The USD 418 Board of Education met for their regular meeting on Monday and here's what you need to know:

1. The board recognized Erica Shook and Lisa Simmelink as McPherson Teachers of the Year. The teachers were recognized at a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, which was held in February this year at McPherson High School.

Gordon Mohn, USD 418 superintendent, introduced Shook and Simmelink to the board and guests.

"Erica teaches English and language arts at the high school and Lisa is a music educator and serves exclusively at Eisenhower (Elementary School). They are outstanding people and they were selected by our staff as our teachers of the year. This is the first time I think since we began the program that we named both an elementary and a secondary person to represent us," Mohn said.

Shook and Simmelink were appreciative of the honor. The pair now must complete applications to be considered for the 2019 Kansas Teacher of the Year award, as presented by Kansas State Department of Education. The winner and the top eight finalists in the statewide competition travel around Kansas to advocate for teaching and learning.

"I am really honored to have this opportunity. There is a lot of opportunities for professional development and networking. Traveling and seeing others schools, meeting other teachers, seeing what's going on in other classrooms — that's really exciting that we will have some of those opportunities, depending on how far we get," Shook said. "There is an extensive application process if you're not familiar with that, there are five essay questions that we have to answer, we need three recommendation letters we have to put together a resume, biography, a headshot and all of those things combined. We don't find anything out until September, but we have to submit this at the beginning of May."

"I would echo what Erica said. I'm just very honored and I'm so thankful to be in such a great place with lots of great teachers," Simmelink added.

2. Almost 20 parents attended the public input session on Monday's meeting to speak on concerns with the redesign process.

Many worry that the school board is being transparent with changes being made.

One parent spoke about her son's experiences so far and requested that there should be more interaction between teachers and parents. 

3. The board interviewed Emily Greer as an applicant for the vacant position on the USD 418 Board of Education.

She is a member of the McPherson Education Foundation and was a 2011 Horizon Award winner.

Board members asked Greer several questions regarding the position and how she would be an asset to the team.

The board will take additional steps toward filling the vacancy at their next meeting on April 9. 

4. Washington Elementary School principal Jill Beam reported where her school is at in the Kansans Can school redesign process.

Members of the school’s redesign team have met regularly to brainstorm, discuss budget solutions and aspects of the perfect school.

"We met with all the kindergarten through fifth grade kids and they had 30 minutes to create their perfect schools. That was very enlightening to talk with kindergarteners through fifth grade students," Beam noted. "I think what we were surprised on was how similar their thoughts were to constitute a good school and how they would change it if they could."

The school also hosted a social event with parents to gather feedback, which had a great turnout. Beam also touched on family time, the presence of calming corners and safe places and implementing zones of regulation.

The board continued several items on the agenda to the next meeting, including a discussion on the 2018-2019 school calendar. The next USD 418 school board meeting will be on April 9. 

Contact Brooke Haas by email at or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.