WOTW: Elizabeth Crainshaw

New gifted facilitator sets out to create an independent environment for Voyagers students


Elizabeth Crainshaw prepares for her parachute to open after letting go of the wing of a plane.

Hunter Finerty, Web Editor

Every year, a handful of new teachers and other staff members grace the hallways of De Soto High School. While some new members of the community find themselves known by most students at DHS, gifted facilitator Elizabeth Crainshaw has  more of a behind-the-scenes role. 

Crainshaw is the newest teacher for the gifted Voyagers program at DHS. Her job is to help her Seminar students in the gifted program reach goals related to education and their futures. 

The Voyagers program consists of only 30 to 40 students, so Crainshaw has the chance to have a large impact on a small group of students. 

Before coming to DHS, Crainshaw worked at Mill Creek Middle School as a resource teacher. While it is different at DHS, Crainshaw is excited for the year to come. 

“[DHS] is amazing. It’s a very tight knit group,” she said. 

Anyone who knows Crainshaw knows that she is devoted to providing the best possible environment for her students at multiple elementary schools and, of course, DHS. However, most people wouldn’t know that she is incredibly creative and daring. 

“I love to hike, draw, paint and parachute,” Crainshaw said. 

While Crainshaw does not actively parachute anymore, it used to be one of her more interesting hobbies. 

“You hang from the wing of the plane and when it’s time to drop you just let go,” she said. 

Crainshaw parachuted from about 3,000  feet above the ground. Though being a teacher is not nearly as dangerous, she feels that this new opportunity to teach Voyagers has ample room for adventure. 

“I’d say working with Voyagers is kind of daring, isn’t it?” Crainshaw said.

Crainshaw plans to run the classroom differently than teachers have in the past, placing the emphasis on individual students and their goals and needs. 

The Voyagers have found this to be a refreshing change. 

“She lets us be more independent, and I have had the opportunity to take control of my own learning,” said junior Voyager Caleb Kmiecik. 

She plans to have each Voyager work on independent projects, social-emotional learning and project-based learning. Some of these independent project opportunities include participating in Battle of the Brains at Science City, as well as participating in the jury at Johnson County Youth Court.

“I’m excited [to see progress] not just in this classroom, but outside of it, through the school day and beyond.” 

Though working with the gifted program at DHS is a big change from working in resource at MCMS, Crainshaw is ready for the challenge and the benefits to come along with it. 


Elizabeth Crainshaw prepares for her parachute to open after letting go of the wing of a plane.