Brian Skinner, an interrelated special education teacher at Newton Schools USD 373, has been named the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year. The prestigious award was announced by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson during the 2023 Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet in Wichita. Skinner’s recognition as Teacher of the Year is a testament to his dedication, passion, and impact as an educator.
Upon receiving the award, Brian Skinner expressed his gratitude and excitement, stating, “I had no idea how many texts and emails and social media notifications you could get so fast. It’s been very overwhelming, and I will finish processing it and letting it sink in at some point, and I’m just going to have a blast.” Skinner’s enthusiasm and commitment to his profession are evident in his words.
The Kansas Teacher of the Year has been teaching at Newton High School for nine years and currently serves as the special education department chair. His role extends beyond the classroom, as he coaches the Scholars Bowl team and actively participates in various committees and leadership positions within the school. Skinner’s dedication to special education and his students is evident in his desire to advocate for them, saying, “I’m wanting to highlight the stigmas that some students have and the work that I do to try and eliminate and reduce those stigmas and identify how success that isn’t traditional success isn’t any lesser and it’s about unlocking the puzzle to figure out how a student can best be successful.”
Superintendent Fred Van Ranken expressed his appreciation for Skinner’s achievement, emphasizing the significance of having a special education teacher receive such recognition. Van Ranken stated, “I am so thankful he was chosen for this award as he not only represents the best in the field, being a special education teacher, he will bring great insight to that side of what schools do that people really need to learn more about.”
Brian Skinner’s impact goes beyond the classroom walls. He actively engages in promoting a positive school culture and has played a key role in implementing co-teaching practices and serving on various committees. His empathetic and methodical approach to teaching has earned him high praise from his colleagues. Head principal Blake Smith described Skinner as someone who “pours his heart and soul into everything he does and embodies all that is good in education.”
As the Kansas Teacher of the Year, Skinner will have the opportunity to advocate for education and share his expertise through presentations and professional development activities. He will also represent Kansas in the National Teacher of the Year competition, highlighting his exceptional contributions to the field.
Brian Skinner’s recognition as the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year is a testament to his exceptional dedication, leadership, and impact as a special education teacher. His passion for supporting students and his commitment to creating a positive school environment make him an exemplary educator deserving of this prestigious honor.