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National Teachers Hall of Fame Welcomes the Class of 2019

June 17, 2019

The Emporia area has even more opportunities to meet the newest inductees to the National Teachers Hall of Fame this week as new public events are added to the schedule. The inductees requested that the two activities —a trivia competition with local teams pitted against the teachers and hunting for shark teeth, a family-oriented activity — be added.

The five members of the Class of 2019 have amassed a total of 132 years of classroom teaching:

  • Christopher Albrecht, a 4th grade teacher from Brockport, New York, has 23 years in the classroom.
  • David Bosso, a 9th-12th grade Social Studies teacher from Berlin, Connecticut, has been in the middle school and high school classroom for 21 years.
  • Richard Knoeppel, an 11th-12th grade Career and Technical Education and Architecture teacher from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been teaching for 31 years.
  • Mary Jo Murray, a 9th-12th grade Mathematics teacher from Riviera Beach, Florida, has been teaching for 36 years.
  • Dyane Smokorowski, is the PreK-12 Technology and Innovation Lead Teacher for the Andover Public Schools in Andover, Kansas. She has completed 21 years of classroom teaching.

The inductees and their families arrive in Emporia today (Monday, June 17) for a whirlwind four days of events.

Another new addition is honoring Matthew Powell from Mayfield, Kentucky, the National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year. Powell and Debby Chandler of Washington, the NEA ESP Council president, will arrive midweek to attend an ESP workshop on Thursday and the Induction Ceremony on Friday.

These events are open to the public and free, unless otherwise noted:

Tuesday, June 18, Shark Teeth Project, Emporia Public Library, 4:30 p.m.

The Emporia Public Library is the venue for the inductees to share their expertise on fossilized shark’s teeth — how to find and identify while sifting through dirt that is said to be 11 million years old. Each participant receives a bag of dirt to take home to sift through for shark teeth. Fun for land-locked Kansans of all ages!

Wednesday, June 19, Wine/ Cheese/ and Trivia Challenge at the Lyon County History Center, third floor, 8 p.m.

Come for a fun, informal gathering with prizes as community members match wits with the inductees on local and general trivia knowledge. This is a great way to meet the inductees in a relaxed atmosphere at the Lyon County History Center. 

Thursday, June 20

  • “Most Likely to Succeed” documentary, Visser Hall 330, 2 p.m. Writer and producer Ted Dintersmith will attend for a discussion after the showing. Dintersmith received the Friend of Education Award from the Hall of Fame this year, and is a true advocate for great schools in America.
  • ESP of the Year workshop and meet and greet, Visser Hall 330, 4:30-6 p.m. Meet Matthew Powell from Mayfield, Kentucky, the National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year, and Debby Chandler of Washington, the NEA ESP Council president.
  • “Haught and Cold Ice Cream Social” at the Emporia Municipal Band Concert, Fremont Park, 7-9 p.m. Thanks to the sponsors, Steve and Nina Haught, the first 200 community members will receive a free commemorative mug with a root beer float made with Braum’s ice cream. This is always a fun night for the inductees, who march with the children and enjoy the wonderful evening in Fremont Park with the Community Band.

Friday, June 21

  • Rededication ceremonies for the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, 18th Avenue and Merchant Street, 2 p.m. Family members of at least 3 people being memorialized will be in attendance to pay tribute and lay a rose for their fallen educator.
  • Induction Ceremonies, Webb Hall, 7:30-9:30 p.m. The ceremony also will be livestreamed by Emporia State University at

Additional information on inductees:

Christopher Albrecht — past awards include:

  • 2019 NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2018 New York State Teacher of the Year
  • 2017 NYS Board of Regents’ David Johnson award and Donald Sobol Award
  • 2015 Campaign for Cursive National Teacher of the Year
  • 1996 Sallie Mae First Class Teacher of the Year

Mr. Albrecht believes that his job is to teach children, but his mission is to promote lifelong learning.


Dr, David Bosso —past recognitions include:

  • 2017 Connecticut Council for the Social Studies Addazio Award
  • 2014 Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Fellow
  • 2012 National Council for the Social Studies Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year
  • 2011 Connecticut Teacher of the Year
  • 2011 S. Department of State Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program
  • 2004 Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program to Japan

Dr. Bosso believes that, “Encouraging students to become more aware of the world around them, to realize and appreciate multiple sides to every story and every issue, and to begin to get a better sense of their potential as global citizens—are fundamental to the work we do as educators.”


Richard Knoeppel —  recognition in education includes:

  • 2019 Nevada State Teacher of the Year
  • 2017 Finalist, Nevada State Teacher of the Year
  • 2014 Magnet Schools of America Region VIII Teacher of the Year
  • 2007 Clark County School District Excellence in Education Hall of Fame

Mr. Knoeppel says, “As a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher, I firmly believe that I need to provide my students with the knowledge and skills they will need to thrive in the future.  I want to provide them with the ability to be successful in jobs and careers that haven’t been thought of yet.”


Dr. Mary Jo Murray— awards include:

  • 2009 Secondary Math Teacher of the Year Finalist, Palm Beach Teachers of Math
  • 2002 Secondary Math Teacher of the Year for Dade County
  • 2001 National Board Certification 

Dr. Murray says that that the teaching tools that she has honed are basic—break down skills, encourage proper practice, reward effort, praise abundantly ask pertinent questions during discovery, show enthusiasm, acknowledge individual differences, and include everyone.


Dyane Smokorowski — recognitions:

  • 2015 Dolly Parton Foundation Chasing Rainbows Award
  • 2014 Lowell Milken Center of Unsung Heroes Fellow
  • 2014 Skype Master Teacher
  • 2013 Kansas State Teacher of the Year
  • 2009 Top 20 to Watch in Education for the Next 20 Years (NSBA)
  • 2009 Inspiring Educator Award (Intel Corporation)

Mrs. Smokorowski (“Ms. Smoke”) believes that a teacher’s role is to love first and teach second and that teachers never stop learning alongside their students.


New Names Added to Fallen Educator Memorial

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A work crew from Evergreen Design Build in Emporia today installed a new granite tablet at the National Memorial to Fallen Educators in advance of next week

Campus Buzz from President Allison Garrett

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Top Award Congratulations to Brianna Schmitz, who was named Emporia State

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Three paintings by former Emporia State professor Rex Hall are being auctioned to support the Rex and Ann Hall Family Art Scholarship at the ESU Foundation. The auction began May 29 and closes June 19.

Summer Theatre Opens 65th Season with Gurney’s Charming Memory Play

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The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation recently announced The Teachers College at Emporia State University is one of 42 providers from 23 states and the District of Columbia to receive accreditation for its educator preparation programs.

ESU Alumni Honors Key Volunteers

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Salvage Operation Benefits Nonprofits, ESU

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Part of 15th Avenue Closes

May 22, 2019

Blame the wet weather for closing part of 15th Avenue on the Emporia State campus earlier than planned. The street will close between Silent Joe and the southwest corner of Welch Stadium beginning Thursday, May 23.

Eight Students Honored for Scholarships to Emporia State

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Summer Theatre Returns for 65th Season

May 20, 2019

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Campus Buzz from President Allison D. Garrett

May 16, 2019

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Work Set to Begin on Second Phase of Residence Hall Master Plan

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