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USD 308 Announces KSDE Horizon Award Nominees

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By Hutchinson Public Schools

 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — On Tuesday, September 26th, Hutchinson Public Schools surprised two new teachers as 2024 Kansas Horizon Award nominees. Ashley Sharbutt, Physical Education teacher at Hutchinson Middle School 7 and Ethan Wedel, Music Teacher at Lincoln-McCandless Elementary School.

The Kansas Horizon Award Program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, identifies and recognizes 1st year teachers representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms across the state. Both were nominated for their outstanding work and are now in their second school year.

Helping students see fitness as fun- Ms. Sharbutt brings a fun but competitive drive to her classroom. As a former collegiate runner, she knows that an active lifestyle has benefits beyond the track. “I want kids to learn how to be active and flexible so they can have that knowledge for when they are older. I wanted to be a teacher so students can learn that you don’t have to run for exercise, that there is so much more to do and to help them find that passion,” says Sharbutt.

Originally from Wichita, she has a Bachelor’s of Education K-12 Physical Education and Health from Kansas State University. She completed her student teaching in Manhattan, KS. When not in the classroom, you can find her coaching 7th grade volleyball and track. Sharbutt says she is proud of herself for competing in cross country at the collegiate level and hopes to inspire her students to follow their dreams.

“This award nomination means a lot to me, it makes me feel seen and heard. Teaching can be challenging, especially as a new teacher or in a new building and being nominated just proves how well I am doing,” says Sharbutt.  Looking forward to her second year at HMS 7, she says, “I want to build relationships with the students I have in class and I look forward to getting to know the teachers in my building.”

Carrying on the family business- Mr. Wedel knew from an early age what a profound impact teaching has on the lives of young people. As a third-generation elementary teacher, he was happy to go into the family business. Wedel holds a Bachelor’s of Special Music Education; a Music Education degree with added training for working with special education students.

While at Wichita State, he had the opportunity to observe and work with experienced teachers throughout Wichita in general education and special education. “It was amazing seeing all of these different teachers reaching their kids in very different ways, and getting the opportunity to borrow ideas from each of them to find my own way of reaching students has been incredibly fulfilling,” says Wedel.

Wedel says his first year of teaching was an opportunity to try new things and always strive for his best. He currently helps with the elementary honor choir. He is grateful to have been nominated. “This means the world to me! I love my community, my mentors, my coworkers, and my amazing girlfriend. Every single one of them has helped me along the way, and I can’t express how grateful I am for all of them.”