Kansas’ Tabatha Rosproy named 2020 National Teacher of the Year

As a child, Tabatha Rosproy often accompanied her mother, a nurse, to the nursing home where her mother worked.

Tabatha C. Rosproy

Tabatha said as a child she connected well with the elderly residents. It’s no wonder then that Tabatha would grow up to become a preschool teacher and develop a program where her classroom was housed in a retirement community.

It was that kind of initiative that led to Winfield USD 465’s Rosproy being named the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year. On Thursday, Rosproy was named 2020 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“I am so honored to have been chosen to represent the incredible educators in our nation as National Teacher of the Year, and I’m especially proud to represent Kansas,” Rosproy said. “Kansas is a model for rethinking education, and teachers across the nation are being charged to do just that during these trying times.There is no place that could have better prepared me for this honor.”

Rosproy becomes the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year, and the first one from Kansas since 1962.

Winfield USD 465 Superintendent Nathan Reed said of Rosproy, “She goes above and beyond for all of her students and inspires others to be their very best.”

Rosproy has developed a preschool class that enlists the aid of “grandparent volunteers” at the Cumbernauld Village retirement community and nursing home in Winfield.

Her students experience “grandparents love” and in turn the grandparent volunteers are filled with joy. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” she said.

Rosproy says she builds social and emotional development into every fabric of the classroom. Empathy and problem solving are the most important lessons in life, she said.

Rosproy says Kansas really is leading the way in innovation. “I already know how to teach differently because I’m from Kansas,” she said.

As the 2020 National Teacher of the Year, Rosproy will spend a year representing educators and will serve as an ambassador for students and teachers across the nation. She said she hopes to highlight the importance of social-emotional learning and early childhood education for all.

Rosproy began her career as an early childhood teacher in 2010 at the Heartland Programs Head Start in Salina, Salina USD 305. She became an early childhood special education teacher at the Winfield Early Learning Center (WELC) in 2014.

Rosproy received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, with a minor in English, in 2009 from Southwestern College. She is currently working on obtaining her master’s degree in education, English as a secondary or other language, from Fort Hays State University.

Rosproy is involved in several leadership roles and professional organizations, and she has received several awards and recognition, including Winfield USD 465 Rookie Teacher of the Year in 2015. She is active on her building leadership team, the co-head teacher of WELC and serves as co-president of Winfield National Education Association. She is also active at the state level with the Kansas National Education Association.

Recently, Rosproy was one of three teachers selected by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson to put together the Continuous Learning Plans guidance used by schools across Kansas and the nation to pivot to different kinds of instruction when schools were closed because of the pandemic.

Those guidances have been called “the gold standard.” Watson described Rosproy as an “outstanding leader,” and added, “She is a remarkable educator whose passion for the profession is reflected daily in the eyes of her young students and in the members of the retirement community who volunteer in her classroom. Her ability to bridge this generational gap in a single classroom is perhaps one of the richest experiences we can offer our students and our communities.”

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