1999 Kansas
Master Teachers

Michelle DiLisio**

Physical Education Teacher
USD 413 Chanute

Mary Hemphill

Elementary Art Teacher
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Judy Humburg**

Fifth Grade Teacher
USD 385 Andover

Mary Porterfield

Spanish/Business Teacher
USD 352 Goodland

Linda Stelzer

Sixth Grade Reading Teacher
USD 382 Pratt

Phillip Theis

Microbology Teacher
Butler County Community College

Curt Vajnar

Agricultural Science/Driver's Education Teacher
USD 489 Hays

Andy Tompkins

Kansas Department of Education

Kansas Master Teacher Award

Linda Stelzer

Linda Stelzer

1999 Kansas Master Teacher

Sixth Grade Reading Teacher
Liberty Middle School
USD 382, Pratt

visit all 1999 winners

Teaching Philosophy

"My quest is to change reading attitudes by taking the reading process and adding a special twist that no other has attempted.  I provide opportunities that might possibly open those doors, in which, students can learn to value reading as a source of information and knowledge, believe that it can help them do well in school and everyday life, and use reading to solve problems and develop insights . . . I believe positive reading attitudes will give young people a better chance of getting where they want to be.  When one reads and reads well, everything falls into place.  Reading opens doors and provides the foundation for every success to come in life." 

Career Highlights

Stelzer uses props and costumes to aid her students in their quest to become better readers.  A favorite spot in her classroom is a bathtub filled with pillows in which students read and listen to stories being read to them.  Other favorite classroom reading spots include a swing, in or under a treehouse, and on a video rocker.

Stelzer and another teacher started the Liberty Science Club with a grant for Extended Science Projects (ESP).  The club has been so successful that an exploratory ESP class has been developed in response to student interest.Stelzer was one of several teachers who worked during the summer to revise the reading curriculum guidelines for sixth-grade students at Liberty Middle School.

What People Say

"Over the past six years, I have become familiar with Linda Stelzer in her roles as a teacher, a parent, and as a 4-H leader.   One of our first encounters was on a project to clean up the creek in Lemon Park.   Without hesitation, Linda waded in waist deep in murky water to help clean up the creek.  She not only gave direction to the student teams but also actively helped pull tires, branches, and other debris from the water . . . Finally, I once was asked by Ms. Stelzer to speak to a group of 4-H members in the Coats area.  Since that meeting, I have been impressed with one key driving force:  that Linda Stelzer's desire to help young people understand their responsibility to be leaders in service to their community and country."

State Rep. Dennis McKinney

"Linda Stelzer is just an outstanding individual.  Her enthusiasm and care touch everyone she is around for each student.  It is my wish for my child some day to have a teacher just like her.   She is a quality teacher, community member, and person.  She is very deserving of your award, and I could not recommend her more highly."  Heather Jones, former student"I have known Linda Stelzer since I was in the sixth grade at Liberty Middle School . . . She was one of the best teachers I ever had, and she truly motivated me to do well in school and follow my dreams.   Because of the acute interest in science and analytical thinking which Mrs. Stelzer helped to foster within me, I went on to study engineering and business in college and later became a lawyer." 

Thomas V. Black, Pratt County Attorney