Growing up, Gilbert Still knew he was meant to work in a profession that would allow him to contribute to society.
“The pivotal moment that guided me into education was in my senior year at Dodge City High School when I was an elementary cadet,” he said. “It was then I realized teaching was my intended path.”
Now, in his seventh year of teaching fourth grade at Northwest Elementary School, Still is USD 443’s elementary education candidate for Kansas Teacher of the Year.
“It is a humbling moment and fills me with pride to be a product of USD 443,” Still said. “It is a huge honor to give back to the community that helped mold me into the person I am today. It reminds me that teaching has a monumental influence on the young minds of our community.”
After being nominated by peers and administrators, Still had to submit an application. He was notified that he had been selected at a Northwest Elementary Late Start Faculty meeting Dec. 7.
“We were going over academic discourse when my friends and family came walking in with the Superintendents,” Still said. “It was an exciting moment but I was stunned and shocked. I had no idea what to say or do.”
Still earned his bachelor’s degree through Newman University in 2009. A year later, he received his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESOL Endorsement. This August, he completed the Newman University Building Leadership Licensure Program.
“My mother, father, sister, and brother have been a huge support system for me throughout my entire life,” Still said.
According to Still, the most challenging part of being a teacher is finding time to give students everything they need.
“Whether it be socially, academically, or behaviorally, one way or another, that time is found,” Still said.
He is most proud of the strong relationships he has built with both students and their parents. In fact, the most rewarding part of teaching for Still is when past students come back to visit and share the stories of their lives.
“Even better is when they share past experiences that had a huge impact in their minds and hearts,” he said.
According to Principal Kathy Ramsou, students in Still’s classroom recognize a very high level of dignity, respect, and understanding of his high expectations.
“Mr. Still has an ability to build relationships so his students want to meet those expectations. Teachable moments are happening all the time,” she said. “He can connect to their minds and keep them focused on learning.”
Ramsour said Gilbert’s excitement about teaching is seen in his classroom.
“Project-based learning is taking place so the learning is real and students are involved. He intentionally arranges, rearranges, alters and adjust his teaching so all students learn in his classroom,” she said. “Parents are actively involved in their child’s learning and he corresponds to them each week if not daily. Gilbert is making an impact in education for students in Dodge City.”
USD 443’s Kansas Teacher of the Year Nominee for Secondary Education is McKenzie Lueders. Lueders teaches science at Dodge City High School.