The Teachers College Annual Honors Banquet

May 3, 2019

The Teachers College Honors Students, Retiring Faculty at End-of-Year Banquet

Nearly 80 people were recognized at The Teachers College 35th Annual Honors Banquet held the evening of May 3.

Seventy-five students and four retiring members of the college received special recognition. Twenty-three received outstanding student awards and 52 students were honored for achievement of a 3.8 grade point average or higher.

Undergraduate and graduate students were honored for excellence in their respective departments. Nine students received outstanding undergraduate student awards and 14 students received outstanding graduate student awards.

The four retiring members of The Teachers College recognized included Dr. Ken Weaver, Dean of The Teachers College, and retiring faculty members Dr. James Costello, Dr. Deb Larson, and Dr. Nancy Smith.

Download the program from the event.

The students honored included:

Robert W. Lyles
North Newton

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Athletic Training

Robert W. Lyles has shown the exceptional ability to achieve academic success while maintaining dedication to clinical rotations, professional involvement and community service while studying at ESU. Lyle was counted on by his classmates to know the answers to questions, and usually answers them with ease, and is active in professional organizations.Upon completing his degree, he plans to begin academic preparation to become a doctor of physical therapy.


Olivia Jacoby

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Elementary Teacher Education

Olivia Jacoby brings out the best in everyone and makes her peers want to be better. As a young child, she was told by teachers she would not amount to much or be successful. Throughout her college career, she has proved those teachers wrong. Her future goals revolve around giving children the encouragement and inspiration that she did not receive as a child. Olivia has accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher in Maize, KS.


Alisha Henery

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Health Education

Alisha Henery has shown her passion for health education from day one. Her academic work is exemplary; she has participated in professional organizations and multiple service projects; and she has demonstrated a high level of professionalism in leadership positions. Alisha’s dual interest in Earth Science and Health has been a great pairing for her future career and she has accepted a teaching position at Emporia Middle School.


Gabriela Amparan

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Health Promotion

Gabriela Amparan doesn’t just set the bar, she holds it up with her arms extended and inspires everyone around her to try to reach that high! Gaby has been involved on campus as an Ambassador, an active member of HPER Club and an enthusiastic participant in all of the service learning projects required through her coursework. Gaby’s vitality and impressive work ethic will lead her to a successful career as a secondary English teacher, coach and health profession.


Kyler Akagi

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Middle & Secondary Teacher Education

Kyler Akagi has outdistanced his peers in his work ethic, his skill in the classroom, and his skill in leadership. He assumes responsibility by coming to school prepared, communicates well, and excels at classroom management. In addition, Kyler was a true leader in Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity, the Interdisciplinary Secondary Education Alliance, and SPURS and Phi Eta Sigma honors societies. Kyler just accepted a social studies teaching position at Junction City Middle School.


Mallory Case

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Physical Education

Mallory Case ambitiously assumed multiple roles during her time as a student, such as, HPER club Vice President, presenting at the KAHPERD State conference, and organizing/facilitating the annual field day. In the classroom, she actively engages students in a variety of instructional styles and her classroom environment is warm and inviting. Mallory plans to teach physical education in a middle or high school in the Manhattan area.


Madison Orton

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Psychology

Madison Orton was unable to attend the banquet. We congratulate her on her academic achievement.


Justin C. Broyles

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Recreation

Justin C. Broyles is a model citizen, displays a strong work ethic, and has served in a variety of leadership positions at ESU. A member of the ESU men’s track and field team for three years, he still found time to be involved in numerous other campus, community and professional organizations, as well as working to support his education. Justin will graduate in August and begin two years of service with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.


Emily Henderson

Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Rehabilitation Services Education

Emily Henderson, Emporia, KS, is an excellent example of the outstanding personal and professional dispositions related to counseling and human services. She demonstrates exceptional focus and desire to learn and excel, as well as maintaining positive professional and social relationships with peers and faculty. We are very proud to have her continue her academic preparation at ESU seeking a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.


Amy Huxtable
Ottawa, KS

Outstanding Graduate Award in Art Therapy

Amy Huxtable is an eager learner, motivated scholar, and an exceptional writer. Her academic work, including her academic writing, is outstanding. During her internship in an acute-care hospital for adolescents, Amy demonstrated a relaxed, flexible approach with the ever-changing population. Amy's academic skills are matched only by her visual art skills; faculty envision Amy having multiple exciting career paths from which to choose.


