Kansas City, April 13, 2018: Kansas City Public Schools has selected Central Middle School math teacher Arjun Ravindran as its 2018 Teacher of the Year and East High School Principal Luis Hinojosa as its 2018 Principal of the Year.
The Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year selections were revealed during a gala banquet and ceremony Thursday evening, April 12 at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center in Kansas City, Mo. The event was sponsored by the KCPS Education Foundation, Jostens, Principals Connect, The Cause Church, Pomeroy and Cellar & Loft.
Mr. Ravindran teaches middle-level math and algebra I at Central Middle School, where he has developed a positive reputation as a caring and challenging instructor who helps bring the best out in his students. As a runner-up for the 2017 Teacher of the Year Award, he used his prize money to help launch a National Junior Honor Society at the school.
It was the impact of teachers on his own life that convinced Ravindran to enter the profession.
“I believe teaching is one of the most important callings a person can have because transformative teachers empower their students to succeed. Shining a light on the successes of my students is something I set out to do every day,” he said. “Positive reinforcement is not only an important educational motivator. It also provides young people with a foundation of pride and self-worth, which they carry far beyond the walls of the classroom. My goal is to empower my students, enabling them to be a force for change in the community and the world.”
As the 2018 Teacher of the Year, Ravindran received a $5,000 instructional grant, a traveling trophy for his school, a personal trophy, a customized ring and his name added to a plaque at the Board of Education building. He will go on to represent KCPS for the Missouri Teacher of the Year Award.
Teacher of the Year finalists Lindsey Dumolt of Gladstone Elementary School and Michelle Muller of Northeast High School were named as runners-up. They each received a $1,000 instructional grant and personal trophy.
The 2018 KCPS Teacher of the Year was selected from a pool of 35 school Teachers of the Year. Each of them completed nomination packets that were evaluated by a selection committee based on district and state criteria. All of the school Teachers of the Year were recognized at the ceremony and given crystal apple awards.
Mr. Hinojosa served as principal for several years at Whittier Elementary School before being transferred to East High School. At both schools, he is well regarded as an inspirational and skilled leader among students, parents and staff.
“I believe that it’s the job of the principal to set the tone of the environment,” Hinojosa said. “We have to make sure that we are here for the kids. We have to make sure that we do everything for them to be successful.”
As the 2018 Principal of the Year, Hinojosa received a $1,000 building grant and a personal trophy. Runners-up Jessie Kirksey of Hartman Elementary School and Julie Lynch of Hale Cook Elementary School each received a $500 building grant and personal trophy.