2018 Kansas
Master Teachers

Connstance Allmond

High Incident/Intellectual Disability Teacher
USD 490 El Dorado

Deanna K. Burton

Social Studies Teacher
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Abby Cornelius

Library Media Specialist
USD 229 Blue Valley

Todd Flory

Fourth-Grade Teacher
USD 385 Andover

Chitra Harris

Science Teacher
USD 259 Wichita

Matthew Irby

Science Teacher
USD 253 Emporia

Kimberly S. Schneweis

Visual Art Teacher
USD 489 Hays

Kansas Master Teacher Award



Abby Cornelius

2018 Kansas Master Teacher

Library Media Specialist
Blue Valley North High School
USD 229 Blue Valley


“More goats, fewer sheep,” is the teaching philosophy of Abby Cornelius.

She explains the education system can create a culture where students are told what to do, how to do it, to keep their heads down, and follow the herd – like sheep. She wants them to be a different animal altogether, “Goats wander around investigating for food and climbing atop their shelter, they interact with the world by exhibiting natural curiosity, and they have pokey horns that they use to touch and challenge things and others.”

As a library media specialist, Cornelius embodies that interactivity and spirit of adventure.

Taking three groups of students who may not otherwise interact, Cornelius had them work together to create super-powered characters called ‘plushies.’ “With one project, she was able to empower students with disabilities, transform the way our achievement-driven students viewed success, and facilitate empathy-building between students who might not have spoken to one another within our four walls.”

“Her library is a beehive of activity,” writes a parent. “It is the very heart and soul of our school, filled to the rafters at all hours of the day where kids experiment, develop, and create.” In 2009, her efforts earned Blue Valley North the American Association of School Libraries’ National School Library Media Program of the Year Award.

Cornelius began her career in 2001 as a seventh-grade math teacher in Grandview, Missouri after completing a bachelor’s degree in math and secondary education from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2004, she earned a master’s in library science from Emporia State University and joined Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park as a library media specialist in 2006. In 2008, she became a nationally board certified teacher, which she renewed in 2017. In 2011, Cornelius earned a second master’s degree from Emporia State in instructional design and technology.

“I have come to learn that Abby is truly a superhero,” writes a colleague. “I am constantly in awe of her energy, her work ethic, and her relentless commitment to ensure all learners succeed.”