People standing in a group, the middle person holding flowers and a certificate

USD 308 Announces Horizon Award Winner

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Horizon Award Program recognizes exemplary first-year teachers in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.

 In the fall of 2023, Ashley Sharbutt, Physical Education Teacher at Hutchinson Middle School 7, was nominated by USD308 as their secondary classroom education nominee. KSDE reviews packets from nominees across the state and selects 32 first year Kansas teachers for the award.

Melissa Evans, HMS 7 Assistant Principal, and one of Sharbutt’s nominators, said this of her win, “Ms. Sharbutt’s passion for instilling the importance of an active lifestyle is apparent daily within her classes. She is continually finding creative ways to engage all students and is consistently one of the first teachers to implement building initiatives. Her participation in PLCs, willingness to advocate for students’ needs, and eagerness to grow in her profession has been a huge asset in our building. We are grateful for all she does for students and staff here at HMS-7 and are thrilled to see her work recognized in this way.”

Ms. Sharbutt brings a fun but competitive drive to her classroom. As a former collegiate runner, she knows that an active lifestyle has benefits beyond the track. “I want kids to learn how to be active and flexible so they can have that knowledge for when they are older. I wanted to be a teacher so students can learn that you don’t have to run for exercise, that there is so much more to do, and to help them find that passion,” says Sharbutt.

Originally from Wichita, she has a Bachelor’s of Education K-12 Physical Education and Health from Kansas State University. She completed her student teaching in Manhattan, Ks. When not in the classroom, you can find her coaching 7th grade volleyball and track. Sharbutt says she is proud of herself for competing in cross country at the collegiate level and hopes to inspire her students to follow their dreams.

“Winning this award means a lot to me, it makes me feel seen and heard. Teaching can be challenging, especially as a new teacher or in a new building, and being recognized just proves how well I am doing. Building relationships with my students is crucial so that I can create a positive and engaging learning environment. By fostering open communication, showing empathy, and being approachable, I strive to establish trust and a sense of belonging amongst my students,” says Sharbutt. 

She will be recognized during a luncheon at the 2024 Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN) Conference scheduled for Feb 22-23 in Topeka. Sharbutt joins a long list of celebrated educators in Hutchinson Public Schools.

Click here for pictures of the surprise announcement.