Skip to main content

50 Kansas high school students attend first Advanced Kansas Future Teacher Academy

A group of students wear matching T-shirts

Fifty high school students from around the state of Kansas attended the first Advanced Kansas Future Teacher Academy (KFTA) on the campus of Emporia State University from July 25-28, 2023.

The Advanced academy was student-driven, based on feedback from prior participants of KFTA. Students wanted to learn more about classroom management, said Todd Roberts, KFTA director. Sessions included tips and tricks in the classroom, managing students in dysregulation and bringing mindfulness into the classroom.

Members of the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) presented to students, providing them tactics and advice for teaching students.

“Our future is bright knowing that these teachers are going to be leading the way,” said KTOY team member Melissa Haney, Goddard USD 265 “They are inspiring and bring a ton of hope.”

KFTA participants also took part in a poverty simulation, where students navigate through a month of living in poverty, learning what it takes to work, pay bills and raise children. Students found they often ran short in funds and had to resort to loans or other means of getting money for their families. The simulation helped the students understand as future educators what their students may be going through.

“It was really difficult seeing how hard families have it,” said Lauren Saenger, from Minneapolis/Bennington, KS. “Knowing that actual families go through this stuff is really difficult to understand.”

For Cherilyn Hernandez, from Overland Park/Olathe, the poverty simulation was a visceral experience.

“It was kind of re-living a moment in my life that was really difficult,” Hernandez said.

The experience of KFTA gives students agency and ownership over their future as educators.

“They sought out to be here and they are fully invested,” said KTOY Team member Taylor Bussinger, Olathe USD 233. “I was impacted by their professionalism, their engagement and their talent.”

The Kansas Future Teacher Academy was founded in 1989 and is recognized as an established and highly respected training opportunity for students throughout the state of Kansas. More information on the Kansas Future Teacher Academy can be found at