Special Education Teacher
USD 512 Shawnee Mission
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden
Eighth-Grade U.S. History Teacher
USD 490 El Dorado
USD 203 Piper
Seventh-Grade Social Studies Teacher
USD 437 Auburn Washburn
Speech & Drama Teacher
USD 229 Blue Valley
Art Teacher, 6th-8th Grades
USD 385 Andover
Kansas Master Teacher Award
Ginger Whiteside Steck
2015 Kansas Master Teacher
Art Teacher, 6th-8th Grades
Ginger Whiteside Steck incorporates her love of art and science into memorable experiences for students at Andover Central Middle School. The subjects “overlap and allow me to develop art projects that integrate science and correspond to the school curriculum,” she said, in a written explanation of her philosophy of teaching.
Steck received a bachelor’s of science in art education from Central Missouri University in 1980, certification in middle school science grades 5-9 from Wichita State University in 1999, and a master’s of art education with an emphasis in science from WSU in 2001.
She began teaching in Missouri schools in 1980, later moving to Kansas. After staying home with her children, she returned to teaching in 1999 at Anderson Elementary in Wichita and joined the Andover school district in 2000, teaching at Meadowlark Elementary for 11 years before moving to Andover Central Middle School in 2011.
Mathematics, foreign cultures and art history also work their way into Steck's art classes.
Students test the properties of paper used in three-dimensional projects such as origami. They learn about Chinese culture creating paper and the Japanese invention of origami as an art form.
“My children and I remembered some of the interesting techniques and unconventional materials (Steck) used in favorite projects,” a parent wrote. “... I believe these types of projects have helped my kids think out of the box when doing assignments for other classes.”
The parent praised Steck for holding “Extra Art” before and after regular classes, to allow participation for students with schedules too full for art classes during the school day. “She also has held summer art classes at our local library.” Steck advocates for her students, making sure their artwork is displayed and recognized around the community in museums, libraries, banks and competitions.
At her summer “Guinea Pig Camp,” eighth-graders try new projects that may be used in the upcoming fall session.
“This woman is hands down the best teacher I have ever had,” said an eighth-grade boy.
A former student credited Steck for guiding her to a bachelor’s of science degree in design, emphasizing interior design and architecture.
“My love for art and design was generated at an early age due to the guidance of Mrs. Steck,” the University of Nebraska graduate wrote. “She helped me realize my potential and always taught me creative variations to the design process. ... I could not have asked for a better experience and mentor in learning my true potential in art and design.”