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1990 Award Winners

1990 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Dr. Thomas Christie, USD 497 Lawrence

Gretchen Davis, Overland Park

Dr. E. Sutton Flynt, USD 250 Pittsburg

James Gardner, El Dorado

Ralph E. Mock, Council Grove

Allen K. Scheer, Westmoreland

Beverliann Wolf, Derby


1990 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.

Dr. Thomas Christie

Intermediate Science Health Teacher
Deerfield Elementary School
USD 497 Lawrence

Thomas Christie has been the intermediate science health teacher at Deerfield Elementary School since 1980. Before that, he was career education consultant at USD #497 from 1977-78 and a fifth grade teacher at Deerfield from 1975-77.

When Christie became career education coordinator at USD #497, the Lawrence program was one of the state's pilot programs, earning distinction as one of the 10 best in the country. As a consultant, Christie provided in-service programs at the local and state levels, developed curricula to integrate career education, and served on the Governor's Career Education Task Force.

Supporting his belief that education extends beyond the classroom, Christie is working with numerous community leaders to develop an educational and client service AIDS program for Douglas County. He also formed the Committee for Awareness in Public Education to encourage increased knowledge of the public schools.

Christie received three degrees from the University of Kansas - his B.A. in 1974, his M.A. in 1980, and his Ed.D. in 1989. In 1979, he was named an "Outstanding Young Man of America." He received the "Outstanding Young Kansan" Award from the Lawrence Jaycees in 1980, and he was a member of Leadership Lawrence in 1980. He also received the "Shared Excellence" Award from the KNEA in 1987.

"Education provides us with an opportunity imbued with challenge," said Christie. "We are afforded an opportunity to take an individual and mold that person into something better than the student ever thought he or she could be.

"We must personally broaden our horizons and set higher goals in an attempt to get those lives we touch to personalize their own broader horizons and higher goals. Teaching is a profession only for those who can."

Gretchen Davis

Second Grade Teacher
Santa Fe Trail Elementary
USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Gretchen Davis has taught second grade at Santa Fe Trail Elementary School since 1986. Before that, she taught second grade at Oak Grove Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., and kindergarten in schools in New York and Iowa.

In her first teaching job in Iowa, Davis was named teacher of the year and was one of the planners of the first summer Project Head Start in Iowa City, Iowa. She also worked as a volunteer in a program in a burned out section of Washington, D.C. For her work to promote racial harmony in New York, she received a special citation for service from the local community.

Davis originated and facilitated the Kansas/ China Exchange in Education Project, which organized separate teacher exchanges between Kansas and its sister province in Henan, China.

For her work in establishing international education projects, Davis has received numerous awards. She received the KNEA "Human Relations Award" and the Hilda Maehling Fellowship Award from the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education. Last year, Davis received the Cynthia O'Connell Foundation Award for excellence in teaching in the Shawnee Mission District.

Davis received her B.A. degree in 1964 from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa, and her M.A. in 1980 from Webster University in St. Louis.

"Except for striving to be a ballet dancer at age five, I have known I wanted to be a teacher as far back as I can remembers," said Davis. "Family member still tell stories about the makeshift school I set up in our basement.

"I can say without reservation that the key to my students' successes in school rests on their emotional security in my classroom, coupled with their active involvement in learning. Students leave my classroom more confident about themselves and better prepared for today and the future."

Dr. E. Sutton Flynt

Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Pittsburg State University

Sutton Flynt has been an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Pittsburg State University since 1984. Before that, he taught at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., at the University of Georgia in Athens, and in an elementary school in Mississippi.

For two consecutive years (1986 and 1987), Flynt's students nominated him for the "Outstanding Faculty Award" at Pittsburg State. He was appointed to the tests evaluation committee of the International Reading Association, and the U.S. Jaycees selected him as an "Outstanding Young Man" in 1983.

Flynt also has been active in the community, especially in speaking to and providing training for adult volunteers in adult literacy programs. In 1988, Flynt was a symposium presenter at the World Congress on Reading in Brisbane, Australia.

Flynt received his B.S. (1971) and M.S. (1976) degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. He received his Ed.D. in reading education from the University of Georgia in 1980.

"As a professional educator, my style has remained consistent, and the model set forth by my father and other admired teachers has continued to be affirmed," said Flynt. "Education isn't and can never be prescriptive as some current thinking argues. Rather, I believe good teaching centers around the word 'arousal.' That is, causing students to see themselves from a variety of perspectives, promoting students to think for themselves, and motivating students to set goals that are a challenge and worthy."

James Gardner

El Dorado High School
USD 490 El Dorado

James Gardner has spent his entire 21-year career as an educator at El Dorado High School. Currently, he is the chairman of the social studies department and an American government teacher.

USD #490 named Gardner as its "Teacher of the Year" in 1989-90 and 1982-83. He also was a finalist for state "Teacher of the Year" in 1982, and he received honorable mention for the Jessie Perry Stratford Award of Excellence for Historical Writing.

Inspired by his own American government teacher, Gardner decided during his senior year in high school to become a government teacher. In his third year of teaching, he finally achieved his goal of teaching American government, a course he has taught ever since.

