Inger Lillis - 2024 March honoree for Blue KC Sporting Samaritan
Community & CultureSports Partnerships
Mar 18, 2024
5 Minute Read

2024 Blue KC Sporting Samaritan Honoree Inger Lillis – month of March

Blue KC and Sporting KC have announced Boone Elementary School teacher Inger Lillis as the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan honoree for March. 

Teaching and educating our community’s youth has always been the dream for Inger Lillis. A Kansas City native, she received her Bachelor’s degree from UMKC before obtaining her Masters of Arts in Elementary Education from Baker University. Once her four boys were school-aged, she continued her teaching career at Boone Elementary School in the Center School District and has taught in Kansas City, Missouri for the past eight years. Throughout her journey, Lillis has split her time between teaching first and second graders.

“This is my eighth year at Boone (Elementary)”, said Lillis. “During my time, I have served as lead teacher, helped plan grade-level curriculum, and also served as the robotics coach. I took over the robotics program in my second year at Boone and have helped grow the program to give more kids the opportunity to learn and participate.”

Lillis’ success and influence in her school led her to receive ‘Teacher of the Year’ honors at Boone Elementary in 2020. This prestigious award was voted upon by her colleagues. It was an extra special achievement for Lillis since she dealt with numerous challenges and successfully taught her way through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Boone Elementary is a very welcoming school,” said Lillis. “It’s a home away from home for staff and students, and also feels like a family. I loved teaching at Boone Elementary while my four boys were attending, but a major reason we elected to stay (at Boone Elementary) instead of moving elsewhere, was due to the diverse student population.”

One approach that Lillis has found successful over the years has been to constantly remind her students that it’s okay to ‘feel all of the feels’ and that a perfectly happy human simply does not exist. She believes that everyone makes mistakes, young and old, and it’s our job to collectively work together to learn from our mistakes and better ourselves for the future.

“The best piece of advice that I have ever received is that every class is unique and has different needs,” said Lillis. “It’s important to remember to be flexible with each new class and to continue to tweak my classroom management and teaching style to meet the needs of each and every one of my students.”

Inger Lillis (in sunglasses) on the field with family and Sporting KC player Kayden Pierre (far right)

As she continues to further her education, Lillis is currently attending Avila University in an effort to obtain her Master’s degree in reading. She’s been able to successfully balance her schedule with the needs of those in her classroom. Her desire to stretch the comfort zones of her students has created a promising atmosphere that allows learning to take place successfully for her second graders.

“It’s essential to instill high standards for students because they learn that their effort is directly tied to their performance,” said Lillis. “They can carry this with them as they grow throughout the school year, as well as in future education and their personal lives.”

“Inger leads by example in and out of the classroom and provides a safe place for her students and children, and also works hard to make Kansas City a better place for all,” said Lillis’ nominator, and husband, Paul Lillis. “When you have a teacher who is as dedicated to her school and students as Inger, they don’t just work for eight hours per day, Monday through Friday during the school year. They put in countless hours during each week, and even on weekends, year-round when they’re pursuing a personal objective to be the best educator possible. She always puts her students and her family first and wanted to do her part to make a difference in the world and shape the young minds of tomorrow.”

“Balancing the complexities of family life and second grade teaching can be an ongoing challenge,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “But Inger’s approach to each day, along with her passion for education and student-advancement creates a shining example of a superior role model and educator within the Kansas City community. We’re honored to highlight her accomplishments and look forward to many more memorable moments as her academic career continues. Congratulations Inger!”

Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online clicking HERE.

Blue KC supports the Kansas City community through impactful sports partnership programs.

Blue KC Sporting Samaritan Program

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