our unique bussing situation this year. She always has a positive and motivating word of encouragement for other staff members.






Dawne Burchett, Library Aidedawne burchett students first

at Royster Middle School

Dawne Burchett has gone above and beyond in greeting the kids with a smile every day, making fun videos, and covering classes when asked. Her positive attitude and smile are contagious. Dawne cares so much about our school and everyone in it.




brenna snider students firstBrenna Snider, CIS Coordinator

at Royster Middle School

Brenna Snider goes above and beyond for our students! She is always willing to lend a hand, jump in where needed or be a shoulder to cry on! She even challenges our kids to races! She always has a smile on her face and a compliment to give!




Laurie Ward,  Spanish, ESOL at Chanute High Schoollaurie ward students first

Laurie Ward is an asset to the district who’s taken on many roles and is willing to help. She’s a phenomenal Spanish/ESOL teacher whose passion for teaching is evident in the way she makes learning an inclusive, fun and positive experience. Laurie sees a diverse population of students throughout the day and makes sure to have a personal relationship with each. COVID presented many challenges for teachers, yet Laurie used it as opportunity to reach students by developing better ways to educate. She’s been persistent in finding the best methods for her synchronous students while in quarantine and continues to try new methods in her class. Laurie builds a foundation for lifelong learning, and it’s great to witness her instilling that passion into her students every day.




sherri bagshaw students firstSherri Bagshaw, Business. CTE Coordinator

at Chanute High School 

Sherri Bagshaw has earned a reputation as a no nonsense teacher. Students don’t always like what she has to say, but the kids who dislike her as freshman are the ones who come to appreciate and seek her out as seniors when they need an honest take. This is because the relationships and bonds Sherri builds with students are authentic, honest, and lasting. She goes above and beyond for her students in school and out.

She’s embraced her role as the high school CTE Coordinator, pushing the department to grow and provide more opportunities for students and their futures  She goes out of her way to reach kids and keep them on the right path to graduation. I’ve seen her check in with the wind and energy kids every single day for almost 3 weeks to make sure they’d done their OSHA certifications. Sherri has a much bigger heart than what she lets people see. She’s attended countless meetings with community members to ensure students are placed in internships and are gaining very important life skills. Her passion and advocacy for CTE goes way beyond the walls of CHS.