Kansas preschool teacher named National Teacher of the Year for bridging worlds between oldest and youngest

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WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) – For the first time in nearly 60 years, the National Teacher of the Year is from Kansas.

Tabatha Rosproy is an early childhood educator in Winfield. Her classroom is Cumbernauld Village, a retirement community and nursing home.

Rosproy was chosen as the 2020 National Teacher of the Year for bridging the worlds of her community’s oldest and youngest. Her students have the chance to interact with residents every day.

One year into the partnership, the program boasted the highest preschool literacy and math scores in the district. But more than that, Rosproy said, her students were “well connected and well-loved” and the residents engaged as they snuggled with children while reading stories to them.

“Many of them don’t live near their own grandchildren or don’t have grandchildren,” Rosproy said. “They felt so fortunate to be near the joy and livelihood of children.”

It was a bond that continued even when social distancing requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic forced her classroom to close down.

“Now, more than ever during this pandemic, we can see what the inequities in our communities are and what our kids do and do not have access to, and trauma that is going on both in their homes, their environment, their community that we have a duty to respond to,” Rosproy said in an interview with KSN News. “We can do that through teaching our kids how to manage those big feelings that they have, teaching them how to interact with their peers, their family groups, and also teaching them how to solve problems.”

Rosproy’s selection from among 55 award-winning teachers around the country was announced Thursday by the Council of Chief State School Officers, with the selection committee praising her in a statement for embodying “hope and inspiration.”

“I look forward to collaborating with not only the nation’s best teachers but the best teachers in Kansas to see how I can bring the good work that we have done here as the state of Kansas and spread it around to our country,” she added.

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