2015 Kansas
Master Teachers

Carmen Cantrell

Special Education Teacher
USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Barbara Clark

Fourth-Grade Teacher
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Kori E. Green

Eighth-Grade U.S. History Teacher
USD 490 El Dorado

Leslie McAfee

Mathematics Teacher
USD 203 Piper

Bill McFarland

Seventh-Grade Social Studies Teacher
USD 437 Auburn Washburn

Reed Uthe

Speech & Drama Teacher
USD 229 Blue Valley

Ginger Whiteside Steck

Art Teacher, 6th-8th Grades
USD 385 Andover

Kansas Master Teacher Award

2015 Kansas Master Teacher

Bill McFarland

2015 Kansas Master Teacher

Seventh-Grade Social Studies Teacher
Washburn Rural Middle School
USD 437 Auburn Washburn


After nearly 40 years in the classroom, Bill McFarland has a concise teaching philosophy. “In a nutshell,” he wrote, “my philosophy of teaching is know your stuff, be enthusiastic, treat everyone with respect, be flexible and have fun.”

And McFarland is committed to sharing his philosophy and experience with future teachers. He has supervised more than a dozen student teachers and scores of education majors have observed his classroom. “I have learned from great educators and hope to pass on the very best I have to offer,” states McFarland.

McFarland earned a bachelor’s degree in history and education from Washburn University in 1977 and a master’s degree in educational administration from Emporia State University in 1986. His entire career has been in the Auburn Washburn school district, teaching at Auburn Junior High, Auburn Middle School and Jay Shideler Middle School before moving to Washburn Rural Middle School in 1990. He teaches seventh-grade Kansas history and geography. He is a former football coach and currently is a wrestling coach.

Parents and former students tell of McFarland’s ability to bring history alive in class. A Civil War re-enactor, McFarland wears his uniform to class and brings in relics to share.

“He knows more about history than anyone I know,” wrote a former student. “He uses this tremendous knowledge to enhance his teaching. He does not just teach the basics, but he includes incredible stories and pictures.”

Many of these stories come from McFarland’s dedication to research. During his summers, he spends time at the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields in the eastern United States.

Some of McFarland’s students create projects for History Day competition even after they leave his class.
“Last year at National History Day in Washington, D.C., he surprised me by coming to watch my presentation,” a former student wrote.

McFarland’s love of history and sharing it with others extends beyond the classroom. Author of the book Keep the Flag to the Front, History of the 8th Kansas Volunteer Infantry, McFarland is a frequent guest at civic organizations and other classrooms besides his own.

“Mr. McFarland has touched the hearts and minds of countless students. … My life has been enhanced on an academic and personal level due to Mr. McFarland’s passion, devotion and love for history and teaching,” writes a former student.

“I am so honored to have had him as a teacher.”