2004 Kansas
Master Teachers

Mary Elizabeth Baker

K-5 Reading Specialist
USD 385 Andover

Luana "Lu" Bitter

Physical Education, Health, Anatomy & Physiology
USD 382 Pratt

Patricia Grzenda

Adaptive Physical Education
USD 497 Lawrence

Nicki Hancock

Grade 12 English
USD 233 Olathe

Greg Mittman**

Eighth Grade Social Studies
USD 262 Valley Center

Devra Parker**

English III, College English and Creative Writing
USD 254 Barber County

Patricia "Trish" Weidert

First Grade
USD 253 Emporia



William Samuelson*

Emporia State University

Kansas Master Teacher Award

Greg Mittman

Greg Mittman

2004 Kansas Master Teacher

Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher
Valley Center Middle School
USD 262 Valley Center

visit all 2004 winners


Teaching Philosophy

"I believe that learning must be fun and classrooms must be safe places for all students to learn both physically and emotionally.  Teachers create safe environments by being prepared to teach.  They must know their subject matter, be able to present information, and be able to manage a classroom.  Effective teachers do not just consider what they are teaching but also how they will teach it to a room of students with various abilities and needs.  Teachers must walk that fine line between being consistent and being compassionate.  To apply universal truths to every situation is a recipe for classroom disaster.  Treating students fairly does not mean treating them the same.  It means treating them according to their individual needs.  I believe that an outstanding teacher must be able to visualize where he or she wants their students to be and be willing to work with each child to help get them there.  My greatest reward in teaching comes after helping a student, thought by others to be incapable, rise to a challenge and be recognized for his/her accomplishment." 

Students in Mr. Mittman's social studies classes learn about the world by experiencing it first hand.  In the classroom, students re-create historic battles, court trials, and hypothetical city governments.  Outside the
classroom, they have traveled with Mr. Mittman to historic sites in Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, England, and Germany.

Honors and Awards

Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalist - 2004
Kansas Teacher of the Year - Region IV (Secondary) - 2004
Valley Center USD 262 Teacher of the Year - 2003
Valley Center Middle School Teacher of the Year - 2003
Army National Guard Officer Candidate School
Region F Instructor of the Cycle Award - 2001
Major, Army National Guard

What People Say

Vivian Leupp, a colleague writes, "From the first time I met Greg Mittman, I was aware that this was a dedicated, unusual educator.  Seven years have passed since that meeting and I have witnessed the growth of an outstanding person who respects students, who enjoys the classroom, who invites questions, who challenges minds, who welcomes change, who embraces new ideas, and who exemplifies the definition of a professional educator."

Eighth grade student, Kylee Babb writes, "I really enjoy the simulations we have been working on this year, for example:  the Indian vs. white man simulation.  We picked our own Indian tribe names, we signed treaties to gain wealth points to keep our individual tribes alive.  Once we signed the treaties the white man (Mr. Mittman) took away our land a little piece at a time until the whole class had about 10 feet of space to share.  If anyone crossed the line the tribe would get attacked.  He was really enjoying all the rest of the space that he had to himself and, of course, he had to give the class a hard time.  It was very interesting, but it was so much fun."

Another eighth grade student, Deanna Patterson writes, "Hooah is a word Mr. Mittman uses everyday after we take our review quiz.  It means anything you want.  It could mean do you understand or let's get fired up.  They usually use 'Hooah' in the National Guard.  Mr. Mittman also works there.  He may be in the National Guard and have his own personal life, but he is dedicated to his work here at the school too.  Mr. Mittman makes it easy so we can understand.  The way we take notes makes it easy for us to learn new things.  It keeps our attention.  The simulations we do are fun.  He teaches us . . .  how it was for people back in the 1800's.  It may be rough and hard work but he always makes it fun somehow.  Mr. Mittman is enjoyable.  That's what he does best.