Teachers of the Year

Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year Honored by Board of Education

awards givenJaNae Basinger, fifth grade teacher at Heusner Elementary School, and Megan Pommer, sixth grade English and reading teacher at South Middle School, have been selected as USD 305 Teachers of the Year. The Salina Board of Education honored them at their regular meeting on August 11, 2020.

This year, because of concerns about COVID-19, the Kansas State Department of Education determined that state-level celebrations and events for our teachers of the year will take place next year. We celebrate our teachers of the year and acknowledge that they will automatically be our district nominees when the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program is reactivated.

Elementary Teacher of the Year: JaNae Basinger, fifth grade teacher at Heusner Elementary School

JaNae Basinger

JaNae Basinger has been teaching in USD 305 for eleven years. She began teaching 7th/8th reading at Lakewood Middle School and since then has taught 5th grade at Oakdale and Heusner Elementary; she will be transitioning into the Literacy Coach position this fall at Heusner. JaNae has served as a Kagan Trainer for the district, a facilitator for the Mentee/Mentor Program, served as a mentor for new teachers, worked on the Guided Leadership Team at Oakdale and Heusner, taught summer school for six summers, and supported student teachers and other students in their teacher training programs. She enjoys gardening, walking, being a foster care parent, traveling and spending time with her own family.

JaNae connects well with students from different backgrounds, grounding her interactions in a warm, kind and thoughtful manner. She truly relates with students on an emotional level and has a talent for reaching even the most reluctant.

Known for her innate ability to listen and ask questions that empower those around her, she is a leader continuously working behind the scenes to elevate others’ skills, confidence and trust. As a Kagan Coach, JaNae plans, model-teaches and co-teaches with her colleagues. She generously gives of her time and energy, volunteering whenever a need arises.

Lori Munsell, Heusner principal, states, “JaNae is honest and operates at the highest level of integrity. She exemplifies what great leaders look like and the commitment they have to children.”

Congratulations JaNae!

Secondary Teacher of the Year: Megan Pommer, sixth grade English and reading teacher at South Middle School

Megan PommerMegan Pommer is entering her 16th year of teaching. After graduating from Kansas State University, Megan taught 1st  and 4th grades in South Dakota and then 5th grade in Wellington, KS for one year before coming to Salina where Megan taught 5th grade at Coronado Elementary. Moving away with her husband, she taught 6th grade for one year in Nebraska before finally arriving back in Salina. She rejoined the Coronado team until three years ago, when she accepted a 6th grade English position at South Middle School. Megan enjoys shopping, traveling, and running with her dog, but most of all, she loves being a mother to her two children.

Megan creates a safe zone for her students to learn, take risks and grow from their mistakes – while she skillfully and patiently guides them toward success. Her students know she cares about them personally and they respond in positive ways. A former student shared, “Mrs. Pommer truly takes the time to support her students individually and meet their exact needs in order for them to not only become the best possible students, but better kids as well.”

“Megan goes above and beyond to serve those around her: students, colleagues, and friends. You will find her at the middle school athletic events and dances, or helping a team member with a new social-emotional learning initiative,” said a former principal. “She is always extending a helping hand.”

Congratulations Megan!