Kansas Master Teacher Award Program
Blue Valley West High School
USD 229, Blue Valley
“There is not a person from whom I could have learned more, not only about journalism, but also about life.” Those words from a former student of Michael Dunlap sum up both his philosophy of teaching and his concern for the students under his instruction.
Michael teaches journalism at Blue Valley West High School, serves as Mass Communication Department chairman, and is the program facilitator for journalism for the Blue Valley Unified School District. His previous teaching experience includes Lawrence, Leavenworth and Shawnee Mission North High Schools. At each school, his students have excelled at state and national journalism and yearbook competitions.
“Watching a shy freshman come out of her shell to become a confident senior editor is truly one of the joys of my profession. Knowing that she will move onward with a few life lessons from my classroom gives me a sense of pride, as well,” Dunlap writes.
Dunlap says his classroom is one of the first places that students encounter the types of decision-making that will be required in their professional lives. “I believe the more we incorporate authentic experiences into our teaching, the more we create opportunities to encourage empathy, develop character, and incorporate life lessons into the everyday classroom experience.”
“He has an amazing ability to make our work feel truly student-centered, providing the perfect balance of guidance to teach us skills we need, advice to inspire our creativity, and constructive criticism to challenge us to reach our potential,” writes another former student.
Michael Dunlap earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University in 1989. In addition to his classroom work at Blue Valley West, Dunlap also serves as a yearbook publishing consultant, instructs seminars for high school yearbook workshops, and has been on the faculty of summer journalism workshops at Ball State University, Kansas State University and the University of Missouri.