Greg Kester, a social studies teacher at Potosi High School in the Potosi R-III School District, was selected by a committee of his peers and education partners across the state as the 2024 Missouri Teacher of the Year. He becomes the 55th Missouri Teacher of the Year since the program’s inception in 1957.
Kester sees success in the classroom when his students are able to help direct learning themselves and take ownership of their education. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education, and his Masters of Arts with an emphasis in Teaching from Southeast Missouri State University. He joined the Potosi High School staff after graduating with his bachelors and has remained there throughout his career. Kester has served as a department chair, cadet teaching coordinator, and faculty sponsor for the Future Teachers of America club, in addition to his role as a classroom teacher.
“Relationships are my greatest accomplishments as an educator,” said Kester. “I would gladly give back all of the accolades and awards I have won if I had to choose between them or the connection I have with my present and former students.”
“Missouri is fortunate to have so many passionate, dedicated educators, and Greg is a wonderful example of the best of our teacher workforce,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Greg is a shining example of how we can work to grow the next generation of teachers in our schools today. His work creating a teacher training program for his students stands as an example of how important it is to talk about the art of teaching and the joy this incredible profession is able to bring to those called to it.”
Kester hopes to instill in the next generation of teachers not just the passion for educating people, but also compassion for the student. Passion without compassion is directionless energy, he says.
Kester resides in Festus with his wife and two children. He will serve as Missouri’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year program. He will be honored during DESE’s Teacher of the Year recognition event in Columbia on Monday, October 16, along with the other finalists, semi-finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year.
The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers, working tirelessly to provide a high-quality education to their students. Christina Andrade Melly, an English Language Arts teacher from Ritenour School District’s Ritenour High School, is the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year.