Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Logo Title

Our mission is to graduate 100 percent of our students, college and career ready.

Media Specialist Kirby Mackenzie Celebrates Being Union's District Teacher Of The Year

Union Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler, who was honored at American Association of School Administrators 2024 National Confer

Congratulations to Ellen Ochoa media specialist Kirby Mackenzie, who was named Union Public Schools’ 2023-2024 District Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, February 20.

The news came at the end of a prepared video when Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler and an entourage of administrators and well-wishers rushed into the gym to congratulate her with the big news. Photos in the albums section on Facebook.



An openly ecstatic Mackenzie, her face replete with tears of joy, embraced Dr. Hartzler, then Assistant Superintendent Sandi Calvin and then Deputy  Superintendent John Federline. To describe what happened next would be an overabundance of joy and energy as Mackenzie rushed back into the crowd of her fellow teachers, breaking off pieces of a plastic tiara that she handed to educators to declare that they too shared in her honor of being Teacher of the Year.

Wearing a shirt that said “Laugh,” Mackenzie thanked everyone for their support the past year, and thanked administrators as well. Others administrators who attended included Associate Superintendent Charlie Bushyhead, Chief Communications Officer Chris Payne, Executive Director of Elementary Education Teresa Kiger, and Director of Research-Design-Assessment Dr. Todd Nelson.

Shea Ludwig, executive director of the Union Schools Education Foundation, also congratulated Mackenzie, presenting her with a check for $1,000.

Mackenzie was also surprised by her family and the return of Rita Long, who just retired as principal at Ellen Ochoa last summer. Lisa Shotts, a former Union Teacher of The Year from Ellen Ochoa, also came back.

In fact, Mackenzie’s naming as District Teacher of The Year marks the third time Ellen Ochoa has garnered a District Teacher of The Year win since the school opened in 2017. In addition, to Shott and Makenzie, Ellen Ochoa Assistant Principal Taya Oelze was also a District Teacher of The Year. What’s more, Ellen Ochoa teacher Kristyne Salley was a District Teacher of the Year at Briarglen Elementary before the school transitioned to the new Ellen Ochoa site.