USD 231

Congratulations to Mandy Soetaert, a second-grade teacher at Nike Elementary, who has been selected as the USD 231 Elementary Teacher of the Year!

Mandy has taught in the Gardner Edgerton School District for the past six years, all in second grade. Prior to this, Mandy taught third and fourth grade in the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District.  Mandy holds a Master of Science Degree in Reading with a Reading Specialist certification from Emporia State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Emporia State University.

Mandy has played a prominent role in a diverse array of leadership initiatives, most notably as a Nike Building Leadership Team member. Additionally, she has served as an Activator for the District’s Professional Learning Communities work, contributing to the collaborative efforts of her peers.

Mandy's commitment to her students and colleagues has not gone unnoticed. In 2021, she was the recipient of the Arvest Bank Teacher Award, an accolade that recognizes her dedication and excellence in the field of teaching. Furthermore, Mandy's contributions have earned her the Great Employees Serving the District (GESD) award.

Mandy will now move to the state level and participate in the Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) selection process. The KTOY Program recognizes a Regional Finalist for each of the eight (8) regions. From the eight Representatives, a Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected. As a team, these designees are provided professional learning opportunities, visit school districts around the state, advocate for education at the state level, and represent teachers across Kansas. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is nominated to represent Kansas in the National Teacher of the Year Program. For additional information about the state program, visit

Congratulations, Mandy!!!