JoCo Notes: Olathe’s ‘Mr. Buss’ named Kansas Teacher of the Year

Taylor Bussinger high fives students at Prairie Trail Middle School. Photo courtesy Olathe Public Schools.

It’s Thursday, Blue Valley!

☀️ Today’s forecast: Sunny and slightly warmer. High: 88. Low: 66.

🚨 One thing to know today

Olathe Public Schools middle school teacher Taylor Bussinger, affectionately known to his students as “Mr. Buss,” was recently named the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year.

He is now in the running to be the National Teacher of the Year.

“He represents everything we want in a teacher and role model for our students,” Olathe Superintendent Brent Yeager said in a statement. “He teaches his academic content with excellence to ensure his students succeed, while also taking the time to care for his students’ well-being so they feel valued and heard in his classroom.”

For his part, Bussinger said he was stunned when he heard his name read at the annual Dale Dennis Kansas Teacher of the Year banquet in Wichita on Saturday.

“True education is authentic,” Bussinger said in his acceptance speech that night. “It’s messy. It’s real. It’s full of energy. It’s full of laughter. It’s full of tears, and it’s full of vibrant passion in which young people are inspired to be curious enough to know who they truly are in the context of an ever-changing world.”

Bussinger has taught at Prairie Trail Middle School in Olathe for nine years. He currently teaches social studies and coaches the boys’ basketball and cross-country teams. He is also founder of the school’s Diversity Club.

As the state teacher of the year, Bussinger will now travel across Kansas over the next year to advocate for education and provide professional development for other teachers.

🗓 Public meetings Thursday

  • Board of County Commissioners, 9:30 a.m. [View agenda]

🚀 Post’s top Wednesday stories

  1. Overland Park’s Russells Auto Service owners set to retire, sell shop
  2. JoCo Notes: Garmin KC Air Show canceled for 2024
  3. Panda Express eyes 2024 opening for new south Overland Park restaurant
  4. This year’s Best of Johnson County Medical, Dental & Health winners
  5. This year’s Best of Johnson County Real Estate & Homebuilding winners

📰 Other local news

  • Makeshift memorial at OP park honors “Dog Whisperer.” Patrons at Overland Park’s South Lake Park have left pictures and mementos in memory of Ralph Morris, a park habitué known for giving dogs treats. [Kansas City Star]
  • Moosejaw to close Olathe outlet. The outdoor sports gear retailer announced it is closing both of its KC area locations, including another one on the Country Club Plaza, months after being acquired by Dick’s Sporting Goods. [Kansas City Star]
  • Estimated 12,000 Kansas mistakenly kicked off Medicaid rolls. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said more than two-dozen states, including Kansas, failed to conduct renewal assessments properly and consequently disenrolled too many people. [Kansas Reflector]

📸 A thousand words

It’s been good weather lately to get outdoors and read or plant some grass seed … or both! This scene was spotted recently on the campus at Johnson County Community College. Photo via Instagram.