Mark Korell stands in front of his 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year banner at Robidoux Middle School.

Local teacher Mark Korell has the opportunity to become Missouri’s State Teacher of the Year.

The eighth-grade social studies teacher at Robidoux Middle School also coaches boys’ and girls’ golf at Lafayette High School and is entering his ninth year of teaching. In 2018, he was named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year by the St. Joseph School District Foundation.

“Winning the St. Joseph School District’s Teacher of the Year was an honor that I never expected to achieve and an honor that probably every educator would like to achieve, and there are hundreds of educators here in the St. Joseph School District who are well-deserving of the award,” he said.

Currently, he is one of three northwest regional teachers up for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s State Teacher of the Year, along with Denise Henggeler of Northwest Nodaway and Sandra Wood in Maryville. Korell has an interview scheduled for next week to begin the application process for the state award, and he will be graded by a panel from DESE along with several other teachers up for the distinction.

“If I were to win Missouri Teacher of the Year, that would be another exceptional honor,” Korell said. “Again, there’s so many deserving individuals within our area and state.”

As the local Teacher of the Year, Korell has given speeches to students graduating as educators from Missouri Western State University as well as read resumes and applications prior to the St. Joseph School District Foundation’s selection of the current teacher of the year, Corinne Russell.

“My focus is ‘students first,’” Korell said. “Hopefully they can see that their teachers work hard, therefore in return they want to work hard. They know their teachers have their back and will do whatever it takes for their success. That’s the most important thing for me. You can gain awards, but it’s really about what we do upstairs, for Robidoux, for the school district to build up our community.”

Daniel Cobb can be reached at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowCobb.