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Teacher Jeff Baxter Inducted in National Teacher Hall of Fame

2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year shares recognition with student body

Baxter+finally+takes+the+mic+and+quickly+gets+a+laugh+as+he+explains+that+he+thought+he+was+coming+to+the+gym+to+judge+a+dance+competition.
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Teacher Jeff Baxter Inducted in National Teacher Hall of Fame

Baxter finally takes the mic and quickly gets a laugh as he explains that he thought he was coming to the gym to judge a dance competition.

Baxter finally takes the mic and quickly gets a laugh as he explains that he thought he was coming to the gym to judge a dance competition.

Lydia Berutti

Baxter finally takes the mic and quickly gets a laugh as he explains that he thought he was coming to the gym to judge a dance competition.

Lydia Berutti

Lydia Berutti

Baxter finally takes the mic and quickly gets a laugh as he explains that he thought he was coming to the gym to judge a dance competition.

Lauren Prehn, Lydia Berutti, Reporter, Photographer

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Following 2nd block on Thursday morning, Principal Dr. Brett Potts announced over the intercom a surprise assembly would take place during Advisory. The hallways were buzzing with speculation as students and staff filed into the gym.

Once the crowd settled, Principal Dr. Brett Potts asked the usually rowdy crowd, “What side?” After receiving a less than enthusiastic response, he asked again. Receiving a more typical, “West side,” assuring him he had the attention of the curious crowd, he introduced Carol Stickland, director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame. She teased the student body by saying that a teacher from BV West was an inductee into the Hall. She described the individual and their contributions to education before finally announcing that the honoree was English teacher, Jeff Baxter.

“I thought I was in the gym to judge a dance contest. Imagine my surprise,” Baxter said in a tweet. “I am humbled that family, friends, colleagues and students honored me with such joy. Thank you all – you make a difference.”

Baxter is one of only five teachers in the nation to be inducted into the class of 2018 National Teacher Hall of Fame. Baxter joins former science teacher, Kenneth Bingman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. BV West is the only school in the country to have two teachers in the Hall.

Baxter was awarded a plaque, signet ring, and lapel pin. A replica of his plaque will be on permanent display in the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kan. Baxter and the four other 2018 inductees will travel to Washington, D.C. in May to be recognized before their plaques go on display in Emporia.

View the photo gallery below to see a timeline of the assembly.

Lydia Berutti
Principal Dr. Brett Potts called a surprise assembly the morning of April 5. Neither staff or students were aware the assembly was scheduled and were curious as to the reason for the special gathering.

Lydia Berutti
Once the student body was assembled, Dr. Brett Potts asked, “What side?” The Jaguars enthusiastically replied, “West side.”

Lydia Berutti
Principal Dr. Brett Potts introduces Carol Strickland, director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kan.

Lydia Berutti
Carol Strickland, 1999 Kansas Teacher of the Year and current director of the National Teacher Hall of Fame, introduces teacher Jeff Baxter as a one of five selected to the National Teacher Hall of Fame.

Lydia Berutti
Strickland continues to tease the student body about which of their teachers may have won an award.

Lydia Berutti
Strickland talks to the student body about Baxter and the honor bestowed on him.

 

Lydia Berutti
English teacher, Jeff Baxter, walks toward the podium after being announced as an inductee to the National Teacher Hall of Fame. He is accompanied by seniors Coleman Barnes and Sofia Adinolfi.

Lydia Berutti
Adinolfi and Barnes walk onto the gym floor after the reason for the assembly is revealed, Baxter’s acceptance into the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter is greeted by Potts after the announcement.

 

Lydia Berutti
Baxter looks to the senior class emotionally as Strickland explains the selection process.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter waves to his family and friends. Many knew of the honor and secretly coordinated attending the announcement.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter is overwhelmed as Strickland discusses some of his other accolades as an educator.

 
 

Lydia Berutti
Members of the senior class give Mr. Baxter a standing ovation. The applause lasted for several minutes.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter finally takes the mic and quickly gets a laugh as he explains that he thought he was coming to the gym to judge a dance competition.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter speaks to all 1600 individuals in the gym but can’t help but direct many of his remarks to the members of the senior class he teaches.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter talks about all that he gained throughout his career. His humble nature undoubtedly contributed to his accumulation of teaching awards.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter thanks the students he taught in the Leavenworth School District and his students at BV West.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter talks to the student body about his profession and can’t help but share an amusing story.

Lydia Berutti
Camera operators from Channel 9 and the Blue Valley School District focus in on Baxter as the crowd gives him a standing ovation.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter’s family, friends and alumni altered their daily plans to attend the ceremony.

 
 
 

Lydia Berutti
Senior Sofia Adinolfi prepares to speak to the student body about the impact Baxter had on her.

Lydia Berutti
Adinolfi speaks directly to Baxter about his influence on her.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter is overwhelmed by the kind words Adinolfi has to say regarding his impact on her.

 

Lydia Berutti
Baxter and Adinolfi share a moment after her speech.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter and Adinolfi embrace after her speech.

Lydia Berutti
Senior Coleman Barnes takes the mic to share his admiration of Baxter.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter can’t help but become emotional as Barnes explains his impact on Barnes’ life.

Lydia Berutti
Barnes and Baxter embrace after Barnes’s speech.

 
 
 

Lydia Berutti
Denise Kahler, Director of Communications and Recognition Programs for the Kansas Department of Education expresses her admiration for Baxter and the impact he’s had on students in his storied career.

Lydia Berutti
Kan. NEA vice-president, Sherri Schwanz, expresses her enthusiasm for the profession of teaching and the impact teachers like Baxter have on students.

Lydia Berutti
The compliments continue as the vice-president of the Kansas National Education Association Sherri Schwanz speaks to the student body about Baxter.

 
 

Lydia Berutti
Herff Jones employee, Rene Trimble, takes the mic to announce her company’s contribution to those selected as National Teachers of the Year.

Lydia Berutti
Rene Trimble presents Baxter with an official 10K gold lapel pin and explains that honorees are given commemorative rings at the ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May.

Lydia Berutti
Trimble explains her affection for BV West and admiration for the educators she’d met, including Baxter.

 

Lydia Berutti
Potts introduces the final speaker as Baxter admires a plaque that is a replica of the one that will hang in the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kan.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter waves to the student body as Strickland waits for the applause to subside.

Lydia Berutti
Baxter waves to the Jaguars as Strickland holds his plaque.

Lydia Berutti
Potts teases Baxter about his plaque.

Lydia Berutti
Potts expresses his pride in Baxter with a handshake and knowing smile after the speeches in Baxter’s honor.

 

Lydia Berutti
Students stand to applaud Baxter.

To see the story done by KMBC Channel 9 reporter, Kelley Eckerman, click here: http://www.kmbc.com/article/blue-valley-west-teacher-inducted-into-the-national-teachers-hall-of-fame/19697413

 

 
 
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