History teacher looks to horizon for future
It’s just her second year as a high school history teacher, but Lillian Lingenfelter is already leaving her mark on Peabody-Burns Middle/High School.
She was named one of 32 Horizon Award winners in Kansas by state commissioner of education Randy Watson last week.
“I knew at some point I was going to hear some news,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to be Tuesday. It was definitely a surprise.”
To be eligible for the award, nominees must be in their second year in the field. After the teacher demonstrates teaching excellence the first year, a panel of former honorees selects the new winners.
“You have students who are looking up to you, and you have a lot of work in front of you,” she said. “Some teachers have really big shoes to fill. It makes you feel noticed, and that people have seen the work you’re trying to do.”
Lingenfelter also received her master’s degree recently, but isn’t ready to stop learning.
“I’m definitely looking at going back to school to get another degree in the future,” she said.
Her next goal is to win a summer residency learning about George Washington in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Nominated in the fall, Lingenfelter and six others — teachers, students, and parents — wrote stories on different topics about what made her an ideal candidate.
One advantage for Lingenfelter is that she is not far removed from her own high school career.
“Seniors are in my advisory and they’re applying for colleges, which is really exciting,” she said. “It’s also helpful because just a few years ago I did this. It helps me relate better.”
Beyond the award itself, Lingenfelter will have an opportunity to interact with other award winners from across the state, principal Scott Kimble said.
“It’s going to allow her to have outside resources and connections to collaborate,” he said. “Not just with other Horizon winners, but also Kansas teachers of the year. That goes a long way in her continuing to grow.”
Kimble has experience working with Horizon Award winners from his time at Buhler School District, but Lingenfelter is Peabody-Burns’ first winner that he knows of.
“We celebrate our students, but sometimes we tend to forget about the teachers who are most important and on the front lines,” he said. “They deal with students and ultimately have the responsibility of educating our kids more than anybody else.”
Last modified Jan. 16, 2020