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2-22-24 — Hoffman Named 2024 Kansas Master Teacher

Feb. 22, 2024 ~ On Wednesday, Feb. 21, Canyon Creek Elementary School second grade teacher Sara Hoffman learned that she was named a 2024 Kansas Master Teacher.

Sara Hoffman surprised in her classroomEmporia State University established the prestigious Kansas Master Teacher awards in 1954. The awards are presented annually to selected teachers who demonstrate the attributes of exemplary professional educators. The recipients were selected by a committee including representatives from the Kansas Association of Principals, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas Parent Teacher Organization, Kansas National Education Association, United School Administrators, ESU’s Kappa Delta Pi student organization and representatives of the 2023 Kansas Master Teacher class.

Hoffman was surprised by a phone call in her classroom where Interim Dean of ESU Teacher’s College Dr. Sara Schwerdtfeger told her the good news. Her colleagues, principal Christy James and district administrators were there to celebrate the announcement.

"We are so proud of Sara Hoffman for being named an ESU Master Teacher,” Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager said. “She will represent our district well at the highest level. Congratulations to Sara! Thank you for all you do for our students, staff and families at Canyon Creek Elementary School.”

This is her fifth year teaching in Olathe Public Schools out of fifteen years overall. Hoffman is known for her project-based learning, where she teaches her curriculum through larger projects that connect her students to their community and provides “authentic learning experiences.” For example, this past year her second graders learned to understand how the past impacts their life today by partnering with a local assisted living community for students to visit with and interview residents first-hand.

“I want my students to love coming to class every day,” Hoffman said. “I set the groundwork on the first day and work to build a sense of belonging throughout the year. The project-based learning method brings collaboration to the classroom and builds bonds. I have witnessed students work to their potential because I provided the time for them to connect with myself and their peers. By continuing these practices, I can bring out the best in every student that walks through my classroom door.”

James is proud, but not surprised, that Hoffman received this award.

“When considering the ideal educator for an elementary school, the combination of traits like engaging, energetic, compassionate, driven, loving, patient, and witty come to mind,” James said. “A successful educator can meet the diverse needs of all learners. Sara Hoffman is an educator who possesses all of these characteristics and abilities. It is a blessing for students at Canyon Creek Elementary school to be educated by her.”

Former student Djenabou Diallo wrote a nomination letter on behalf of her “helpful, collaborative, dedicated” teacher.

“My favorite project in fourth grade was our debate unit, which was a part of our project-based learning. The debate was probably everyone's favorite, and we still talk about it. Mrs. Hoffman split us into groups and taught us the expectations and tactics of debating. Our topic was hydraulic fracking. With the debate, I have discovered that I enjoy debating and would love to become a lawyer.”

Sara with colleaguesHoffman is excited to represent Canyon Creek Elementary and Olathe Public Schools at the highest level by being selected as one of seven master teachers this year.

“This is truly an amazing honor,” Hoffman said. “I am so incredibly grateful for the support that I have in this building, on my team, with my administration and in our Canyon Creek community as a whole. This feels like an award that represents all of us as a group, not just me.”

Through the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Hoffman will be presented with a check for $1,000. The 2024 Master Teachers will be honored at the Kansas state capitol in March and on Master Teacher Day at ESU in April. Read more about Sara Hoffman on the Kansas Master Teacher Awards webpage.

(Top photo: Sara Hoffman was surprised in her classroom. Lower photo: Sarah's colleagues congratulated her on the Kansas Master Teacher honor.)