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1991 Award Winners

1991 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Deena L. Horst, USD 305 Salina

Kenneth R. Kennedy, USD 382 Pratt

Sherryl L. Longhofer, USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

Susan F. McKinney, USD 497 Lawrence

Kenneth R. Stith, USD 443 Dodge City

Valarie S. Tims, USD 250 Pittsburg

Helen A. Wagner, USD 490 El Dorado


1991 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.

Deena L. Horst

Seventh and Eighth Grade Art Teacher
Salina South Middle School
USD 305 Salina

Since 1988, Deena Louise Horst has chaired the art department for seventh and eighth graders at Salina South Middle School. After beginning her career in 1966 at Peabody Elementary School, she spent 20 years at Salina South Junior High School in 1988. She received bachelor's and master's degrees in art education from Emporia State University and has completed post-graduate hours from four institutions. Under Horst's direction, her students have created stage sets and props for musicals. 

She currently is serving a second term as president of NEA-Salina. She has served on numerous committees as a member of NEA, Kansas State Teachers Association , Salina-NEA, K-NEA, the National Art Education Association and Kansas Art Education Association, Phi Delta Kappa International, Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas Association of  Middle Level Educators, National Education Association Fine Arts Caucus, Salina Jaycees and the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission. For her service, she has been honored as a United States Jaycees Officer of the Year and Salina Jaycee Jayne of the Year.

Her belief that the "earth's greatest treasure is human personality" has molded her dedication to ensuring that each student she comes in contact with has an opportunity to develop his/ her uniqueness and self-esteem.

"A student's art is an extension, and an expression of the student and is worthy of the utmost respect," says Horst.

Kenneth R. Kennedy

Third Grade Teacher
Pratt High School
USD 382 Pratt

Kenneth Ray Kennedy began his career at Pratt High School as an industrial arts teacher and has remained there for all of his 18 years of teaching_ In 1982, he became vocational director and cooperative occupational education coordinator. 

Kennedy recently completed a three-year project to establish computer labs in all attendance centers at Pratt USD 382, and he provided the teacher in-service training necessary to prepare instructors to use the equipment. In addition to serving as sponsor of the junior class and as track coach, Kennedy is active in the Boy Scouts, NEA, K-NEA, Pratt United Way, Kansas Industrial Education Association, and the Kansas Council of Vocational Administrators. He received an associate's degree from Pratt Community College, bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Pittsburg State University, administrator's endorsement from Fort Hays State University and post-graduate work at Wichita State University.

"I feel it essential to teach young people, regardless of the career they choose, to strive to do their best, to accomplish the most they can, and most importantly, to be happy with themselves and their lives," Kennedy said.

"As teachers, we must prepare our young people to make contributions to society through their personal accomplishments. It always has been my goal to help young people acquire the skills and knowledge that will provide a meaningful, financially secure life for them, and most impor tantly, the happiness of personal satisfaction that comes with the ability to imagine something and then create it with the hands."

Sherryl L. Longhofer

Behavior Disorders Teacher
Wanamaker Elementary School
USD 437 Auburn-Washburn

Sherryl Longhofer is the behavior disorders teacher at Wanamaker Elementary School in Auburn-Washburn USD 437.

She received her B.S.E. and M.S. degrees in psychology, both from Emporia State University. She also has done post-graduate work at Kansas State University and is working on a degree in counseling from ESU. Longhofer's teaching career has spanned 21 years, including 16 teaching behavior disorders in the district. 

Longhofer was named the Beta Sigma Phi "Pledge of the Year," and she serves as president of the Kansas Coaches Wives Association, president of the Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Society, and president of Auburn-Washburn Teachers Association. In 1987, Longhofer was named the Auburn Washburn District Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year in 1987.

Longhofer developed two new Learning Resource Programs in Topeka USD 501. She also developed three district-wide programs called Behavior Disorders.

"Each child we are confronted with and given the important task of 'teaching them well' is a very special individual with worthwhile qualities," says Longhofer. "I strongly believe that through motivation, support, and encouragement we can give children self confidence, the courage to try new things, perseverance to hang in there and perhaps, most importantly, responsibility to accept both success and failure."

Susan F. McKinney

English/Language Arts Teacher
Emporia High School
USD 497 Lawrence

Sue McKinney has taught at Emporia High School since 1969, first in physical education and health, and now in English/ language arts.

McKinney received her B.S.E. degree from the College of Emporia and M.S. in education from Emporia State University. She also has done post-graduate work at American University and ESU.

