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Szymke Named District Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Courtney (McPherson) Szymke ’04 ‘05, who was chosen to represent her school district, Liberty Public Schools as 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. She will compete for the title of Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year, which will be announced later this fall.

Szymke earned a BS in Early Childhood Education in 2004 and a Master of Education in Special Education in 2005, both from TCU. She taught kindergarten at Alexander Doniphan Elementary in the same district from 2005 to 2012 and taught in Iowa for a year. She returned to Liberty, Missouri in 2013 and has taught kindergarten at Warren Hills Elementary since.

Her school surprised her with the award in the gym, greeted by students, faculty, administrators and her mother and husband. This is the 13th year of the Teacher of the Year program at Liberty Public Schools, and Szymke is the first kindergarten teacher and the first teacher from Warren Hills Elementary to be selected for the honor.

“Mrs. Szymke touches the lives of every single child,” said Steve Lumetta, principal at Warren Hills Elementary. “She finds amazing ways to connect with her students, and she seeks out every opportunity for them to have ownership in their learning growth. Mrs. Szymke not only inspires her kids to be better students, she equips them to be amazing people.”

Szymke thanked Mary M. Patton, Dean of TCU’s College of Education, for shaping her into the teacher she is today. Dean Patton was an Education professor at the time Szymke attending the college. Szymke said, “I cannot thank you enough for inspiring me and mentoring me over the years.”