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1970 Award Winners

1970 Kansas Master Teachers

Ralph Dennis, USD 233 Olathe

John England, USD 250 Pittsburg

Gladys Kaump, USD 443 Dodge City

Thomas Kelly, Hutchinson Community Junior College

Lois Patton, USD 428 Great Bend

Albert Riedel, USD 489 Hays

Mary Ellen Sissman, USD 389 Eureka


1970 KMT Program.pdf

This program contains the names of the Master Teacher Nominees for the year listed here.

Biographies below were included in the program for the year listed here and were current as of that time.

Ralph Dennis

Social Science Teacher, Chair of Physical Education, Athletic Director

USD 233 Olathe

"He is probably the most respected teacher I know, by both students and fellow teachers."

So wrote a fellow teacher of Ralph Dennis, Social Science Teacher in the Olathe Public Schools. Similar plaudits come from others who spoke eloquently about him. "Mr. Dennis is one of the most creative and resourceful teachers with whom I have ever had the pleasure of being associated," wrote a local school administrator.

A 1948 graduate of Kansas State College at Pittsburg, Mr. Dennis has also studied at Parsons Junior College and the University of Kansas. He has served the Olathe Public Schools throughout his teaching career. In all his 22 years of teaching he has never missed a day of school because of illness. In addition to his regular teaching assignments, he has also served as assistant coach in football and basketball ( 1948-1953 ), head tennis coach, and head basketball coach from 1953 to 1969. He is presently serving as chairman of the physical education department and as athletic director of the entire school system.

He has been a K.A.Y. sponsor, F.T.A. sponsor, and is currently an assistant senior class sponsor. Mr. Dennis sponsors a student prayer group which meets on Wednesday mornings. For six years he has taught classes in the adult education program. In 1956 he organized and directed the Olathe Recreation Program and for 22 years he has served his church. He is also a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor. In the meantime he has been active in professional teaching organizations.

In 1960 Mr. Dennis was awarded the Olathe Jaycees' Outstanding Young Teacher Award. When he retired as head basketball coach in 1969, the school and community honored him a "Mr. D Night." One of Mr. Dennis' students summed up the respect and admiration which all of his friends feel for him.

"It's long been my opinion that a teacher must instill a want to learn in his students. Such a teacher is Ralph Dennis. His genuine interest in every student puts him 'one-up ' on other teachers. In short, Ralph Dennis is unique- both as a teacher and a human being."

John England


Pittsburg High School

USD 250 Pittsburg

When John England, Principal of Pittsburg High School and Roosevelt Junior High School in Pittsburg, Kansas, retires this spring after 42 years of devoted service, he hopes to have more time to spend with his six grandchildren. Those who know him can well understand this desire for more free time. His years of teaching at Colony, Newton and Pittsburg have been busy ones. As members of the Pittsburg Education Association put it: "Mr. England has devoted his life to serving the cause of education. He has continually striven for excellence for himself and others under his supervision. All school activities have been enthusiastically supported by him throughout the years. He has encouraged students to achieve high academic standards and to participate in extra-curricular activities so that both the individual and the school have benefited."

Mr. England began college in 1922 and, after intermittent years of study, received his B.A. degree from the University of Kansas in 1938. The following year he earned an M.A. degree from Stanford University. He has also studied at the University of Denver and at Kansas State College of Pittsburg. He began his teaching career as Principal of the Junior High School and the Grade School in Colony, Kansas, in 1928. In 1929 he moved to Newton, Kansas, where he served as 8th grade science teacher, Principal of Lincoln Junior High Schooi, and then Associate High School Principal until 1947 when he was named Principal of Lakeside Elementary and Junior High School in Pittsburg. He was named to his present position in 1948.

He has been active throughout his career in numerous national, state and local educational organizations and civic and church groups. He has also served as a director of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce and of the local YMCA.

Mr. England is a native of Pittsburg and began his schooling there and, therefore, has had a special interest in seeing that Pittsburg schools maintained quality programs throughout his career.

A local friend, writing on his behalf, says of Mr. England: "He is one of that kind of administrator that we sorely need in our schools, and so seldom find. He has truly been an inspirational leader. His contribution to the lives of those who have been fortunate enough to know him will live on and on."

Gladys Kaump

Director of Elementary Education

USD 443 Dodge City

Last year Gladys Kaump wanted to retire. But her superintendent, her colleagues and the Board of Education wouldn't let her. She agreed to stay through this year and now it looks as though she may be called on for at least part-time work next year.

