Monica Blanco receives Kansas Horizon Award

Feb 14, 2023
Monica Blanco (Courtesy photo)
Monica Blanco (Courtesy photo)

Monica Blanco, a 2022 Newman University graduate, is one of 32 educators to receive the Kansas Department of Education’s 2023 Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes educators for their outstanding teaching skills. Blanco currently works at Dodge City USD 443 as a sixth grade social studies teacher.

“Receiving the Kansas Horizon Award is a reinforcement that I am doing a good job,” Blanco said. “As a new teacher, I’m always questioning my decisions and my skills and worry that I’m not doing enough. But receiving this award provided me with more confidence in myself as an educator.”

As an award recipient, Blanco was invited to join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN). Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in several professional development programs throughout the year.

In addition to her teaching, Blanco is currently working on a Master of Elementary Education with a focus on ESOL through Fort Hays State University. She hopes to become an instructional coach.

What initially interested Blanco in pursuing a career in education was her mom, who works as a parent liaison.

Receiving this award provided me with more confidence in myself as an educator.

Monica Blanco ’22

“I spent a lot of my afternoons and summer breaks at the school helping her out,” she said. “It was those moments that inspired me to be an educator.”

The Dodge City native first attended Wichita State University for her bachelor’s degree but wasn’t satisfied with the lack of familiarity between the professors and students and the large class sizes.

“I felt like I needed something more personable,” Blanco said.

So, she transferred to Newman and enrolled in its outreach program located in Dodge City.

“This program made it possible for me to work full time as a paraprofessional and receive my degree at an accelerated rate,” Blanco explained.

Today, the best part of Blanco’s job is working with her students.

“The students can really make the learning process fun, and I always look forward to joking around with them,” she said.

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