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Maize School Teacher Wins National Award

Maize USD 266
Horace Mann Assistant Regional Vice President Rob Curtis presents Pray-Woodman Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Crystal May with a crystal in honor of her winning The NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.

A teacher in the Maize School District has won a national award for her work in the classroom.

Crystal May teaches 4th grade at Pray–Woodman Elementary in Maize. She is the recipient of the the National Education Association Foundation’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.

May is among only five teachers recognized for the award nationally. She was nominated by the Kansas National Education Association.

KNEA President Mark Farr says May is a teacher who values every student.

"Crystal believes in each student’s ability to achieve," Farr says. "She works hard to make sure each student feels respected and important in her classroom. That’s why she was selected for the Kansas Teacher Excellence Award and how she became our nominee in the NEA Foundation Award for teaching excellence. She is an outstanding educator."

May is known for her alternative teaching style. Her classroom doesn't have desks, and most of her teaching is small group instruction rather than lecturing at the front of the class.

May’s students are producing a video to honor their teacher. It will debut at the Feb. 9 gala in Washington, D.C., and will be live-streamed at NEAFoundation.org.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.