Kansas City, July 9, 2018: The 2018 Kansas City Public Schools Teacher of the Year is being recognized as one of the best educators in the region and is now up for statewide honors.
Central Middle School teacher Arjun Ravindran was recently named a Regional Teacher of the Year by Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Mr. Ravindran’s selection by DESE places him among the elite ranks of educators in contention for the state’s 2018 Teacher of the Year award.
DESE’s communication regarding Ravindran’s selection as a Regional Teacher of the Year stated that his nomination “rose to the top as an individual who carries a passion for teaching, a dedication to the profession and a drive to ensure all students achieve success.”
Ravindran was selected by his peers and principal to represent Central Middle School as its 2018 Teacher of the Year. He went on to earn the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award for KCPS during a ceremony on April 12.
Ravindran has taught eighth-grade math and algebra since August 2013 at Central Middle, where his students have consistently achieved above-average results for the school and KCPS as a whole on assessments. In 2017, he secured funding through the Teach for America “Shark Tank” competition to launch a National Junior Honor Society at Central Middle and a National Honor Society at Central Academy of Excellence, the adjacent high school.
Ravindran earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida-Gainesville and a master’s degree in middle school education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He was inspired by the educators in his life to enter the teaching profession.
“Put simply, the factor which most influenced me to become a teacher were the teachers that I had growing up,” he said. “I was a fairly average student but my teachers made me feel that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. They were at once my coach, my cheering section and my teammate. Their faith in me was the seed from which my self-esteem developed.”
One of the most important things a teacher can and should do is empower students to control their own destiny and achieve their highest potential, Ravindran said. It’s message he wants to spread as he is considered for the state’s Teacher of the Year award.
“Whatever problems they face, whatever their background, children should always feel safe in school,” he said. “It is truly heartening and inspiring to see my students rise above their fear and stand up for themselves and their classmates when so many adults refuse to take such action.”
As a Regional Teacher of the Year, Ravindran will be honored during a special luncheon on Thursday, Aug. 2 at the Grand Street Café in Kansas City, Mo. He also has an invitation to attend, at no cost, the state’s Master Teacher Academy. The Missouri Teacher of the Year will be announced in August 2018 and will be honored at a ceremony in Jefferson City on Monday, Oct. 22 along with all Regional Teachers of the Year.