R-II announces district-wide awards

By John Rohlf, Staff Writer
Posted 4/13/23

Wright City High School math teacher Hanna Andress and early childhood paraprofessional Bill Talley were recently named district teacher and support staff of the year. 

Andress was named …

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R-II announces district-wide awards


Wright City High School math teacher Hanna Andress and early childhood paraprofessional Bill Talley were recently named district teacher and support staff of the year. 

Andress was named district teacher of the year in her fourth year teaching math at Wright City High School. Andress came to Wright City after one year stops in Galena and Winfield in Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska. She has been a teacher for the past seven years. 

Andress said teaching was on her mind at a young age and was solidified in high school. 

“We had a dry erase board. We had an easel. And my sisters would be the students and we would play with books and I would teach math and all that,” Andress said. “So it kind of started there. But then it really became solidified when I was a senior in high school. I was in my calculus class and it just hit me. I really want to do this for the rest of my life.”

Andress thinks her career development took off after arriving at Wright City. Just two years prior, Andress was considering changing careers while teaching in Omaha. Five years later, she was named the Wright City R-II district’s top teacher. 

“Once I saw the results of my hard work, that really paid off and it made me want to continue to work hard for good results,” Andress said. “And then I saw how I was valued here and I am trusted with responsibilities, like being an Impact team leader. Being able to help newer teachers grow the way I was grown when first coming here as well has been really fulfilling.”

Andress’ main focus at the high school is teaching Algebra II. Wright City High School Principal Matt Brooks noted 73% of her students were proficient or advanced last year. This is one of the best scores the high school has achieved. 

“She’s led a young group of math teachers to improve our Algebra I and our Geometry across the board,” Brooks said. “It’s amazing. They all kind of respect and revere her. There’s good reason for it because she’s a great leader in her own right. I’m really proud of the things she does in that role.”

While she was really excited and happy to receive recognition as the district’s top teacher, Andress knows she still has areas to grow as a teacher. 

“I recognize that I’m valued here but there’s more to be done,” Andress said. “It’s not like what I’m doing isn’t good enough. I just want to continue to do better. I want to keep growing. I’m not letting an award stop me.”

Talley receives support staff award 

Four years into working as a school paraprofessional, Bill Talley was named the district’s support staff of the year. 

Talley is in his second year as a paraprofessional at the Wright City early childhood building. Prior to working in the Wright City R-II district, Talley was a paraprofessional for two years at Rebecca Boone Elementary in the Warren County R-III School District. Despite being content and happy working at Rebecca Boone, Talley applied for the paraprofessional job at the urging of his wife, Sadie, who is also a paraprofessional in the early childhood building. After turning the job down once, Bill Talley later accepted the position.

“I actually applied and interviewed once and I turned the position down because I loved my coworkers where I was working at,” Talley said. “And then it came up again and I was like you know what, alright, I’m going to try it… And you know what, working with preschoolers is so fun. I can’t see myself working with any other age group now.”

As part of his role as a paraprofessional, Talley dresses up in different costumes for the children at the Wright City early childhood building. This is something he also did at Rebecca Boone Elementary. He has dressed up as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, among other costumes. With his gig on the side as a professional wrestler, Talley already had the costumes to fill this role at the schools. 

“He’s dressed up as numerous things throughout the year and everyone loves Mr. Bill over at the early childhood center,” Wright City early childhood principal Kelly Brooks said. 

Talley was surprised to receive the district-wide award, especially considering he has only been at the district for two years and the early childhood building had not previously won the district-wide award. Even though he was excited to win the award, Talley was more thrilled the building got the award for the first time. 

Talley credited the administration for the support they provide him as a paraprofessional. 

“I can’t say enough about the administration, the superintendent of this district. They’re very supportive,” Talley said. “They could look at me and go we don’t need you dressed up as a seven-foot tall leprechaun. They can say that. But they don’t because they see how much the kids enjoy that stuff. They are just so supportive of all the staff here.”


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