Anne Braun, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Woodland Elementary, was named Lee’s Summit R-7 School District 2018 Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement at an April 11 community reception. The reception also recognized 12 R-7 teachers who had been named Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Teaching Award winners earlier this spring.

Excellence In Teaching winners include Matt Buxton, Lee’s Summit High School; Kelly Bailey Eames, Lee’s Summit Elementary School; Nicole Gilbert, Highland Park Elementary School; Jamie Harrel, Hawthorn Hill Elementary School; Shawn Harrel, Summit Technology Academy; Lauren Hollingsworth, Lee’s Summit North High School; Dr. Kevin McCormick, Summit Technology Academy; Sherri Norton, Lee’s Summit North High School; Janelle Pugh, Highland Park Elementary School; Kristen Shackelford, Sunset Valley Elementary School; Clif Thurmond, Lee’s Summit West High School and Woodland Elementary School; and Kelli Wilson, Lee’s Summit High School.

In addition to the Excellence In Teaching winners, other finalists for Teacher of the Year included former Excellence In Teaching winners who were nominated for the award again this year and selected as Teachers of Distinction. These former winners had the opportunity to interview along with this year’s award recipients for Teacher of the Year and were also recognized April 12. They are Anne Braun, Woodland Elementary School; Christie Brown, Summit Lakes Middle School; and Tammi Krones, Lee’s Summit High School.

All Excellence In Teaching and Teacher of Distinction recipients are also honored with the Hertzog Leadership Award, funded by Jon and Juli Ellis, to honor Dr. Robert (Bud) Hertzog, local businessman and community leader. In addition, the Teacher of the Year receives a $100 Cathy Paulson Heart to Heart Award. This award is funded by the Loren Paulson family in honor of Cathy Paulson, who passed away in 2010.

The Excellence In Teaching program and reception are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the R-7 School District. All students, parents, R-7 employees and community members are invited to nominate outstanding teachers. The recognized teachers were selected by a committee composed of R-7 staff and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and the community.

As Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Braun will go on to participate in the Missouri Teacher of the Year program. A Teacher of Distinction this year, she received the Excellence In Teaching Award in 2017 and has received several PEAK Grants from the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. Mrs. Braun has taught in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for 19 of her 23 years in education. At Woodland Elementary, she has shared information related to math and instructional technology strategies with staff and parents. Within the school district, she serves on the Assessment and Data Team.

“My commitment to my students as their teacher is this,” she said. “I promise to always be in one of three places – in front of you to cheer you on, behind you to have your back or beside you so you aren’t walking alone. Students come to school with various circumstances and difficulties, so my goal is to offer them a stable, loving and supportive environment.”

One of her students said, “Every time I see her, I feel safe and happy to be at school. She is kind. She helps a lot of students that are struggling, and she tries to find a way for everybody to learn. She also tells stories that are funny or that help us learn better.”

Mrs. Braun earned her bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in reading from the University of Kansas and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from William Woods University.