McKinney was instrumental in designing and implementing the language arts department's new writing lab. To help her students learn, she has used such innovative methods as purchasing popular paperback novels from garage sales for her students, incorporating an artifact from an archeological dig in Yorkshire, England, and using a geode from the Wildlife Backpacking Club trip to Colorado. She also has sponsored student study tours to England.

McKinney has been a negotiator for the Emporia-NEA, and has been active in her church, Girl Scouts, Lyon County Historical Society, and Alumni Association.

"My mother, grandmother, grandfather and 10 of 26 cousins were teachers," said McKinney. "You could say teaching is a family affair. I have never wanted to be or imagined being anything other than a teacher."

One of McKinney's colleagues wrote about her, "Sue is a walking, talking definition of what a teacher ought to be. For her, teaching is something more than making lesson plans, lecturing kids, and grading papers; it is participation in every facet of the educational system and making the effort to improve that system."

Kenneth R. Stith

Music Coordinator and Director of Instructional Music
USD 443 Dodge City

Kenneth R . Stith has been the Dodge City Public Schools (USD 443) music coordinator and director of instructional music for 14 years. Before 1977, he taught in Marion (KS) and Cameron (MO) Public School Districts and was director of bands at Friends University. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Kansas State University and has post-graduate hours from Fort Hays State University.

The Dodge City city commission named Stith its first Dodge City "Citizen of the Month." He is past state president of the National Association of Jazz Educators, president of District V Kansas Music Educators Association, and president of the Northwest Missouri Bandmasters Association. He also is a member of the NEA, K-NEA, Dodge City NEA, Kansas Music Educators Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and Phi Beta Mu international bandmaster's fraternity.

"Music has a unique place in the education and development of every young person," said Stith. "There are no races to win or lose. Whether at rehearsal or performance, I have tried to reach the very innermost thoughts of every student. I believe those experiences are spiritual and profound. They make impressions on the heart that last a lifetime; they challenge the intellect, yet create a sensitivity to the very emotions unique to each individual student.

"I learned early that practice does not make perfect; rather perfect practice makes perfect. You must view each student as if he or she is the string of a guitar or the key of a piano. Each has a very important quality of his or her own, but when combined with others in a common pursuit, great experiences can take place."

Valarie S. Tims

First Grade Teacher
Lakeside Elementary School
USD 250 Pittsburg

Valarie Susan (Susie) Tims has spent her entire career as a first-grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary School in Pittsburg.

Tims received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Pittsburg State University as well as numerous post-graduate credit hours.

As a first grade teacher, she gives her time to activities that develop reading readiness, teaching reading and writing, and promoting literacy at all ages. Her "At Home" reading program involves parents working with their children nightly on reading skills. She encourages parents and other volunteers to become reading and math tutors. Over the last three years, more than 30 community members have visited first graders as part of her "Guest Reader Program" to read a story and share the importance of reading as a life skill.

Her honors include the Clyde U. Phillips Outstanding Young Educator and Outstanding Young Alumnus from PSU, and Outstanding Young Educator from the Pittsburg Jaycees. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Pittsburg Education Association, K-NEA, NEA, Altrusa International , Kappa Kappa Iota, and the Lakeside Parent Teacher's Organization Executive Board.

"We as educators do not teach curriculum, we teach children. Students learn more when they are in a loving, caring, and trusting environment. Teachers, like farmers, nourish , protect, and cultivate their yearly crop and have to wait to see the finished product."

Helen A. Wagner

Sixth Grade Teacher
El Dorado Middle School
USD 490 El Dorado

In July, Helen A. Wagner, sixth grade teacher at El Dorado Middle School, will grade her last spelling paper, share her teaching materials with colleagues, box up her personal belongings, and turn in the keys to the school. Retirement will come after more than 40 years of influencing the lives of elementary school children in EI Dorado, Gridley, and Haviland.

She received bachelor's and master's degrees from Emporia State University and has completed postgraduate work at five institutions. Receiving her teaching certificate was a thrill that Helen shared with her mother who had attended Kansas State Normal (now ESU) but was unable to fulfill that dream because married women were not allowed to teach in her day.

Wagner encourages student participation in contest opportunities, including spelling bees and essay contests. She has established a peer tutoring program for primary grade students in reading, a student paperback book exchange, and a pilot program for using multiple texts in social studies.

Wagner was named Kansas Teacher of the Year in 1981. She was honored as Outstanding History Teacher by the Susannah French Putney Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution , as Kansas Outstanding History Teacher by the Daughters of Colonial Wars, and has been nominated to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame.

"Children deserve the best in education. I want to be a part of helping them develop into warm, loving human beings who show respect for our country and concern for their fellow man," said Wagner.