SMSD News: Student and staff shoutouts

We are tremendously proud of students and staff in the Shawnee Mission School District, who continue to demonstrate we are #SMSDStrong.

 Here are just a few recent highlights from our school communities:

 Riley Atkinson, Shawnee Mission East senior, is the 2021 Kansas Student Journalist of the Year, as awarded by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. Atkinson is the fourth journalism student in the past five years at SM East to be named State Journalist of the Year. Each honoree has been taught by instructor Dow Tate.

 Crystal Brower, a Kindergarten Teacher at Shawanoe Elementary, and Natalie Johnson-Berry, an English Language Arts teacher at Shawnee Mission North will soon be honored by the Kansas State Department of Education. They are this year’s SMSD Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees. The Region III Awards Committee will hold a virtual Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) recognition ceremony on March 28. Teachers nominated for the 2021 KTOY award automatically became nominees for the 2022 program.

 The SMSD is being honored by the Kansas City Business Journal as a 2021 Healthiest Employees honoree. The journal stated that the 30 employers who are being honored have prioritized their worker’s health and wellness during a year when health took center stage. This comes on the heels of the SMSD receiving  a 2021 Healthy KC Workplace certification.

 The Arts Council of Johnson County recognized 19 Shawnee Mission students from the Shawnee Mission School District as finalists in the 2021 Shooting Star Awards. The Shooting Stars Program celebrates young artists and arts educators for their artistic achievements with college scholarships, awards and honorariums. Since 1997, the Shooting Stars Program has recognized over 1,000 high school seniors for their artistic excellence and contributions to their community.  You can see a list of the honorees here.

 The Shawnee Mission Northwest Lady Cougars are the 2021 6A Kansas State High School Activities Association champions. The girls basketball team won the top prize with a final score of 61-53 over Topeka High School, and finished their season undefeated at 23-0.

Ishya Bhavsar, an eighth-grader from Indian Hills Middle School, is the winner of the 2021 Johnson County Spelling Bee.  She earned the opportunity to advance to the state spelling bee, scheduled to take place in Wichita in March.

 Missouri River Relief honored the Shawnee Mission School District and its previous sustainability leader with its “Inspiring the Next Generation” award. The honor is presented to educators that strive to connect students and teachers to the Missouri River and deepen their sense of river stewardship.

 The National Merit Program named 13 Shawnee Mission School District students National Merit Finalists. They will advance in the National Merit competition for National Merit Scholarship Awards. For a list of honorees, click here.

 There are multiple ways you can stay up-to-date on all of the news highlighting students and staff members in the Shawnee Mission School District. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, or watch for stories posted under “recent news” on

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