Gardner was selected as an " Outstanding Young Man of America" for 1973. He has put his teaching into practice by becoming active in such community activities as the United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, and Sunday school. At El Dorado High School, he has been director of concessions at all athletic events for 19 years, senior class sponsor for 15 years, president of the El Dorado-NEA, and chief negotiator for El Dorado-NEA for 13 years.

Gardner received his B.S. degree in 1969 from Oklahoma State University and his M.E. degree in 1975 from Wichita State University.

"Education of our youth is the highest yielding, lowest risk investment the community, state, and nation can make for the future ," said Gardner. "Teaching is the only profession that so profoundly shapes tomorrow, today.

"Vision has been defined as a 'mental image' or 'something seen in a dream.' I dream of an ideal classroom where every student wants to be in the class, is excited about learning, participates in class, and feels good about him/ herself and life in general."

Ralph E. Mock

Vocal  Music Teacher
Council Grove High School
USD 417 Morris County

Ralph Mock has been the vocal music teacher at Council Grove High School since 1968; last year he added junior high music to his responsibilities. Before that, he taught music in the Wilsey Grade and High Schools.

The local Kiwanis organization has recognized Mock and his family for their commitment to the community by designating them as a "Family of Builders." Mock also received the Community Pride Award for his participation in a CPR class, and the Council Grove Methodist Church recognized him for his 20-year service as the church's choir director.

Outside the classroom, Mock is a certified emergency medical technician (EMT), which he uses in his role as a volunteer for the Morris County ambulance. As a certified CPR instructor, he instituted a CPR course for all Council Grove High School students and staff. His interest in health care led to his selection as a member of the Morris County Hospital board of directors where he has served as secretary for the past three years.

At Council Grove High School, Mock started the "Brave Voices," a select singing group that has sung at events around the state. Mock received his B.M.E. degree in 1962 from Pittsburg State University and his M.S. degree in 1969 from Kansas State University. Teaching runs in the Mock family; his wife, Sharon, is the art teacher at Council Grove High School, and his son, Cary, is in his first year of teaching music at Tonganoxie.

"I would hope that the students who have taken singing classes from me have some appreciation of the beauty involved in vocal music," said Mock. "I would hope that through singing they might realize that without a song, their lives would not be as rich and full."

Allen K. Scheer

Agriculture Education Instructor
Westmoreland Jr/Sr High School
USD 323 Rock Creek

Allen Scheer has served as the agriculture education instructor at Westmoreland Junior/ Senior High School since 1984. He also advises the Westmoreland Future Farmers of America (FFA), and co-sponsors the Westmoreland FFA Alumni Class.

In his relatively short career as a teacher, Scheer has received numerous honors. He was named the regional "Outstanding Young Member of the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association" (NVATA) in 1988. He received the Kansas Vocational Association Outstanding Vocational Educator Award and the NVATA Young Professional Award, also in 1988. In addition, he received the NVATA 30-Minute Club Award in 1988-89.

Over the past six years, Scheer has updated the entire agriculture curriculum at Westmoreland High School, and he has helped implement the junior high exploratory classes in vocational education. He is now working with the USD #323 Westmoreland vocational educators in creating and implementing a technology education curriculum for the junior and senior high schools.

Scheer is a member and past officer of the Westmoreland Community Service Club; he is on the board of a local day care center; he has worked with P.R.I.D .E. youth activities; and he is active in numerous Catholic organizations. He received his A.A. degree in 1982 from Southwest Community College, and his B.S . (1984) and M.S. degrees (1986) from Kansas State University.

"Society demands that schools meet the academic, social, moral, and ethical needs of our students," said Scheer. "Striving to meet these needs, I have found that my enthusiasm, honesty, and commitment have allowed me to successfully motivate my students.

"I recognize the many challenges I face in working with young people today and the important role I play in preparing them for their future."

Beverliann Wolf

Chapter I Math Teacher
Cooper/Oaklawn Elementary Schools
USD 260 Derby

Beverliann Wolf has spent her entire teaching career at schools in USD #260 in Derby. She has taught Chapter I math since 1982 - first at Cooper / Oaklawn Elementary Schools in Derby - and at Cooper since 1988. Before that, she taught Chapter I reading at Carlton Junior High School and fifth grade at Oaklawn.

Wolfs greatest contribution to her students has been her efforts at creating and sustaining a breakfast program for the two schools. This program provides free breakfasts to more than 600 students, giving them a good start in the morning since many of her children were coming to school hungry.

In addition to directing the program, Wolf is its primary fund raiser; she is a familiar figure at Derby area community organizations with requests for support. She also has received national grants from the NEA to fund the program. Through her community service to the breakfast program, she was selected as one of the first female members of the Derby Optimist Club.

Wolf also teaches her students responsibility through her "token" system where the students earn tokens for good work and responsible behavior. Every nine weeks, she has a token sale where the students can tum in their tokens for "merchandise."

Wolf received her A.A. degree from Colorado Women's College in 1949 and her B.A. (1959) and M.S. (1973) degrees from Wichita State University.

"Most of my children live in poverty," said Wolf. "They are at risk. They frequently arrive at school hungry, not adequately clothed, and unclean . We as teachers owe these children our full energies, and as long as they are in our care, we need to make their lives productive, stable, safe, and enjoyable, as well as to educate them.

"We owe all our talents to those we teach and who, in return, often teach us."