Chisholm Trail Middle School teacher Melissa Kinzer, a 2016 Baker University graduate, was honored with the Horizon Award, which recognizes excellence in first-year teaching.

“Receiving the Horizon Award is truly humbling because the effort put forth was not done alone,” Kinzer said. “It takes a village to have a successful classroom and school year, and that village includes a supportive administration, colleagues, and community.”

Each year the Kansas State Department of Education recognizes 32 educators—16 elementary teachers and 16 secondary teachers—with the Horizon Award based on the high quality of classroom instruction they have demonstrated throughout their first year as professional educators. Four elementary and four secondary classroom teachers are selected for the award from each U.S. Congressional District.

Kinzer teaches seventh-grade science and additionally serves as a sponsor for Chisholm Trail’s Science Olympiad and Leadership Club and serves as an assistant track and field coach. While at Baker, Kinzer was named a Teacher of Promise by the university’s education department.

“I can honestly say every class and experience I had at Baker has helped mold me into the educator I am today,” Kinzer said. “Each professor demonstrated passion for their content areas and also provided applicable knowledge using teaching strategies that I would use in my own classroom. Gratefully, I continue to stay in touch with many of my Baker professors and hope that over the years we will continue to collaborate so that my students may be enriched because my education was enriched through Baker.”

Having won at the district level, Kinzer will compete in the Kansas State Department of Education’s 2018 Kansas Cable Telecommunications Horizon Award Program. The program aims to encourage, recognize, and reward new members of the education profession while honoring exemplary first-year teachers.