Former Winfield teacher, nationally recognized, delivers speech at White House

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Kansas teacher now working in the Olathe school district after earning national recognition for her work in the Winfield school district, finally took advantage of an opportunity the COVID-19 pandemic had denied. Tabatha Rosproy delivered a speech at the White House.

She was an early childhood educator in Winfield in May 2020 when she was announced as the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. In Winfield, Rosproy’s classroom was housed in a retirement community. The program she led serves special education and typically developing preschoolers, and offers students daily interactions with residents who serve as “grandparent” volunteers, a news release from the Kansas Department of Education said.

Last year, Rosproy became the first early childhood educator to receive he honor of National Teacher of the Year. Initially, the pandemic limited her experiences to virtual meetings.

“It was hard for me to cope with the loss of the traditional NTOY experience in the beginning,” Rosproy said. “Even to this day, I grieve on some of the missed opportunities. But how could I encourage teachers, students and families to focus on the opportunities at hand during the pandemic if I wasn’t willing to do the same? So that’s what I did. I chose every day to find the opportunities. The pandemic taught me that family partnerships are crucial to success in school. I think both families and educators gained new understanding and grace for each other.”

This week, Rosproy finally had a chance to visit the White House with other nationally-recognized educators. This week, the Kansas Department of Education said Rosproy is attending the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSO) National Teacher of the Year Program Washington Week in Washington, D.C.

Monday, Oct. 18, First Lady Jill Biden hosted the CCSO 2020 and 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year at the White House where Rosproy and the 2021 National Teacher of the Year winner delivered speeches. During her time as National Teacher of the Year, Rosproy had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Kansas City Royals gam, make 53 media appearances and take part in 100 speaking engagements, the Kansas Department of Education said.

Reflecting on her career and passion to help fellow teachers, Rosproy discussed the honor she won and her career transition from Winfield to Olathe.

“Becoming Kansas/National Teacher of the Year opened my eyes to skills I didn’t know I had, and I wanted to explore those,” she said. “I found a passion for coaching other teachers that was truly sparked in my leadership positions in Winfield. And though I loved my nursing home pre-K more than words can say, I also wanted to bring that idea to other places in Kansas, and the KC area is a great place to plant more preschools like that.”

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