Timothy Aspleaf
Overland Park

Outstanding Graduate Award in Clinical Counseling

Timothy Aspleaf exemplifies academic work that is timely, thorough, and of high quality. He implements the material and self-actualizes, taking the lead with peers and other interns. Tim’s leadership and responsibility made him a model graduate student in the department. Tim is presently a Targeted Case Manager at CrossWinds Counseling and Wellness in Emporia. He is considering private and community-based counseling for future employment.


Anna Wray

Outstanding Graduate Award in Clinical Psychology

Anna Wray has excelled in every one of her many roles as a graduate student. As a GTA, she taught both on-line and face-to-face classes, challenging her students to explore concepts more deeply. Not surprisingly, she received outstanding feedback from her students every semester. Anna hopes obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, using that knowledge to help individuals grow and develop through counseling, research, and teaching at the university level.


Kimberly Nguyen
Oklahoma City, OK

Outstanding Graduate Award Counselor Education Dual Degree

Kimberly Nguyen is a leader in the classroom and a tireless advocate for marginalized populations. As president of the Student Art therapy Organization, she underscored the role of the arts and art therapists in social justice work. Kim is considering doctoral studies as she plans to continue advocating and educating for greater access to mental health by marginalized populations, particularly Vietnamese Americans.


Aaron Dean

Outstanding Graduate Award in Curriculum and Instruction

Aaron Dean was unable to attend the banquet. We congratulate him on his academic achievement.


Brandi Mitchell

Outstanding Graduate Award in Educational Administration

Brandi Mitchell actively collaborates with others, builds positive relationships, and effectively leads staff, students, and families. Recognized by her district as someone with leadership potential, Brandi has been serving as an administrative intern while completing her graduate coursework. Upon receiving her building level license, Brandi will transition into the official role of Assistant Principal at Village Elementary School in Emporia, with aspirations of becoming a principal.


Antonio Diaz Perez

Outstanding Graduate Award in Health, Physical Education & Recreation

Antonio Diaz Perez shows intense curiosity for academic content matter and impressive attention to detail. He was highly engaged during class discussions and group projects and stood out as the leader among other students taking these classes. He truly showed initiative in learning the course content, and consistently went above and beyond the course requirements. Antonio plans to use this degree to work in an educational or corporate setting.


Alexandria Klema
Windsor, CO

Outstanding Graduate Award in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Alexandria Klema is a capable leader, an exceptional teacher, and an accomplished researcher. She has had full responsibility for teaching classes of Introductory Psychology, and at her request taught a special topics course, Moral Psychology. Alex swept the graduate research award categories in the regional psychology student research conference this year. She is pursuing an organizational development career, with the goal of improving employee well being.


Lynelle Johnson

Outstanding Graduate Award in Instructional Specialist: Reading Specialist

Lynelle Johnson demonstrates attention to detail, interest in learning from others in online collaboration, and thorough understanding of reading diagnosis and the instructional needs of students. As a result of her graduate action research project, Lynelle noted improvement by her students on the third grade English Language Arts Standard. Lynelle is a third-grade teacher at Rolling Ridge Elementary School in the Olathe School District.


Misty Taylor

Outstanding Graduate Award - Master of Education in Teaching

Misty Taylor displays a level of productivity and a quick grasp of technology that caused her to become a leader and mentor amongst her classmates. As a graduate teaching assistant, Misty was dependable, trustworthy, and a problem solver who could troubleshoot and anticipate possible solutions. After graduation she will start a new position as the Instructional Technologies & Academic Support Coordinator at WSU Tech Community College.


Anthony Lane

Outstanding Graduate Award in Master of Education in Teaching

Anthony Lane is until to attend tonight’s banquet as today is the due date for his new baby. We offer our congratulations on his academic achievement and best wishes for the safe arrival of this new addition to his family.


Emily K. Schoenfeld

Outstanding Graduate Award in School Psychology

Emily K. Schoenfeld consistently demonstrated academic excellence through her course work and completed program requirements responsibly and with complete integrity. Her engagement and leadership in numerous campus, community, and professional organizations reflects her commitment to service. Her actions both in and outside of the classroom reflect respect and kindness toward others, and she will begin her career in school psychology in Fall 2019.

