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Newton High School Teacher Named Horizon Award Winner
Posted 1/9/19

Newton (Kan.)—Newton High School Teacher Chandler Ochoa is a 2019 Kansas Horizon Award Recipient. These awards go to educators who have completed and excelled in their first year of teaching. On the morning of January 8, Ochoa received a phone call from Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson to notify her of the award.

 “It’s nice to be recognized as a teacher for the work that you do behind the scenes,” Ochoa said. “It kind of gives you the little push you need to do more and learn more and get better.”

Ochoa is a Spanish teacher at the high school and is currently in her second year as an educator. She is a graduate of Wichita State University and has her master’s in communications. Ochoa’s first career path was actually in journalism. She was on the education beat for a newspaper. What she saw as a reporter combined with her experiences travelling led her to education. She went back to school and was part of the Transition to Teaching program at Wichita State. While she was in the program, she began teaching at Newton High School.

“One reason I enjoy teaching is because of the support I receive from colleagues and administrators at Newton High School to be creative and try new things,” Ochoa said. They are behind me every step of the way. They make it a great place to work.”

Ochoa is always looking for new methods to teach and new ways to engage her students.

 “There’s no such thing as being done learning when you’re a teacher,” Ochoa said. “I like to continue to learn and develop and find new ways to do things.”

According to the Kansas State Department of Education website, there are four different regions. A selection committee chooses four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers in each region. Thirty-two teachers in Kansas are given this award every year.