USD 308 staff begins 2020-21 school year

In its first-ever virtual convocation, the nearly 900 Hutchinson Public Schools staff members began the 2020-21 school year with the annual opening convocation Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.

The convocation was delivered virtually this year to allow staff to socially distance.

Several educators were honored during the event. The Davis Foundation made its annual Teachers of the Year Awards. The elementary winners were Leslie Specht, third grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, and Randy Doerksen, music teacher at Lincoln.

The middle school winner was Shandi Webster, science teacher at Hutchinson Middle School – 7.

The high school winners were Dawn Justice, math teacher at Hutchinson High School, and Eric Malashchuk, social studies teacher at HHS.

Leslie Spech

Randy Doerksen

Shandi Webster

Dawn Justice

Eric Malashchuk

Each winner receives $4,000. The Davis Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to Hutchinson Public Schools’ staff and students since its first scholarships were awarded to HHS seniors 62 years ago. This is the 38th time the awards have been made to teachers. Since the first awards, Davis has made awards of more than $450,000 to USD 308 teachers.

Other Davis finalists were Courtney Bleything, Madelyn Gagnebin, Shelley Rodriquez, Claire Schreiner, Josh Henion and Loretta Miller.

During the morning, staff heard from Superintendent Mike Folks about the coming year. He was joined by Krystal Young, director of special programs. USD 308 Board of Education President Valarie Gibson-Smith brought greetings from the Board.

Licensed staff began on Thursday, Aug. 12, with all staff on duty Tuesday, Aug. 18. Students in pre-kindergarten through ninth grade return on Thursday, Aug. 27. High school sophomores through seniors begin the year on Friday, Aug. 28.