KCKPS Announces Teachers of the Year


April 21, 2015

Contact: Tammy Dodderidge, communications manager, (913) 279-2225

For their impact on students, and their dedication to the teaching profession, two teachers in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) have been chosen as the secondary and elementary KCKPS teachers of the year. They are: Edward Franco, social studies teacher at F.L. Schlagle High School; and Kimberley Montini, 1st grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary School. They were chosen from a list of Star Teachers nominated by each of the district’s schools. Their names will be submitted to the Kansas State Department of Education as nominees for the 2016 Kansas Teacher of the Year.

Edward Franco


Franco demonstrates how the content he teaches works outside the walls of his classroom. He works diligently to help his students understand that the purpose of what is being taught is not just for a test, but to prepare them for life. He teaches social studies, economics, sociology and psychology at F.L. Schlagle High School.

He provides his students with the opportunity to apply their learning by participating in assigned activities that require them to come out of their academic comfort zones of completing traditional book assignments. For example, in his sociology and psychology classes, Franco recently assigned students to go into the hallways and into the Central Office to interview and survey district employees, students and the superintendent to get a better understanding of the concepts he is teaching.

He believes that innovation can be a source of inspiration and involvement. Recently, he helped launch the district’s first functional Google Classrooms: an online economics and online American government class. These online classes have the same content as the in-class courses (and are not recovery classes). These classes can free up students’ schedules to allow them to take college courses or TEC classes, putting students one step closer to the district’s Diploma+ promise.

Franco serves as the Stu-Co co-sponsor and has positively influenced the climate and culture of the school. He guides students to take leadership roles and calculated risks to change their own learning experiences.

Schlagle Principal Yolanda Thompson said, “Mr. Franco’s success can be attributed to the time he takes building relationships with his students and between students to create a safe learning environment. Everyone respects each other as they speak. Each student believes and knows that everyone has something worth sharing on all topics discussed in the class, and those who enter his class find that they become a part of the class the moment they cross its threshold.”

Franco has been teaching since 1999 and has been with KCKPS since 2012.

Kimberley Montini

Montini believes that each child has individual value and deserves a quality education. Everyday she strives to cultivate an environment in her classroom where students know they are safe to try new ideas, to struggle and to celebrate success.

Montini teaches 1st grade at Mark Twain Elementary School and has been with the district since 2011. She has also taught 2nd, 4th and 5th grades at the school.

To foster innovation in her teaching practices, Montini reads about best practice classrooms and discovering new ways to empower students. She works to implement these practices into her classroom. For example, she uses poetry and the gradual release model to help students improve their reading fluency and learn sight words. It has resulted in measurable gains by her students. She shared this method with the Literacy Lab Classroom Cohort and they also reported measurable gains as a result of this method.

To help her students “buy into” the importance of reading at home, both during the school year and the summer, last school year Montini had her students read, research and survey other classes about the importance of year-round reading. They discovered that students in urban areas living more than five blocks from their public library struggle to access books. This resulted in a petition to have the school library open weekly for two hours during the summer.

Principal Sandra Egidy said Montini’s peers seek her expertise when it comes to student literacy concerns or academic planning. “She is a highly valued team member who is very knowledgeable and respected by her peers,” Egidy said.

Montini serves on Mark Twain’s lead team, assisting with building level decisions and facilitating professional development.


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The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.

These teachers and the district’s other “Star Teachers” will be recognized at a special Star Teacher Celebration on April 29 at the KCKPS Central Office and Training Center.

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Melissa Fears • Communications Office
2010 N. 59th Street • Kansas City, KS 66104 • 913-279-2242