Jaztyn Kisslinger

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USD 106 music teacher Mariannet Navarro instructs sophomore Alana Strickler on her vocal solo.

This past month, music teacher Miss Mariannet Navarro Herrera was honored with the Horizon Award, which is given to outstanding first-year teachers. 

Herrera joined the Bobcat family in the 2018-2019 school year. She is the music teacher for Western Plains USD 106, instructing band, vocal, and guitar. Since her time as a teacher at Western Plains, the music department has been revived with kids interested in music. 

The Horizon Award is a regional award in Kansas and is given to exemplary first-year teachers in the elementary and secondary classrooms in public schools.

Herrera stated, “As a beginning teacher I have learned to see education as an affair of the heart, and to work with my students’ potential untiringly. This award means a lot, but it is actually coming to class and seeing my students grow that really makes me proud of what I am doing.”

To receive the Horizon Award, a first-year teacher must be nominated by their administrator. After the nomination, a series of steps to receive the award follows. 

“I needed to be nominated by my administrators and submit an application to the Kansas State Department of Education. Among other information, I had to talk about the different instructional methods I have been using in my classroom, about how I motivate my students and communicate with parents, what distinguishes me as outstanding and what recommendations I would give to beginning teachers,” stated Herrera. 

Not only is winning the award a significant accomplishment, but being nominated is as well.       

Herrera commented, “Being recognized as an outstanding first-year teacher is a fascinating milestone to have conquered as part of my music teaching career. I am very thankful to my administrators for nominating me for this award and for all the amazing teachers that I had growing up, who fostered my love for music and education.”

Congratulations to Miss Navarro on this fantastic recognition!