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

Reed Uthe

2015 Kansas Master Teacher

Speech & Drama Teacher
Lakewood Elementary School
USD 229 Blue Valley


As a young child, Reed Uthe delighted in coming home from elementary school and teaching his sister and neighbor children what he'd learned that day. As an adult, now teaching in the Blue Valley school district, he glories in reaching a much broader audience of students.

Uthe graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in elementary education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He taught in elementary schools in South Dakota before moving in 2000 to teach third grade at Valley Park Elementary School in the Blue Valley district. Since 2002, he has taught speech and drama at Lakewood Middle School in Overland Park, Kansas.

He earned a master’s of education degree in 2006 from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.

Parents and students who wrote in support of Uthe's nomination praised his teaching skills, his dedication to students in and out of the classroom, and his encouragement that inspires students to do their best.

“Reed Uthe has a great sense of humor,” a former student wrote, “but more than that he has a real heart for how he treats his students.”

That student, who recently graduated with a degree in elementary education, credited Uthe as her inspiration for choosing a teaching career.

“He didn't just make me want to get a teaching degree; he made me want to create a classroom where kids feel comfortable and happy growing and learning for a year,” she said.

Another student said Uthe had introduced her to the world of theatre, the one place she felt she truly belonged.

“Mr. Uthe truly cares for his students,” she said. “He opened his classroom after school for those who needed a place. ... He made the school a second home, something I didn't think possible.”

A trio of current Lakewood students wrote in joint support, “He creates an environment in which every student feels they can thrive and be themselves.”

The mother of three former students appreciated Uthe's innate ability to connect with students no matter how diverse their personalities, backgrounds or experience.

“Somehow that dear man reaches every single one. He is like a middle-schooler whisperer. He has a sixth sense about how to instill confidence and security in his students,” she wrote. “He is the sort of teacher you thank God your child had.”