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1986 Award Winners

1986 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Jill Burk, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Richard G. Dawson, USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Frank B. Evans, USD 443 Dodge City

Dr. Jim Gill, USD 229 Blue Valley

Harry Heckethorn, USD 418 McPherson

Sally Six Hersh, USD 497 Lawrence

Helen Owens, USD 260 Derby


1986 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.

Jill Burk

Second Grade Teacher
Bluemont School
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Jill Burk is a second grade teacher at Bluemont School in Manhattan, a position she has held since 1975. She taught at Arma Elementary School in the spring of 1974 and from 1970-73 she taught at Woodrow Wilson School in Manhattan.

Burk, a Manhattan native, was graduated from Manhattan High School. She received her B.S. degree in 1970 and her M.S. degree in 1973 both from Kansas State University. She has completed an additional 30 hours of postgraduate work at K-State.

In 1981, 1983 and 1985, Burk was nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Burk is involved m a number of professional organizations, including the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, the Kansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the North Central Kansas International Reading Association, and the local, state and national groups of the National Education Association.

"I believe that education is for all children and that all children have the capacity to learn," said Burk. "I believe in maintaining a classroom climate that promotes self-esteem while establishing a safe and orderly atmosphere that is conducive to learning. I believe in responding to each child's physical, emotional, and academic needs through a variety of methods and materials.

"I believe in the importance of a positive, encouraging approach to instruction; for how a student feels influences how he learns. I believe that mastery of basic skills in the elementary grades is necessary to ensure future successes and continued learning. I believe that effective educators should demonstrate an enthusiasm for learning and commitment to ongoing professional growth."

Richard G. Dawson

Science Teacher
Shawnee Mission South High School
USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Richard G. Dawson has taught science at Shawnee Mission South High School since 1968. Since 1984, he also has been an adjunct instructor at Johnson County Community College. From 1958-68, Dawson taught science at Shawnee Mission North High School.

A Columbia, Mo., native, Dawson was graduated from Southeast High School in Kansas City, Mo. He received his B.A. degree in 1957 from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He received his M.S. degree in 1958 from the University of Michigan.

During his career, Dawson has won several awards. In 1984, he was named Educator of the Year by the Burroughs Audubon Society of Kansas City. Also in 1984, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, The Kansas City Star, and the Learning Exchange.

Dawson is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the local, state and national groups of the National Education Association, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Greater Kansas City Science Teachers Association, the Kansas Association of Biology Teachers, and the Lincoln Academy for Accelerated Study.

"The mission of any teacher is first to touch students - to stimulate their growth in becoming more aware , competent, integrated, loving, responsible , and effective human beings during class and throughout life," said Dawson. "Any teacher is a model and a mentor. What kinds of values are modeled is of crucial importance. Consistency and fairness in the course are necessary, of course, but so is a sense of excitement about the subject, which is central to why people choose to become scientists."

Frank B. Evans

Mathematics Teacher
Dodge City Senior High School
USD 443 Dodge City

Frank B. Evans teaches mathematics and chairs the mathematics department at Dodge City Senior High School . He began those responsibilities in 1981, but he has spent his entire professional life in the Dodge City public schools.

In 1952-53, Evans taught sixth grade at Lincoln Elementary School. He taught and coached in the junior high school from 1953-62. From 1962-64, he taught and coached at the senior high school. And he was the assistant principal from 1964-68 and then principal from 1968-81 at the junior high.

A Dodge City native, Evans was graduated from a Santa Fe, N .M., high school. He received his associate degree from Dodge City Community College in 1950. He received his B.A. degree in 1952 from the University of Northern Colorado and his M.A. degree in 1963 from Fort Hays State University.

During his career, Evans has been active in a number of professional organizations, including the local, state and national groups of the National Education Association, the United School Administrators, the Kansas Middle Level Educators, and the Western Kansas Administrators Association.

Evans is active in the Presbyterian Church and the Ford County Historical Society.

"Some teachers, and schools also," said Evans, "attempt to oversimplify the task of educating by imposing restrictive behavior policies, ostensibly for the purpose of 'creating an orderly climate conducive to learning.' I feel that many of these policies are created mainly for administrator or teacher expedience , in an attempt to make their jobs easier. This is understandable, and I do not blame anyone for wanting their task to be as easy as possible. However, I do not feel that there is any effective way to make the job simple. Teaching is a difficult, complicated, multifaceted undertaking. and its desired ends can be achieved only by hard work."

Dr. Jim Gill

Leawood Middle School
USD 229 Blue Valley

Dr. Jim Gill has been principal of Leawood Middle School since 1981. He has been a teacher and administrator in the Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts since 1965. He has worked at Hillcrest Junior High, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, and Nallwood Junior High School. In 1979-80, Gill was assistant principal of Blue Valley High School. In 1980-81, he was administrative assistant for Blue Valley U.S.D. #229.

An Okmulgee, Okla., native, Gill was graduated from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City. He received his associate degree in 1961 from Kansas City Kansas Community College. He received his B.S. degree in 1964 and his M.S. degree in 1965 both from Pittsburg State University. Gill received his Ed.D. degree in 1976 from the University of Kansas.

