2014 Kansas
Master Teachers

Bonnie Austin

Secondary Instructional Coach
USD 443 Dodge City

John V. Bode

Third-Grade Teacher
USD 497 Lawrence

Lori Gunzelman

Seventh-Grade Math Teacher
USD 385 Andover

Signe Truelove

Special Education Teacher
USD 253 Emporia

Carla Varner

Fifth-Grade Teacher
USD 490 El Dorado

Kathleen Wilhite

Retired Math Teacher
USD 233 Olathe

Maria Worthington

English Language Arts teacher
USD 229 Blue Valley

Kansas Master Teacher Award

Signe Truelove

Signe Truelove

2014 Kansas Master Teacher

Special Education Teacher
Emporia Middle School
USD 253 Emporia


Special education teacher Signe Truelove is the go-to person at Emporia Middle School.

“Students wanted to be in her class; teachers wanted her on their team,” recalled a former administrator with 35 years experience in public education. “She is the kind of person I wanted my kids to have as a teacher; she is the kind of person I hope my grandkids have as a teacher.”

That sentiment is echoed by a colleague, herself a special education teacher, whose son was in Truelove’s classroom.

“There is one thing to know a colleague from a work standpoint but you find out about an individual’s true teaching skills when you have a child of your own in their class,” she wrote. “She took the time to educate other teachers about his specific behaviors and help them develop plans to deal efficiently with them so that he could be successful in their classrooms. She made my son feel like he was ‘worth’ her effort!”

Truelove earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Emporia State University in 1993 with certifications in English for speakers of other languages, learning disabilities, American history, geography, political science/government and world history. She earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 2002 and a English for speakers of other languages from Kansas State University in 2006.

She has been a special education teacher at Emporia Middle School since 1999. At the middle school, Truelove maintains her own special education classroom, co-teaches in other classrooms and also teaches an intensive reading class.

“Ms. Truelove has always encouraged me to read more books and also pushed me to finish the books I have started,” wrote one student.

Wrote another: “She pushed me and took time out of her life to help me find that reading is not all bad as long as you have the right book. She personally found books for me to read all through the two years that I attended middle school.”

In the former EMS Transition Room, Truelove’s students worked on numerous community service projects including making and packaging lip balm to send to soldiers; making valentines and thank-you cards for veterans, cards for New York City firefighters and buttons for parents of Emporia High School football players.

Outside the school, Truelove’s community involvement includes participating in Relay for Life and serving as a youth mentor for former students.

For Truelove, developing relationships with her students is key to their success.

“Research shows that strong correlations exist between student achievement and positive relationships,” Truelove said. “By creating a classroom environment with mutual respect and cooperation, I have formed strong relationships with students that have lasted beyond high school.”

Students and parents both recognize Truelove’s genuineness.

Wrote one parent, “Our son was able to succeed in academics, sports and develop high self-esteem and motivation because of the excellence that Ms. Truelove gave in middle school that then grew and cultivated in high school.”

A former student planning to be a special education teacher said, “I know for a fact that I would not be attending college today if it was not for her. She is the kind of teacher I want to become myself.”