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Blue Valley Northwest adviser wins Jackie Engel Award

Jim McCrossen, journalism teacher and adviser at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, has won a prestigious journalism teaching award for 2013.

McCrossen is this year’s recipient of the Jackie Engel Award, sponsored by the Kansas Collegiate Media, and named in honor of Jackie Engel, a former journalism teacher at McPherson High School and former executive director of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association.  Engel devoted more than two decades to teaching journalism.  She and her students brought national recognition to Kansas high school journalism.

The award was created to honor the best high school journalism teacher in Kansas.

McCrossen has taught at the high school for the last 20 years and advises the student newspaper, The Express, and the school’s yearbook, Horizon.  He was chosen because of his staunch defense of the First Amendment and the commitment he has made to his students and to several journalism organizations, including the Journalism Educators of Metro Kansas City and the Kansas Scholastic Press Association, of which he is president-elect. He is also a faculty member at several summer journalism workshops.

The contest judge wrote of McCrossen, “The common thread that runs through letters from colleagues and students is that Jim McCrossen shows the ability, through his hard work, genuine interest in students and passion for journalism, to let students learn by doing, to learn and grow from their mistakes, and to lead.”

McCrossen will be honored at two ceremonies. The first was at the KCM spring conference April 14 in Wichita. The second will be at the KSPA’s state conference May 4 in Lawrence, after which McCrossen will begin a two-year term as KSPA president, the office he also held from 2009-2011.

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