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KCPS is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with profiles of Latinos who have made a difference in our community. Today, we remember Yvonne Vazquez Rangel, an education advocate who lobbied for access to bilingual education. 

John Fierro Kansas City Notable Latino

KCPS is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month featuring notable Latino community members who have made a difference in the city and/or the nation. Today, we honor John Fierro, President/CEO of Mattie Rhodes Center and a long-time public figure in Kansas City.

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KCPS is continuing our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with a spotlight on Rebecca Jaramillo, an advocate for equal rights and a founder of Fiesta Hispana, one of the first celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month in Kansas City.

Local Kansas City Hero Primitivo Garcia

Primitivo Garcia is often referred to as Kansas City's first local Hispanic hero. One KCPS elementary school is named after this hero after he gave his life to save his English teacher in 1967.

2022 KCPS Teacher of the Year is 'Ideal Educator'

Kayla McClellan is the 2022 Lincoln Middle School Teacher of the Year and one of three finalists for 2022 KCPS Teacher of the


Congratulations to Kayla McClellan, 2022 KCPS Teacher of the Year! Ms. McClellan teaches AVID and American History at Lincoln Middle School.

In her application, Ms. McClellan described herself as the "ultimate hype woman" for her students. She draws on her own experiences in KCPS to motivate her students.

WATCH: 2022 KCPS Teacher of the Year Kayla McClellan

“I went to Lincoln Middle, and I was demitted in eighth grade, second semester,” Ms. McClellan said. “So returning to KCPS and returning to this building in this position, it speaks volumes about what KCPS can produce and what amazing people they have.”

According to Ms. McClellan, her trajectory changed when she was admitted to Grambling State University, a historically black college (HBCU) in Louisiana, where she studied history.

“I realized how important representation, or the lack thereof, had affected me as a student,” Ms. McClellan said. “I was encouraged, affirmed, and corrected when necessary by amazing professors, and I knew then that I would become a teacher.”

Ms. McClellan received a bachelor’s degree from Grambling and a master’s from Mississippi State University before returning to Kansas City to teach. In AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination), she helps students build the organizational and study skills they’ll need to be successful in high school, college and jobs.
 

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In Kayla McClellan's AVID class at Lincoln Middle School, students learn the WICOR method: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading. These organization and study skills help them in high school, college and jobs.
 

"When I don't understand an assignment, Ms. McClellan will explain it a different way so I can know what I need to do to get the rest of the work done,” eighth grader Saih’Tam Simpson said.

Saih’Tam’s classmate, Selena Fahnestock, said she’s a better notetaker thanks to AVID and Ms. McClellan.

“She has taught us how to manage our time, which is something I personally struggle with,” Selena said. “If not for AVID, I’d likely be 10 times more nervous than I am right now.”

Lincoln Middle Principal Mary Bachkora said she jumped at the chance to hire Ms. McClellan, who had been teaching at Northeast Middle School.

“She’s a role model for teachers and students as well. She is the ideal educator in my mind,” Principal Bachkora said.

McClellan said she is teaching her students how to advocate for themselves, like her teachers once did.

“I love this place, and I’m so happy to be here,” she said.

 

  • Teacher of the Year