Miss Kaump, Director of Elementary Education for the Dodge City Public Schools, was named to her position in 1948. Along with her regular supervisory and curriculum activities, she also taught elementary methods courses at the Dodge City Junior College and served as director of student teaching and sponsor of Future Teachers of America.

She received a B.S. degree in Education from the Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, in 1938 and went to Dodge City as a remedial reading and social science teacher at Central Elementary School. She also assisted with some of the major musical programs of the school. She earned an M.A. degree from Colorado State College in 1951 and has graduate credit from the University of Wisconsin, University of Colorado, University of Wyoming, University of Kansas, University of Denver and other schools.

She began her teaching career in the Riley County Schools in 1924. She has served national, state and local education organizations. Participation in the Kansas Society for Exceptional Children and the Kansas Commission for the Education of the Gifted indicate her interest in children of all ages and abilities. Civic and social organizations such as the Business and Professional Women's Club and the Soroptimist Club have also benefited from her work.

"Miss Kaump is a tower of strength and stability for our elementary teachers and our elementary principals," her superintendent wrote of her. "She is a congenial, cooperative person who is patient and understanding with students, teachers, principals and even with the superintendent."

"Miss Kaump never fails to keep in mind the children's presence as the reason for the teachers' and the schools' existence, a perspective that seems unique and precisely correct," another writes. Another said, "Miss Kaump reflects dignity, excellence and honor. She acts as a 'reconciling power' between individual rights and responsibility, freedom and authority, the present and the future. Miss Kaump is a master teacher. Miss Kaump is beautiful."

Thomas Kelly

Debate Coach

Hutchinson Community Junior College

In his years of coaching debate at Hutchinson Community Junior College Thomas P. Kelly's teams compiled a record of 2,622 wins and only 819 losses. College debators from colleges and universities throughout the country have come to respect and admire Mr. Kelly's teams. The debate program at the college has earned enough respect that some 20 major schools sent teams to the Hutchinson Invitational Debate Tournament in March.

"The record of Tom Kelly is probably unmatched in an education specialty anywhere and especially in the field of speech and forensics," a colleague writes. In 12 of 15 years, the debate teams of HCJC have won the national Phi Rho Pi title. The juco won the national Sweepstakes trophy seven times in 15 years and placed second in another.

Mr. Kelly, a 1930 graduate of Kansas State College of Pittsburg, also has earned graduate credit from the University of Missouri, Denver University, Northwestern University and Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia. He has an M.S. degree from Pittsburg which he earned in 1938.

He began his career at Minden Mines, Missouri, where he was Principal, debate coach, athletic coach, play director and a teacher of social science. He moved to West Mineral, Kansas, in 1937, to Lamar, Missouri, in 1938, to Russell, Kansas, in 1945 and to Hutchinson High School in 1947. In 1951 he was named Director of Forensics and Debate at HCJC. He retired as Debate Coach in 1967 but has continued to teach in the department.

Mr. Kelly was the National President of Phi Rho Pi, the national junior college forensics fraternity , in 1954-55, received the award as the outstanding college speech teacher from the Kansas Speech Association in 1961 , and won the trophy for the outstanding debate coach in the University of Oklahoma Debate Tournament in 1966.

A former classmate, Congressman Joseph Skubitz, wrote to Mr. Kelly when he was named to the National Forensic "Hall of Fame." "My accolade differs from most for I know you so well. I, too, know and respect the contribution you have made to education and to the advancement of forensics in the state of Kansas. But more than that, I know how much of yourself you have given to every student and to every person who has ever had the privilege of knowing you-and I count myself among those."

Lois Patton

First Grade Teacher

Park School

USD 428 Great Bend

"Lois Patton has the four qualities that make any teacher 'complete,' namely, ability, sincere love and interest in children, a great sense of humor, and devotion to her profession as well as loyalty to her school system."

So writes a colleague of Lois Patton, first grade teacher at Park School in Great Bend. Many letters in support of her nomination for the Master Teacher honor speak of her sense of humor and note that her career has been colorful as well as highly successful.

Miss Patton began her college work at the Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, and earned a Life Certificate from there in 1940. She continued to study at KSTC and at Fort Hays Kansas State College and completed her B.S. degree at Sterling College in 1965.

Her teaching career began in 1926 at Medway, Kansas. She subsequently taught in Tribune, Syracuse, Spearville, and Hoisington before joining the Great Bend faculty in 1947.

Active in national, state and local educational organizations, she has also played an important role in civic activities. She was the recipient of the first Life Membership given by the Park School P.T.A., was named "Woman of the Year" by the Great Bend Business and Professional Women's Club in 1967, and is a three-time delegate to the state convention for the same group.

