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Newton High’s Brian Skinner named Kansas Teacher of the Year
Posted 9/27/22

B Skinner KTOY

Newton High’s Brian Skinner named Kansas Teacher of the Year

NEWTON, Kan. (USD 373) - Newton High School special education teacher Brian Skinner is the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson announced Skinner as the 2023 Teacher of the Year on September 24, during the 2023 Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet in Wichita. 

From there, the congratulations began rolling in.

“I had no idea how many texts and emails and social media notifications you could get so fast. It's been very overwhelming and I will finish processing it and letting it sink in at some point and I'm just going to have a blast,” Skinner said.

Skinner has taught for nine years, all at Newton High School. He is currently the special education department chair and coaches the Scholars Bowl team. Additionally, he serves on many committees and leadership positions within the school.

Skinner is excited for a special education teacher to win the distinction, estimating it has been a decade since a special education teacher won. He plans to use his KTOY status to advocate for his special education students and staff.

“I’m wanting to highlight the stigmas that some students have and the work that I do to try and eliminate and reduce those stigmas and identify how success that isn't traditional success isn't any lesser and it's about unlocking the puzzle to figure out how a student can best be successful,” Skinner said.

USD 373 Superintendent Fred Van Ranken shared Skinner’s enthusiasm for the opportunity to advocate for special education.

“I am so thankful he was chosen for this award as he not only represents the best in the field, being a special education teacher, he will bring great insight to that side of what schools do that people really need to learn more about,” Van Ranken said.

Head principal Blake Smith describes Skinner as empathetic and methodical.

“Brian Skinner pours his heart and soul into everything he does and embodies all that is good in education,” Smith said.

With this distinction, comes extra responsibilities, namely traveling. Skinner will spend most of spring 2023 on the road, advocating for education and teaching at Kansas colleges and universities and within the Kansas legislature. Skinner will also visit the White House along with the other 49 state teachers of the year.

Photo: Brian Skinner is congratulated during the 2023 Dale Dennis Teacher of the Year Banquet.