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Kansas Master Teacher


Sue GivensSue Givens

Principal
Pratt-Liberty Middle School
USD 382, Pratt

Teaching Philosophy

In her philosophy of education, Sue indicates that good education is really all about two things - motivation and respect.  She says, "It is my job as an educator, especially as a principal, to develop an atmosphere that is conducive to building respect.  As adults, we refer to the necessity of students demonstrating respect for others.  This isn't enough.  We also need to develop a respect for culture, government, education, and life.  This can't happen without providing exploration in safe, respectful environments.  Students can't learn to seek new information or experiences if they don't feel safe and respected. . . Developing motivation and respect takes great effort, constant revision of techniques, and willingness to take a stand when it means providing success or safety for all students.  Motivating student to do their best, and helping them to have real respect for themselves and others is a tough calling.  Educators today must be ready to accept the call because it's not just the three R's anymore.  In fact, it never was.  For me, It's All About . . Motivation and Respect."

Honors and Awards

Keys for Networking Outstanding School Principal - 2001
Member of State Accreditation Study Task Force - 2000-2001
Producer of Miss Kansas Pageant - 1995-1996
KATM Distinguished Service Award - 1988
Topeka Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Nominee - 1983

What People Say

One of the teachers in her building said this, "Throughout her career, Mrs. Givens has held firmly to the philosophy that her role as a teacher is to do what needs to be done to help students.  I have seen this philosophy manifested repeatedly in the two years that I have had Mrs. Givens as a principal.  Woven through faculty discussions regarding discipline, school improvement, facilities, grading, and a host of other school related policies, is the underlying motivation that what we do as a staff, school, and district should first and foremost be what is in the best interest of all students.  Mrs. Givens has not only built her career on holding herself to this philosophy, but through strong leadership and example has also instilled this same philosophy into her staff.  In this way, she has 'infected' her entire school, staff, and students with love for learning that is truly the mark of a Master Teacher.


A former student who is now a senior at KU pursuing a career in middle secondary math education said, "when people ask what she plans on doing the next five years, she tells them that she is going to be the next Mrs. Givens."  This former student also said, "It may seem humorous, but I strive to be the educator and person that Mrs. Given's is today."


Another former student told all about "Mama Givens" - the nickname given to her by students.  "Mrs. Givens is a great educator, caring, and successful at what she does.  Mama Givens cares about her students.  In October there's the Fall Frolic where students participate in fun activities all day.  Then there's LEROY (Liberty's Exciting Reward of the Year) at the end of the year to recognize students who had no discipline points throughout the year.  Mrs. Givens often checks in on the classrooms during the day to see how the students are doing and what they're learning.  She's always in the halls between classes, greeting students.  Mrs. Givens knows all the kids at Liberty Middle School and remembers them long after they are gone.  It is important for teachers to care about their students and Mrs. Givens definitely does."