Kansas Master Teacher Award
Beverly Steele Furlong
2009 Kansas Master Teacher
An accomplished teacher and expressive writer, Beverly Steele Furlong exudes joy as she describes her classroom experiences. She has fashioned four guiding principles to keep her grounded while teaching: that all children can learn; that the learner can be involved in constructing new meaning; that education is a collaborative process with parents, colleagues and the community; and that teaching requires continually renewed instructional practices.
“It is my hope that the story of my classroom is one of innovation and inquiry,” she writes. “It is my expectation that students leave my classroom with the essential skills and undaunted attitudes to be lifetime problem solvers and seekers of deeper understandings.”
Dustin Mortenson, the Sunflower Elementary School principal, says Furlong is a highly regarded teacher for her habit of building consensus with all stakeholders. “On numerous occasions I have consulted with Bev on matters ranging from early childhood programming to Sunflower traditions, and throughout all of our brainstorming sessions Bev has demonstrated a thoughtful, professional, and dedicated resolve to maintain a focus on doing what is best for our kids,” he writes.
A parent whose three children passed through Furlong’s classroom attests to her influence. “Her ability to challenge my kids according to their abilities and work with them in areas of need was very important to me,” the parent wrote. “She is most definitely one of the most positive influences not only on my kids, but on my entire family. My kids’ love for school can be attributed to the awesome start they had from Bev Furlong in kindergarten.”
Furlong earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Emporia State University in 1986, an ESL endorsement from Kansas State University in 1999, and a master of education in technology-enhanced teaching from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 2006. She began teaching kindergarten in 1986.