For the second consecutive year, the Lee’s Summit School District has a Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist.

For the second consecutive year, the Lee’s Summit School District has a Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist.

Lori Merrigan, a fifth grade teacher at Underwood Elementary, is one of this year’s state finalists. Others are Rebecca Gooding, Raymore-Peculiar; Lori Mathys, Rockwood; Doug Logan, Carl Junction; Abby Lowe, Springfield and Robert Becker, Kirkwood.

Last year’s Missouri Teacher of the Year is also from Lee’s Summit – Susanne Mitko, a social studies teacher at Bernard Campbell Middle School.

“When you’re the teacher, kids expect you to have all the answers,” Merrigan said. “I want to teach them how to ‘dig deep’ into their knowledge base and question what they are reading. I love helping kids realize that they are in control of their learning and how powerful that can be.”

Across the state, 47 school districts submitted nominations, and committee then reviewed the candidates’ written applications. The selection committee will interview all finalists Monday in Jefferson City. The winner is the state’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program.

Merrigan is beginning her 13th year as a fifth grade teacher.

She also worked in business for 10 years before moving into education. In addition to her responsibilities in the classroom, Merrigan co-chairs the Professional Development Committee, serves on the Partners in Education and Spelling Bee committees and is a member of the International Reading Association, the PTA and the Missouri State Teachers Association.