Prairie Trail Middle School’s History Educator Taylor Bussinger Named 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year

Prairie Trail Middle School’s History Educator Taylor Bussinger Named 2024 Kansas Teacher of the YearTaylor Bussinger, an eighth-grade history teacher at Prairie Trail Middle School in Olathe Unified School District 233, has been awarded the esteemed title of the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year. His outstanding dedication to teaching, coupled with his passion for inspiring students, has garnered him recognition as an exemplary educator.

Bussinger’s journey to this accolade began with his deep commitment to fostering authentic learning experiences. Teaching eighth-grade U.S. history for nine years, he has created a dynamic classroom environment characterized by energy, laughter, and a vibrant passion for knowledge. Beyond his role as a teacher, Bussinger serves as the head boys’ basketball coach and head cross-country coach at Prairie Trail Middle School, contributing to the holistic development of his students.

Selected from a group of eight finalists, including Erin Pittenger, Gretchen Elliott, Fonda Telthorst, Cherryl Delacruz, Michelle Tapko, Melissa Haney and Joanna Farmer, Bussinger’s achievement was celebrated during the Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet in Wichita. Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson and Brian Skinner, the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year, commended Bussinger for his exemplary contributions to education.

Reflecting on his teaching philosophy, Bussinger emphasized the importance of authenticity and inclusivity in education. “True education is authentic. It’s messy. It’s real. It’s full of energy. It’s full of laughter. It’s full of tears, and it’s full of vibrant passion in which young people are inspired to be curious enough to know who they truly are in the context of an ever-changing world,” he remarked.

Upon receiving the award, Bussinger expressed gratitude for the support of his students, colleagues, and family. “I love my job, I love my kids, I love their support,” he shared, embodying his genuine commitment to his profession.

As the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Bussinger will continue to advocate for education and teaching throughout the state. Furthermore, he is now a candidate for National Teacher of the Year, representing the excellence of Kansas educators on a national platform.

Taylor Bussinger’s recognition underscores the profound impact educators can have on the lives of their students. His dedication to fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and inclusivity serves as an inspiration to educators everywhere, reaffirming the transformative power of passionate teaching and mentorship.

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