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1984 Award Winners

1984 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Robert Coffman, USD 401 Chase-Raymond

Frances Lou Disney, USD 428 Great Bend

Stephen R. Germes, USD 443 Dodge City

Thomas Hedges, USD 250 Pittsburg

Don L. Mason, USD 331 Kingman

Dottie McCrossen, USD 290 Ottawa

Joan Spiker, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden


1984 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.

Robert Coffman

Science and Computer Science Coordinator

Chase High School

USD 401 Chase-Raymond

Robert Coffman is the science and computer science coordinator at Chase High School. He has taught science, photography, and computer science courses at Chase High since 1954. He is head teacher at Chase High, and he serves as the district's computer coordinator.

Since 1976, Coffman has taught photography and computer science for Barton County Community College as part of that school's outreach program.

A Utica native, Coffman was graduated from El Dorado High School. He received his B.S. degree in agriculture education from Kansas State University in 1950. He received his M.S. degree in chemistry and biology from the University of Mississippi in 1969.

"I believe that learning should be fun and enjoyable," says Coffman. "That is not to say that classwork should be games, but that fun-loving and enjoyable children should have fun and enjoyable classes."

Coffman is a member of the National Education Association, Kansas-National Education Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Association of Biology Teachers, and National Mathematics Teachers Association. In the community, Coffman is active in the Lions Club and the Presbyterian Mariners.

In 1982, Coffman was named the Masonic Teacher of the Year. During his career, he has had several ideas published in the State Handbook of Innovative Practices.

"Many critics of our education system contend that the public schools are finished," says Coffman. "I contend that the public schools are just on the verge of a massive revolution. The only way that this great country can continue to offer an equal educational opportunity for all is through the public schools. It will be a long, hard pull, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easily, so we must all take up our belts a notch and again put the proverbial nose to the grindstone."

Frances Lou Disney

First Grade Teacher

Eisenhower Elementary School

USD 428 Great Bend

Since 1965, Frances Lou Disney has been the first grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School in Great Bend. Prior to joining the Eisenhower faculty, Disney taught at Sterling Grade School (1951-53) and West Grade School in Osawatomie (1953-65).

A Great Bend native, Disney was graduated from Hoisington High School. She received her B.S. degree in elementary education from Emporia State University in 1957 and her M.S. degree in education from Fort Hays State University in 1972.

"I love teaching," says Disney. "I believe all children should have the inspiration and desire to want to learn. Our educational society should create a desire to know - to know about oneself; to know about the family ; to know about the community; and to know about the world. Children must be captivated and motivated by teachers who realize the knowledge and magic that is within their wonderful minds and the super awards that teachers will Great Bend reap from creating this desire."

In February of this year, Disney received the Apple Teacher Award from the educational task force of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. She also has the Certificate of Appreciation from the University of Kansas School of Education for her 25 years as a teacher.

Disney is active in a number of professional organizations, including the Great Bend-National Education Association, the Kansas-National Education Association, and the American Association of University Women. She is a life member of the Eisenhower P.T.A. Since 1965, she has had perfect attendance at P.T.A. meetings.

In the community, she is active in Delta Kappa Gamma, the Order of Eastern Star, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Central Kansas Medical Center Auxiliary, the Barton County Community Orchestra, and the First United Methodist Church.

Stephen R. Germes

History and Political Science

Dodge City High School

USD 443 Dodge City

Stephen R. Germes has taught history and political science at Dodge City High School since 1969. He is also the head senior sponsor. During 1983-84, he is serving as the social studies department chairperson and the North Central Accreditation chairperson.

Born in Abington, Pa., Germes was graduated from Upper Perkiomen Joint High School in East Greenville, Pa. He received his B.A. degree in history and political science from the College of Emporia in 1969. He received his M.S. degree in political science and social studies from Emporia State University in 1977. He is currently taking courses at Fort Hays State University.

"I believe that the teacher's responsibility for providing leadership and a positive role model is just as important as the subject matter which is taught," says Germes. "I also believe that education should provide students with the basic set of tools for life. The social and political sciences equip students with many of these tools. I want my students to acquire a basic body of information in each of my classes, and I want them to internalize this information in order to apply it with relevance thereafter."

During his career at Dodge City High, Germes has developed new courses, helped establish an all school fair known as "Showcase," and helped build the Great Plains Institute for the Social Studies, a library and research center. In addition, Germes and a colleague have written the textbook Kansas Government.

Germes is active in the National Education Association, the Kansas National Education Association, the Dodge City-National Education Association, the National Council of Social Studies, and Phi Delta Kappa. In the community, Germes is involved with the First Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, Explorer Scouts, and the Ford County Historical Society. He is also a charter member of the Jedediah Smith Muzzleloaders.

Thomas Hedges


Pittsburg High School

USD 250 Pittsburg

Thomas Hedges has been principal of Pittsburg High School since 1979. From 1977-79 he was principal at Kingman High School, and from 1969-77 he was principal of Ellinwood Junior/Senior High School. He was principal of Rossville High School and Delia Elementary School from 1966-69.

