Friday, January 10, 2014

Robinson MS Teacher Receives Horizon Award



Congratulations Clark Boatright! 

 This Robinson Middle School Social Studies teacher was informed today that he is one of only 32 Horizon Award winners throughout the state this year. The Horizon Award recognizes exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding. Dr. Diane DeBacker, Kansas’ Commissioner of Education, announced Boatright’s award, along with Topeka Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford, Associate Superintendent Tammy Austin, Robinson Principal Tammy Hazelton, and Robinson Assistant Principal Todd Berry.

The award came as quite a surprise to Boatright, who had been told he was summoned to Hazelton’s office because he was in trouble. Rather than an admonition, however, DeBacker showered Boatright with praise. “Clark, this is really, really special! What your principal, your colleagues, your district saw in you last year- during your first year- is something we don’t see in every first year teacher. That is the ability to connect with students, the ability to make learning fun, and to make the subject matter come alive.” DeBacker further explained that, by winning the Horizon Award, Boatright was now part of an elite club of educators called the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network. As part of this group, he will be able to attend professional development, conferences, and workshops with other teachers who have also been recognized at the state and national level.
Hazelton said, “(Boatright) is an amazing guy. He inspires people. He has done more to inspire kids to give back than anyone I’ve ever had in this school.” One way Boatright inspires students is through his volunteer work. For example, last summer, Boatright and his wife spent time in Uganda, Africa working with less-fortunate children. He also volunteers about two evenings a week working with a youth group here in Topeka.
Debacker marveled at Boatright’s dedication to teaching and his creativity in the classroom. He uses a variety of teaching techniques that allow the kids to participate in hands-on learning. Projects created by the students adorn Boatright’s classroom, and are a testament to the knowledge the kids are gaining. “If you can do all this in your first year of teaching, I cannot imagine what you are going to do five, ten, twenty years down the road. I want to thank you for choosing teaching as a profession,” Debacker said.

After being notified of his accomplishment, Boatright said, “It’s pretty humbling because I wasn’t expecting to actually win anything. To win is an honor. I’m very thankful and grateful.”
Topeka Public Schools is so proud to have Mr. Boatright on our team!