SMSD News: Student and staff shoutouts

The Shawnee Mission School District is proud of students and staff who, through hard work and dedication, continue to demonstrate we are #KeepingSMSDStrong. Here are just a few recent highlights from our school communities.

The Kansas City Star announced their 2021 list of top high school Scholar-Athletes in the Kansas City metro area. Here is a look at the SMSD students recognized for their academic and athletic achievements: 

  • Sarah Bingham, Shawnee Mission East 
  • Trevor Maxville, Shawnee Mission North
  • Ty Black, Shawnee Mission Northwest
  • Max Close, Shawnee Mission South
  • Olivia Morris, Shawnee Mission West

These students were nominated by school coaches and educators and were selected based on athletic ability and accomplishments, academic achievement, participation, and overall impact on their school environment. 

The learning continues this summer for students in SMSD with Summer Enrichment. In June, students kicked off their summer learning experience at Westridge Middle School by taking classes in art, music, technology, science, nature, sports, and more. At the Center for Academic Achievement, students engaged in Camp CARE, a class that gave them a chance to learn about future opportunities in healthcare. 

Chris Petrella, a trumpet player and incoming junior at Shawnee Mission South High School, won the High School Solo Division of the 2021 National Trumpet competition. The National Trumpet Competition is considered the premier competition event for trumpet players in the United States. 

Ishya Bhavsar, an incoming freshman at Shawnee Mission East High School, advanced to the semifinal round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Out of 209 spellers that entered the national bee, Bhavsar was among 30 to advance to the semifinals. She was the Johnson County Spelling Bee champion for two consecutive years and won the Sunflower State Spelling Bee, qualifying for national competition. 

Marie Hooker, a sixth-grade teacher at Highlands Elementary, is the 2021 Kansas PTA Outstanding Educator of the Year, as named by Kansas PTA. She was selected for the honor because of her numerous accomplishments in education, her tenacity and respect for students, and her dedication on behalf of children. Kansas PTA recognizes an outstanding educator each year at the Annual State PTA convention. 

A select group of Shawnee Mission educators is taking part in the Burns and McDonnell Early Educator Fellowship, provided by Startland. Denise Alpson and Alissa Foshee, second-grade teachers from Comanche Elementary School, and Michael Soto and Amy Jonason, fourth-grade teachers from Nieman Elementary School, are among the 20 who were chosen from a competitive application process to participate. A goal of this program is to help students develop a passion for problem-solving and creative thinking. 

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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