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Congratulations to Annette Phillips on being named the USD 232 Substitute of the Year by Morgan Hunter.

Substitute Teacher of the Year

From left: Kristin Hoffman, MTMS SPED Teacher; Allison Kirch, Morgan Hunter; Annette Phillips, USD 232 Substitute of the Year; Jennifer Smith, MTMS Principal; Mary King, MTMS Asst. Principal.

Congratulations to substitute teacher, Annette Phillips!

Annette was named the USD 232 District Substitute of the Year by the Morgan Hunter Education Team!  Annette was selected based on nominations, including the Building Substitute of the Year by Monticello Trails Middle School, and overall substitute teacher performance for the 2023-24 School Year.

Annette has played a critical role in our district this year, particularly at MTMS, by providing stability to our students by filling in as a long-term SPED teacher for a significant portion of the school year.


  • MTMS

USD 232 nominated two teachers for the 2025 Kansas Horizon Award. The Horizon Award Program recognizes first year educators who display excellence in teaching. 

May 6, 2024

The Board of Education honored Kasey Seaba and Lauren Newstrom as the USD 232 nominees for the 2025 Kansas Horizon Award.

Superintendent Cory Gibson, Lauren Newstrom, Kasey Seaba, and Board President Ashley Spaulding.

Pictured left to right: Superintendent Cory Gibson, Lauren Newstrom, Kasey Seaba, and Board President Ashley Spaulding.

The Kansas Horizon Award Program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, identifies and recognizes first year educators who display excellence in teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.

Lauren Newstrom is a choral music teacher at Monticello Trails Middle School and Kasey Seaba is a 2nd grade teacher at Starside Elementary.

Kasey and Lauren stand out as exemplary educators worthy of the award. As district nominees, they will submit award applications in October, which will be during their second year of teaching. They will find out in January 2025 if they will be among the few teachers in Kansas honored with the KSDE Horizon Award.

The Kansas Horizon Award Program is a regional competition. The regions correspond to the state’s four U.S. congressional districts. The Kansas State Department of Education will appoint regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting up to four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region for a possible total of 32 teachers.

The possible 32 teachers, four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers from each region, will be individually recognized during a luncheon at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) conference in February. Also, they will be invited to participate as special guests in the two-day KEEN conference. 

  • MTMS
  • Starside

The USD 232 Education Foundation and Great American Bank recognizes award recipient for November 2023.

Making a Difference Award presentation for educator

December 19, 2023 

Theresa Koeckeritz, the devoted nurse at Monticello Trails Middle School, earned recognition as the USD 232 Education Foundation’s November winner of the Making a Difference Award for her exceptional contributions to the MTMS community. Known for her genuine care and remarkable patience, Theresa plays a pivotal role in supporting the students and staff.

Since her start at MTMS in 2007, Theresa has approached her nursing role with grace and compassion. Whether a student needs a simple Band-Aid, assistance with fluctuating blood sugar levels, or a change of clothes, Theresa is there to offer support. If the situation requires more than an immediate solution, she ensures that students can connect with their families, exemplifying a commitment to maintaining their dignity and comfort during personal crises.

Theresa's level of patience is described as nothing short of amazing by those who work with her. The MTMS community feels fortunate to have someone with her unwavering 15 years of dedication on their team. Her ability to create a safe and nurturing environment for students and staff allows them to thrive academically and emotionally.

Theresa exemplifies the qualities of a Making a Difference Award recipient. In addition to her exceptional care for individual students, Theresa actively contributes to the positive atmosphere at MTMS. Colleagues and parents appreciate her proactive approach to problem-solving and her positive attitude.

Her dedication has not gone unnoticed, with colleagues and administrators expressing gratitude for the positive impact she has made on the lives of students and the school community. Principal Jennifer Smith, echoing the sentiments of those who work closely with Theresa, commended her dedication, stating,

"Theresa takes care of everyone at MTMS. In her role, she has showcased an unwavering commitment to her students. Those collaborating closely with her have witnessed her tackle numerous challenges with both an open heart and an open mind. Theresa's dedication is truly commendable, and we are so grateful she is here at MTMS."

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Theresa Koeckeritz was presented with a $250 check from the USD 232 Education Foundation, sponsored by Great American Bank. Additionally, she received a Making a Difference Award plaque, a token of appreciation crafted by students at the Cedar Trails Exploration Center.

The USD 232 Education Foundation encourages nominations for the next Making a Difference Award. Nominations will be accepted through the end of December 2023, with the subsequent award presentation scheduled for January. Monthly entries are encouraged!

  • MTMS
  • USD232EF

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