Gill is active in several professional organizations, including the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Kansas Stilwell Association of Secondary School Principals, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Kansas Association of Middle Level Educators, the Kansas United School Administrators, and the Kansas Press Association.

Gill is a life member of Optimist International, and he is active in the Special Olympics and the Blue Valley Historical Society.

"I believe that all students can learn and that they have a right to acquire knowledge and skills," said Gill. "We, as educators, should treat students as we would like to be treated.

"One of my former colleagues used to say, 'somewhat facetiously,' that in secondary schools 'we should educate the best students and to hell with the rest.' I would respond by saying that if we treat every student as though he/she is 'the best,' or at least very good, the student will react much more productively."

Harry Heckethorn

Mathematics Teacher and Assistant Coach for Football and Wrestling
McPherson High School

USD 418 McPherson

Harry Heckethorn has taught mathematics and coached at McPherson High School since 1958. He is currently assistant coach for both football and wrestling.

Prior to moving to McPherson, Heckethorn taught at Chase Rural High School (1950-53), Oakley Consolidated Schools (1953-57), and Chanute High School (1957-58).

A Towner, Colo., native, Heckethorn was graduated from McPherson High School. He received his A.B. degree in 1950 from McPherson College. In 1960, he received his M.A. degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Heckethorn is a member of the National Education Association, the Kansas-National Education Association, and the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics. In the community, he is active in the Masonic Lodge, the Church of Brethren, and the McPherson College Alumni Association.

"A teacher must impart to students a desire for knowledge, both in quantity and quality," said Heckethorn. "The attributes students must attain are: organization of thought, judgment and concern, creativity and insight, and knowledge.

"Each day I write on the chalkboard sayings which are guidelines to accomplish these ideals. Some of those sayings include the following: 'Are you part of the problem or are you part of the answer?' 'A lot of little things make a big difference,' 'Nature gives us talent, but it is for us to make it work,' 'The full use of today is the best preparation for tomorrow,' 'There is no failure like ceasing to try - one develops only by doing his best and nobody knows what he can do until he tries,' and 'Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.'"

Sally Six Hersh

Speech, Drama, and Mass Media Teacher
West Junior High School
USD 497 Lawrence

Sally Six Hersh teaches speech, drama and mass media at West Junior High School in Lawrence. She is also the director of drama at West High. Hersh has taught in the Lawrence Public Schools since 1973. Since 1982, she also has served as an adjunct instructor for the University of Kansas.

Hersh, an Independence, Mo., native, was graduated from Lawrence High School. She received her C.A. degree in 1953 from Monticello College in Godfrey. Ill. She received her B.A. degree in 1955 and M.A. degree in 1956 both from the University of Kansas.

During her career, Hersh has won a number of awards and honors. In 1986, she was named the 6-A Outstanding Drama Teacher/ Director by the Association of Kansas Theatre. In 1985, she was named the Kansas Governor's Scholar Teacher Most Influential in Education of Students.

Hersh is involved in many professional organizations, including the Lawrence Association of Kansas Theatres, the Kansas Children's Theatre Conference, the Association of Educational Communication and Technology, the Children's Theatre Association of America, and the American Theatre Association. She is also involved in Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma, and Pi Beta Phi.

"Nature gives man the will to survive; education gives him a reason to live; arts give him the method to enrich his life," said Hersh. "Education

is our tie to the past and our key to the future. An educated man is like crude ore - limited in usefulness unless it is refined . Education and the arts link man to his ancestors with the greatest gifts of all - the thoughts, ideas, accomplishments, and mistakes of all those who have gone before. Education makes the difference between the savage and the civilized. Arts make a man aware of the possibilities of his education and his ultimate capabilities."

Helen Owens

Seventh and Eighth Grade Social Studies
Seventh and Eighth Grade Attendance Center
USD 260 Derby

Helen Owens has taught junior high social studies in Derby since 1952. She is currently teaching social studies at the Seventh and Eighth Grade Attendance Center in Derby.

Owens is an Arkansas City native and she was graduated from Arkansas City High School. She received her A.B. degree in 1951 from the College of Emporia. She received her B.S . degree in 1964 from the University of Kansas.

During her career, Owens has been involved in many professional organizations, including the local, state and national groups of the National
Education Association and the American Association of University Women. In the community, Owens is involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Daughter of the King, an Episcopal women's order.

Owens has won many awards over the years. In 1983, she was named the Outstanding Teacher in the South-Central Kansas Uniserv District. Also in 1983, she was named the State History Teacher of the Year by the Daughters of the American Revolution. And she has been the Derby Master Teacher nominee five times - in 1972, 1973 , 1984, 1985, and 1986.

"Students are more important than teaching a book from cover to cover," said Owens. "I have taught eighth graders - for nearly 35 years. These young people are often at their lowest ebb of self-esteem and doubt in themselves. Yet, this age can practice brotherhood to a greater extent than any other group.

"It is essential that the students develop self-esteem and a belief in themselves. They should feel that they are worthy human beings and capable of being successful persons."