English Language Arts Teacher/Technology Coordinator
Prairie Heights Elementary and Middle Schools
USD 417, Morris County
"I believe that most teachers settle for mediocrity from their students, but a great teacher strives above and beyond by wanting and giving the best for their students. That is exactly what Mrs. Evans does," wrote a former student of Kacie Evans.
That student is now in college and credits Evans with giving her confidence in herself and encouraging her to pursue goals outside her comfort zone.
For Evans, reaching and inspiring students is simple — "Education is about loving students," she said. "If you love students, you will do what is right for them to give them the best education possible."
In Evans' classroom and school, that best education comes through hands-on lessons to show text structure in writing; organizing fine-arts field trips for the entire school to see stage productions, symphony concerts and art exhibits; sending eighth-graders to high school with a personalized tribute to them during graduation ceremonies; using technology to link the classroom with the outside world; and attending students' extracurricular activities.
"There are those who have knowledge of subject matter, while others make a personal connection with students," wrote Cynthia Schrader, principal of Prairie Heights Middle School. "What makes Kacie Evans such a strong educator is that she has both assets."
One parent, whose daughter and son have both been in Evans’ classroom, appreciates how Evans gets to know each student.
"She truly wants each student to be successful in her classroom," the parent wrote, "and she is one of those teachers who doesn’t use a cookie cutter style of teaching. She knows about each of her students and what it takes for them to learn; most of the kids don’t even realize that they are learning."
Evans earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a middle level English endorsement from Kansas State University and a master's degree in education with a library media specialist major from Fort Hays State University.