Kansas Master Teacher Award Program
Council Grove Middle School
USD 417, Morris County
She’s lovingly—and respectfully—known as “Miss D,” both by former students and their parents. Teresa Disberger has earned her place in the hearts of Council Grove students by sharing her personal concern for them and relaying an attitude of trust during the 23 years she has taught in the Morris County school district.
“When students return to visit the school, the first stop for most is Teresa’s room,” writes a colleague. “A few years ago, the eighth grade class selected ‘Miss D’ to be the speaker at their promotion. What a tribute!” the colleague exclaims.
Those choices her students have made—such as returning to visit her classroom—are the rewards Teresa reaps for her emphasis on teaching students to think for themselves.
“Technology has given students the ability to look up solutions to problems, but what a student requires is the ability to reason if that solution makes sense,” Teresa writes. “I have strived to ask ‘why’ or ‘why not’ questions, hoping that with students having to explain and think about the why or why not, the reasoning will come.”
A seventh and eighth grade mathematics teacher since 1996, her inspiration for students to overcome their initial fear of math makes her a favorite among Council Grove parents.
“Teresa was able to turn a light bulb on for my daughter that made everything bright when it came to math and understanding that asking for help was not a fault, but a way to learn,” writes one mother.
“When that light bulb goes on for one of my students, I feel that thrill of learning, the reason I went into education,” says Teresa, herself a product of the Council Grove school system.
Teresa Disberger earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Emporia State University. She has additional graduate hours from Friends University, Baker University, the University of Denver, Kansas State University and ESU.