Hedges was born in Blue Mound and graduated from Blue Mound High School. He received his B.M.E. degree from Baker University in 1963 and his M. S. degree from Kansas State University in 1966. He has done post -graduate work at the University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, and Pittsburg State University.

Hedges is known for his openness, the way he works with people, his sense of humor, and his ability to encourage students and teachers. But Hedges' greatest talent is his ability to lead, a talent that has served him well over the years.

Hedges is active in the American Field Service, having served as a host Pittsburg parent and participated in the local and state activities of the AFS. He is a sponsor for the National Honor Society, a member of Phi Delta Kappa, and a charter member of the Kansas Barbershop Chorus in Great Bend. He is also active in the College Heights United Methodist Church.

Hedges is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the United School Administrators.

During his career, Hedges has been a consultant for school districts, a guest lecturer at colleges and universities, and an invited participant at state and national conventions. He wrote the article "Moving a School - A Principal Looks Back" for the Bulletin, which is published by the Kansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Don L. Mason

Science, Math, Computer Science, Electronics, and Aviation

Kingman High School

USD 331 Kingman

Don Mason has taught science, math, computer science, electronics, and aviation at Kingman High School since 1962. He heads the school's math and science department.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Mason is the computer coordinator for the school and district, and a member of the district computer steering committee. He is a member of the district gifted committee and the district science curriculum committee. Mason also serves on the faculty council.

Since 1978, Mason has taught computer and photography courses at Pratt Community College.

A Council Grove native, Mason was graduated from Council Grove High School. He received his B.S. degree in 1962 and his M.S. degree in 1965 from Emporia State University. He has done additional work at Friends University, Wichita State University, Emporia State, and La Verne College in California.

Mason's teaching philosophy is based on one premise: everyone should be treated as a unique, important individual. Mason is known for his honesty, fairness, and enthusiasm.

Through the years, Mason has been very active in the community. Since 1973, he has been a member of the Kingman city commission. He was mayor from 1974-76, and he has been Kingman County deputy sheriff since 1981. In 1983, he received the 10-Year Service Award from the Kansas League of Municipalities.

Mason is active in the Midian Temple Shrine, the Plane Apple Club, and the Kingman Gun Club. Mason is a member of the National Education Association, the Kansas-National Education Association, the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, the Kingman County Teachers Association," and Lambda Delta Lambda. In 1981, he was nominated as Teacher of the Year.

Dottie McCrossen

Language Arts Teacher

Ottawa High School

USD 290 Ottawa

Dottie McCrossen has been a language arts teacher at Ottawa High School since 1976, and she now chairs the department.

A Scottsbluff, Neb., native, McCrossen was graduated from Scottsbluff High School. She received her B.A. degree from Ottawa University in 1953 and her M.A. degree from the University of Kansas in 1977. She is now working on a specialist's degree in curriculum and instruction.

"My desire is to help students feel good about themselves, learning, and school," says McCrossen. "The teen-age years can be joyous or excruciatingly painful.

"As an English teacher, I have the opportunity to work with every student, including the highly motivated and the low achievers. My goal is to create independent thinkers, excited researchers, and competent and creative writers among the college-bound, and to heal wounds, make learning acceptable, and give a background of basic skills to the non-academic student. There is nothing in life that I would rather do than encourage a young person to live up to his/her potential."

McCrossen has been a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award presented by the Kansas Department of Education. In 1979, she won the Distinguished Service Award from the Ottawa University Alumni Association. She has received several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

She is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Studies Association, the National Council for Teachers of English, the Kansas Association for Teachers of English, the National Education Association, and the Kansas-National Education Association.

In the community, McCrossen is active in the Ottawa University Women's Club, Friends of the Ottawa Library, P.E.O., and the First Baptist Church.

Joan Spiker

Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher

Northview Elementary School

USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Joan Spiker has taught at Northview Elementary School since 1973. From 1973-76, she taught students with learning disabilities. Since 1976, she has taught fourth and first grades.

Spiker, a Wamego native, was graduated from Manhattan High School. She received her B.S. degree in elementary education in 1966 and her M.S. degree in elementary education in 1971 from Kansas State University. She also has completed 35 hours of post-graduate work at K-State.

"I feel it is important to accept each child, recognize his/ her efforts, and promote his/ her feeling of selfworth," says Spiker. "I believe it is essential for a child to have a positive attitude toward school, and I try to foster that attitude by, being a positive person myself. I want my students to know I am excited about learning, and I strive to develop activities that will reflect this excitement.

"I believe that mastery of the basic skills is of paramount importance and that first grade is the place for developing a sound educational foundation. I also feel this is the time to develop good work habits and a sense of responsibility which are so necessary for optimum learning.

"Finally, I want my students to discover that learning is important; that it never stops; that, indeed, it is a lifelong adventure."

In 1970, Spiker was named the Outstanding Young Educator by the Manhattan Jaycees. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Education Association, the Kansas-National Education Association, and the Manhattan-National Education Association. She is a a charter member of the Beta Beta chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators.

In the community, Spiker is active in the St. Luke's Lutheran Church, serving in the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and Hannah Circle.