"I have known Lois for some 25 years," a friend writes of her. "And to this day I've heard nothing but remarks of kindness, love and affection for this grand lady. The parents like her, the kids like her, and the teachers and community feel the same way."

Other comments express the same type of affection for her. The following is from a recent article in the Spearville News. "We'll have to rate Miss Lois Patton... as one of the best primary teachers we ever had. We can still see Miss Patton coming from school with half a dozen or more of her admiring pupils tugging at her skirts. Not only is she a very capable teacher but she took an active part in community affairs. She sang in the church choir and mixed and mingled with the folks in the community. We hear Miss Patton is being pushed by friends for the (Master Teacher) honor. We are sure the committee can not choose anyone better suited for this honor."

Albert Riedel


John F. Kennedy School

USD 489 Hays

Albert A. Riedel worked his way through Fort Hays Kansas State College in the 1940's and this determination and perseverance has characterized his teaching career which has centered in the area around Hays. Today he is Principal of the John F. Kennedy School in Hays.

In his years in education " he has proved himself to be an outstanding classroom teacher, a vigorous school administrator and an active community leader" as one of his associates put it. Another says of him: " He has a way of communicating to people and this especially includes young people. That is unique in this age of the generation gap."

Mr. Riedel earned an M.S. degree from Hays in 1958 and an administrator's certificate from there in 1967. He also has 15 hours toward an Educational Specialist degree. He began his teaching career at Victoria High School in 1947, taught and coached at Schoenchen from 1953-54 and from 1954 to 1967 taught and coached at Jefferson West Junior High School. In 1967 he became Principal of four area elementary schools of District 489 and in 1969 was named Principal of John F. Kennedy School. He is the first lay principal of this Middle School which includes grades 5 through 8.

His list of activities of service to his community is long and varied. He is presently the first Alternate Director from Kansas to CUNA International (Credit Union National Association ). His professional activities include 23 years membership in national, state and local teacher education associations. He is President of the Hays City Teachers Association. co-chairman of the Legislative Commission Hays Unified School District, and Chairman of the Ellis County Political Action Committee. He will serve as a delegate to the National Convention of Elementary School Principals in Philadelphia this April.

The support of his colleagues indicates Mr. Riedel 's popularity. "He is one of the foremost leaders in Kansas in credit unions," writes one. " In the community he is one of the foremost lay leaders in his church." Another says of him: "Besides being a superior teacher who inculcates an intense desire to learn into his students, Mr. Riedel can effectively organize people."

And, finally, very simply, " Mr. Riedel has been a credit to the teaching profession."

Mary Ellen Sissman

Special Education Teacher

USD 389 Eureka

Mrs. Mary Ellen Sissman, Special Education Teacher for the Educable Mentally Retarded in the Unified District 389 at Eureka, has worked diligently to assist in the development of the Kansas Plan (a procedure for instructional improvement and curriculum development through use of process approach to learning) for the mentally retarded. This is only one of her achievements which are cited by her many friends and supporters.

A 1940 graduate of the Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, she has also earned an M.S. degree from Wichita State University. She began her teaching career in Rose Hill, Kansas, and later taught in grade and junior high schools in Great Bend, Quincy and Eureka before accepting her present assignment in Eureka in 1963. Seventeen of her 22 years of teaching have been in the Eureka public schools.

She is a member of many national and state educational organizations and is active in community affairs. For the past three years, Mrs. Sissman has been a participant in the Office of Education project, "The Kansas Plan for Curriculum Development and Instructional Improvement." A teaching sequence has been written by her and will be used in classrooms when "The Kansas Plan" is implemented. She attends in-service meetings twice monthly. She and her husband, Mike, are parents of a daughter, Mrs. Beverly Jones, of Wichita.

Four basic principles which guided the selection committee for her nomination for the Master Teacher Award were commitment to the student, commitment to the community, commitment to the profession and commitment to professional employment practices.

Comments from friends supporting her nomination included the following: "This lady has all of the qualities that go to make up the exceptional teacher. She is one of the finest teachers I have encountered in 25 years of administrative work in Kansas."

"She is a person of high ideals and a deep sense of responsibility." " Teaching is more than just a job to Mary Ellen, but a way to help each child as an individual to fulfill his potential. " " This kind of teaching requires unusual patience and understanding of each individual student. This she possesses." " Mrs. Sissman is a very patriotic person and stresses patriotism of country with her pupils."