USD 231

Congratulations to Kelly Newman, special education teacher at Gardner Elementary, selected as the USD 231 Elementary Teacher of the Year! 

Kelly has proudly served as an elementary teacher for 27 years, having taught in the Gardner Edgerton School District for the past 21 years. Currently, Kelly is the RISE (Reaching Independence through Strengthening Emotional skills) teacher at Gardner Elementary. Prior to this, Kelly taught second-grade and fourth-grade at Gardner Elementary and Moonlight Elementary. Kelly holds a Master's Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas. 

Kelly has served in various leadership roles, such as a district mentor since 2015, district trainer for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Professional Development Chair Representative, district Sonday Systems trainer, Gardner Elementary Building Leadership Team and Positive Behavior Intervention System teams, District Teacher Leadership Academy, and Panther Pride Leadership Council Representative. Kelly's passion for building positive emotional skills in students has led her to present Mindfulness in the Trauma-Informed Classroom and Conflict Resolution presentations to colleagues within the district. 

Kelly's passion is to build positive relationships with parents, students, and staff. She is humbled to be representing the district as Elementary Teacher of the Year and sharing her vision. 

Kelly will now move to the state level and participate in the Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) selection process. The KTOY Program recognizes a Regional Finalist for each of the eight (8) regions. From the eight Representatives, a Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected. As a team, these designees are provided professional learning opportunities, make visits to school districts around the state, advocate for education at the state level, and represent teachers as a whole across Kansas. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is nominated to represent Kansas in the National Teacher of the Year Program. For additional information about the state program, visit

Congratulations, Kelly!!!