Quin Showalter

Outstanding Graduate Award in Special Education/Gifted, Talented & Creative

Quin Showalter, Shawnee, KS, works to achieve her personal best as a graduate student and gifted facilitator. As a former middle school science teacher, now gifted facilitator, she uses differentiation strategies for content, process, and product to support student growth. As a graduate student, Quin researched assignments deeply to ensure maximum learning and gain competencies. Quin is currently in her fourth year as a gifted facilitator for two middle schools in the suburban Kansas City area. 

Alyssa Reed

Outstanding Graduate Award in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Alyssa Reed always shows exceptional responsibility and diligence as a student. Alyssa exhibits remarkable openness to and acceptance of multilingual and multicultural students, as well as new ways of teaching these students. She has demonstrated this in her coursework, particularly in her practicum teaching. She currently works at Wichita State University as an International Student Advisor, but looks forward to getting back in the classroom to teach English to adults.


Student Research Awards

As a way of encouraging student interest in searching for new information, The Teachers College annually offers awards to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels who demonstrate an interest and competence in conducting research. One undergraduate and one graduate research project are being awarded this year.

The 2019 Undergraduate Research Award goes to:

Theodore J. Wheeler, Olathe, KS,
for his research project titled, “Undergraduate Leadership Training, Justification of Action,
and Perceptions of Self-Morality.” Ted is majoring in Psychology and Sociology and the faculty sponsor for his research project was Dr. Cathy Grover.

The 2019 Graduate Research Award goes to:

Joshua S. Key, Nassau, Bahamas,
for his research project titled, “Learning Analytics and Student Success: Ensuring all Learners Have a Chance at Success.” Joshua is a graduate student in the Department of Instructional Design and Technology. The faculty sponsor for his research project was Dr. Dabae Lee.

Honored Students

The following 52 undergraduate students were recognized for a cumulative grade point average of 3.8 or higher.

These students are due to graduate or have graduated in December 2018, May 2019 or August 2019:

Out of state:

Lakeville, MN – Lori Ahuja



Allen – Christianne Parks (not in attendance)

Andover – Olivia Jacoby

Assaria – Paige Droge (not in attendance)

Augusta – Megan Garr (not in attendance)

Baldwin City – Madison Rickey (not in attendance)

Basehor – Abraham Ruffcorn

Bennington – Jenna Gantenbein

Clay Center – Audrey Keim (not in attendance)

Colby – Danielle Foster (not in attendance)

Cottonwood Falls – Emma Griem

Derby – Anna Mahoney (not in attendance)

Emporia – Kayla Ayer (not in attendance), Aubrey Klaassen (not in attendance), Xinwei Liu (not in attendance), Paige Nurnberg (not in attendance), Shelby Pedersen (not in attendance), Rylie Sebring (not in attendance), Hannah Turner (not in attendance)

Goddard – Abigail Garcia (not in attendance)

Haysville – Madison Taylor (not in attendance)

Hillsboro – Allison Weber (not in attendance)

Holton – Kyrstie Miller (not in attendance)

Kansas City – Hannah Baughman (not in attendance)

Leawood – Jennifer Foster (not in attendance)

Lebo – Alexa Thomas (not in attendance)

Lenexa – Kyler Akagi

Louisburg – Wyatt Sander (not in attendance)

Olathe –

Breanna Koehn

Judith Rowden

Ashley Weigand

Alexandria Zuel

Olpe – Krista Vogts (not in attendance)

Osawatomie – Amanda Crouch (not in attendance)

Ottawa – Amanda Leadbetter (not in attendance)

Overland Park –

Megan Frakes

Shayna Towle (not in attendance)

Saint Marys – Maria Moylan (not in attendance)

Shawnee – Aaron Geise

Silver Lake – Ashley Womack (not in attendance)

Spring Hill – Hailey Hilgendorf (not in attendance)

Sterling – Henry Weiner

Tonganoxie – Bonnie Monahan

Towanda – Anita Hinnen (not in attendance)

Wichita –

Madison Daily (not in attendance)

Brett Gile

Kelsey Graber (not in attendance)

Shelby Marten

Holly Miles (not in attendance), Madison Orton (not in attendance), Paul Reichenberger (not in attendance), Ashton Taylor (not in attendance)

Honored Faculty

The individuals recognized for their service to the university as they retire this year were: 

Dr. James Costello, Associate Professor - Counselor Education, earned his doctorate in Rehabilitation Services from the Florida State University in 1999. He also earned a B.S. and M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1976 and 1981 respectively. Dr. Costello holds a national certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). He has been teaching at ESU since 2000, and has published on topics including Psychopharmacology, Addiction Treatment Programs; and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Most recently, he taught a variety of courses in both the graduate and undergraduate programs. 

