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“I know what students experience in the classroom will influence the sense they make of their world,” states Keri Lauxman.
With “amazing energy and devotion to her students,” Lauxman employs everything from author visits to writing workshops with a bluegrass band member. To thank a guest speaker for discussing a novel which mirrors his experiences growing up in West Africa, Lauxman organized a dental hygiene drive to support a clinic where the speaker volunteers on medical missions.
Lauxman earned a bachelor’s from The University of Kansas in film before getting a bachelor’s in English and a teaching certificate from Washburn University. In 2010, she graduated with a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Peru State University. She began her career by teaching English at Olathe South High School and Chisholm Trail Middle School in 2006. She joined Lawrence High School in 2007.
Wanting to incorporate a therapy animal into her classroom, Lauxman proceeded through the necessary steps to introduce a therapy dog, Roxy, into the culture of the entire school. As an administrator says, “Roxy is pretty much the rock star of Lawrence High School!”
Lauxman keeps “a balance between educational equality and equity firmly in mind.” In working with a student with cerebral palsy, the father of the student said, because of his daughter’s physical disability, many students (and a few teachers) consider her disabled in all areas of her life. “Ms. Lauxman was the first teacher to actively engage with (her) and learned very quickly that there was nothing in her nature which would limit her.”
With a reputation as being a risk taker and innovator, Lauxman collaborated with a university chemical and petroleum engineering professor and “flipped” a classroom. The two instructors designed a cross-curricular activity emphasizing the benefits of inquiry in learning to support a hands-on science-meets-English lesson.
Lauxman is a Boys & Girls Club committee member, Leadership Lawrence graduate, volunteer for the Lawrence Community Shelter, and worked with students in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program. She founded the high school’s Habitat for Humanity club in part to have “students develop a strong sense of community spirit and a willingness to serve others.”
One colleague writes, “Keri is the complete package. She’s the consummate professional with a personal touch, a ready smile, and a quick sense of humor.”
“She just has this way of making everyone feel, not only comfortable in her class, but wanted. She wants everyone to be there and she wants everyone to learn, and it shows,” stated a current student.