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

Devra Parker

Devra Parker

2004 Kansas Master Teacher

English III, College English and Creative Writing
Medicine Lodge High School
USD 254 Barber County

visit all 2004 winners


Teaching Philosophy

Mrs. Parker has had the same philosophy since she stepped into her classroom 16 years ago. 

Her philosophy has five steps.  "First, I do not teach, per se.  I impart information in an honest, enthusiastic and unique fashion with the hope you will want to be in my classroom every day. . . .
Second, you will find that I offer you an opportunity to be real with yourself and with me. . . .In my classroom, on my team or in a one-on-one conversation, you will see that I accept you--no matter your inequities. . . .Third, with me, you will know you have a talent. . . . I believe that every individual can find success at some task. . . .Fourth, I will connect you to the real world and community.  As juniors, your first assignment will be to perform a random act of kindness in our community and write about what you did.  Finally, you can be assured that I will never ask more of you than you can handle, yet I will always demand your best.

Outside the classroom, Mrs. Parker reaches out to teens by coaching forensics and volleyball, and sponsoring several student organizations.  She is also active in her church and in community groups such as the city swimming pool, community disaster drills, and the Tri-Annual Memorial Peach Treaty Pageant.

Honors and Awards

1996 District Kansas Teacher of the Year
2001 Kansas Communications Teacher of the Year Finalist
1999 University of Kansas Teacher Recognition Award
2000 AEC Teacher Recognition Award--All expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.
1999 Target Teacher Scholar
2002 Kansas House of Representatives Recognition Award
2002 TASK Grant Recipient
2002 Veterans of Foreign Wars District Teacher of the Year Nominee
2002 Harry Singer Foundation Essay Award Finalist
1999 Published Poet
1992, 1995 Who's Who in America's High School Teachers
2002 Kansas Health Foundation Leadership Institute Barber County Delegate
1997, 2002 District Commencement Speaker
District Award for 5, 10, and 15 years of service

What People Say

A former student, Jeff Fluke writes, "I can't express enough how much Mrs. Parker shaped and enhanced me before I left MLHS as the student body president.  At the time, I knew she had aided in our two-time state forensics team and assisted me in achieving more than 25 medals plus numerous awards and scholarship money for various writing contests.  Now as a Sports Director and broadcaster for a chain of four radio stations, I realize she taught so much more than just writing and speaking.  The forensics coach and teacher helped mold me and so many other colleagues into confident leaders and successful human beings."

Allison Foulkrod, a student at MLHS writes, "Many students consider Mrs. Parker a friend.  We all know she will help us in almost any way she can. . . . Mrs. Parker goes beyond the role of a teacher.  She becomes a friend and mentor to nearly all of her students, and I am proud to be one of her students because I know she cares for each and every one of us."

Chris Goering, a Medicine Lodge Alumni writes, "To put it in simple terms, Devra Parker changed my life as my English teacher 10 years ago.  She made me realize that teachers care by showing me that she cared herself and therefore, turned me around from a student disinterested and disengaged in school into an exemplary student that valued education enough to choose it as a career.  Whether it is walking into her inviting classroom or the rigor and high standards which she holds students to or even the way she knows more about her students than other teachers, she stands out as someone who truly cares and is an ideal person to work with young adults for those reasons alone."