Dr. Deborah Larson, Associate Professor - Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education, joined the faculty of Emporia State University in 2008. She earned her bachelors in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood from Washburn University and her masters and doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in reading from Kansas State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Emporia State, she served as a Kindergarten teacher and reading specialist for USD 450 Shawnee Heights in Topeka, KS for nearly 30 years. Deb has supervised numerous elementary education interns, as well as taught both undergraduate and graduate coursework. Her primary teaching focus has been preparing elementary educators in the areas for language arts and reading.

Dr. Nancy Smith, Professor - Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education, joined the faculty in 1994. She earned her bachelor and master of science in education from Central Missouri State University and her doctorate in elementary education with a focus in mathematics education and human development and family studies from the University of Missouri. Nancy spent the first 14 years of her career as a 6th grade teacher in the Richmond, Missouri School District and as a Learning Specialist in Columbia Missouri. As a faculty member at ESU, Nancy taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses and served as the PDS Coordinator in several Emporia, Olathe and Kansas City Schools. Nancy supervised and had a significant impact on countless future elementary education teachers. She played a key role in coordinating the ESU-Kansas City elementary education site location and been an amazing advocate for The Teachers College in that region.  Most recently, Nancy represented the college on the TEACH-KC initiative. Further, Nancy took a lead role in developing Hornet Connected Learning, a program initiative that was designed to prepare elementary education candidates to teach using a one-to-one design, as well as being able to use technology as a resource for teaching and assessment.

Dr. Kenneth A. Weaver, Dean of The Teachers College, was awarded a special proclamation from President Allison Garrett for his 33 years of dedication to ESU. Ken joined The Teachers College faculty in fall 1986 as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Special Education. He was awarded full professor status in 1998. Ken earned his bachelors in biology from the University of South Carolina-Columbia. Following graduation, Ken joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in the Philippines in rural public health education. Upon returning to the states, Ken earned his master’s in secondary science education from the University of South Carolina-Columbia. He taught middle school science and coached for five years in Aiken, South Carolina.

He returned to school to earn his masters of arts in educational psychology and a masters of philosophy in education psychology: human cognition and learning from Columbia University in New York. He then earned his doctorate in education psychology: human cognition and learning from Columbia University.

At Emporia State University, Ken taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Psychology. He is a recognized Roe R. Cross professor and has served as Director of the Honors program and as Chair of Psychology. Ken was the Director of the Secondary Education Psychology program for 16 years before becoming the Associate Dean of The Teachers College. Ken assumed the role of Dean in June 2012.
Throughout his tenure at Emporia State, Ken has continued to teach a statistics course. Former students describe Ken as a professor who maintained high expectations in his classroom, while being their strongest cheerleader in guiding them to success. Ken has many presentations, publications and grants. He is a well-respected leader; he was charged by the Kansas Commissioner of Education to lead a task force in preparing a report focused on potential solutions for the teacher shortage in the state of Kansas. Ken was an inaugural member of the American Psychological Association Education Directorate Teaching and Learning Round Table, an external reviewer for psychological journals and President of the Southwester Psychological Association, as well as other leadership positions too numerous to mention.

Ken has received many awards, including The Teachers College instruction, scholarly activity and service awards, Psi Chi Midwestern Regional Faculty Advisor Award, Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Teaching of Psychology and Ingram’s Icon of Education Award. As Dean, Ken has established himself as a leader in education. His initiatives included establishing Hornet Connected Learning, which is designed to prepare future educators to implement technology into P-12 classrooms, and growing the International Student Teaching opportunities for candidates. To date, The Teachers College has placed student teachers in Finland, Denmark, Paraguay and Indonesia. Plans are in the works for many additional locations. Further, Ken was instrumental in helping to obtain the largest gift in the University’s history, which has led to the creation of the Kansas Masonic Literacy Center and the Mobilizing Literacy program.