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2001 Award Winners

2001 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient


**Cathy Esquibel, USD 443 Dodge City

Jeanne Evans, USD 490 El Dorado

**Betty Lavery, USD 229 Stilwell

*Jerry Long, Emporia State University

Leona Madden, USD 489 Hays

Margaret McClatchey, USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Rosemary A. Riordan, USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Jane Sak, USD 229 Blue Valley


2001 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.

Cathy Esquibel**

First Grade Teacher
USD 443 Dodge City

Esquibel has drawn from ancient wisdom to formulate her teaching philosophy.

"As an educator I am responsible for guiding each child and enabling him to observe and experiment the world around him," said Esquibel, a first grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School. "By providing a classroom environment rich with language, literature, problem-solving activities and technology, I can foster an appreciation of the real world and what it has to offer. Children need to investigate and make judgments based on their own first hand experiences. The Chinese proverb, 'I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand' is ever present in my mind as I plan activities for my classroom..."

Esquibel's philosophy has allowed her to reach out to hearing-impaired children in a special way and to serve as a role model for many students.

"As I reflect on the critical person responsible for the shaping of my character, the realization of my dreams, and my overwhelming desire to become a teacher, I think of no one other than Mrs. Esquibel," said Becky Phelps, a colleague and former student. "Mrs. Cathy Esquibel was my first-grade teacher and what a delight it was to belong in Mrs. E's class. She was excited to teach us, and willing to let us learn through various modes, deliveries, and paces without hindering her abilities to accomplish a vision that, 'All will learn!'"

A native of Goodland, Kansas, Esquibel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from St. Mary of the Plains College and a Master of Science degree in elementary education from Fort Hays State University. She also received a Reading Specialist and ESL Certification from Fort Hays State.

Jeanne Evans

Third Grade Teacher
USD 490 El Dorado

Some people work to live, some live to work. Evans says she lives to teach.

"Teaching is my life, not just a job! Can you imagine a more rewarding profession? It is a delight to be with children. 'My kids' are my fuel for teaching. I become excited when I see students unfold into happy and creative individuals. Working with children from all abilities and backgrounds is fulfilling ..... I love school, and I want my students to enjoy coming to school every day. I want them to feel safe in their learning environment."

A former student praised Evans, a third grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in El Dorado, by turning to the genius of Albert Einstein.

"Albert Einstein once stated, 'It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.' Mrs. Evans does exactly that, she awakens joy in expression and knowledge to every student that she encounters, and that is why she is the best candidate for the Kansas Master Teacher Award," said Tyson Moore.

"Jeanne approaches her classroom in the same manner that she approaches her other roles," said Lincoln Principal Bernadette Spradling. "She believes in being actively involved in the teaching and the facilitation of learning. She has never been tied to a teacher's manual. In fact, I sometimes doubt she ever consults one. She is a natural born teacher. She takes the outcome and develops the lesson around that outcome. She makes it relevant to students' lives and does it in a way that reaches the various learning styles of her students."

A native of Fort Scott, Evans earned a Bachelor of Science in education degree from Pittsburg State University and a Master of Education degree from Wichita State University. She also attended Fort Scott Community College and Emporia State University.

**Betty Lavery

Physical Education Teacher
USD 229 Stilwell

Lavery, a physical education teacher at Stilwell Elementary School, will try almost anything to make learning fun.

"Whether it is dancing with students or dressing up as a Sumo wrestler in a very padded suit to spar with the principal in an all school assembly, students like her and enjoy her classes while learning many valuable lifetime skills and attitudes," said Dr. Steven L.McIlvain, deputy superintendent of educational services.

She uses these techniques because students deserve her best effort every day.

"As a teacher I endeavor to do the best job of teaching each and every child," said Lavery. "1 believe that each child in every class expects and deserves my best teaching efforts every day. I am never content to do the same old thing, but I am constantly looking for better ways to improve my teaching and reach each student. It is important for a teacher to be open minded and willing to try new ideas and teaching methods."

"Betty is a wonderful elementary physical education teacher," said Steve Frazell, Stilwell Elementary Principal. "In fact, in my 25 years in the field of education, she is the best elementary physical education teacher I have ever worked with. She prepares lessons that are challenging and fun for her students."

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Lavery earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Kansas State University and Master of Science degree in education with an emphasis in elementary and adapted physical education from the University of Kansas. She also has graduate hours from Avila College, Baker University, Emporia State University, Ottawa University-Kansas City, Pittsburg State University, and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

*Jerry Long

Associate Dean
Emporia State University

Leona Madden

Library Media Specialist
USD 489 Hays

Madden has a special way of making a book come alive.

"Mrs. Madden is my favorite teacher and always will be," said student Evan Talkington of the Library Media Specialist at Lincoln Elementary School. "I' ll always remember those times when Mrs. Madden would call us down to the special place in front of the fireplace. When she read to us she never made it sound boring. It seemed she had a special voice for each and every character."

Kathy Spicer, a parent and member of the USD 489 Board of Education, said Madden has enthusiasm for her discipline and knows she impacts the total development of her students.

"She builds on classroom themes with programs and enhanced learning opportunities which encourage children to see themselves as a valuable part of society, to appreciate differences in peoples and cultures, to accept other viewpoints with understanding, to work together, to be creative, and to 'stretch' for greater personal goals."

Of her personal philosophy of teaching, Madden said, "What greater reward than seeing a child's eyes light up when he suddenly understands something? Education is more than dispensing knowledge; it is encouraging creativity and the honing of thinking processes. There is too much knowledge to learn it all; knowing how to go about finding information is a basic skill. Libraries are also the ideal place to provide access to varying points of view. In our changing global society, children must learn to be problem-solvers, to be able to utilize print and non-print materials to locate and comprehend needed information, to be creative, and to adapt to change."

A native of Bison, Madden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Fort Hays State University.

Margaret McClatchey

Theatre Arts Teacher
USD 512 Shawnee Mission

McClatchey, chair of Theatre Arts at Shawnee Mission North High School, keeps them laughing ... and learning.

"Her patience and humor help kids get through," said colleague Maureen Davis. "She is an advocate for them. She works with parents, counselors, and administrators to bring out the best in her students."

"Classroom atmosphere is vital to learning for each student must feel safe and welcome," said McClatchey. "Students must feel so comfortable they will take risks such as asking questions and dis­agreeing with their peers and teach­ers. This atmosphere is based on trust, which is difficult to establish, and easily destroyed. The time spent building trust in the class­room is vital to student learning. A sense of humor is a necessary part of this positive atmosphere. Students feel comfortable in a class­room where the teacher humorous­ly acknowledges mistakes and encourages students to be them­selves. Humor should never be harmful; it should create important moments of comic relief, making learning an enjoyable process."

"Mrs. McClatchey changed my life," said former student Krista Tatsch!. "I don't say that flippantly. She helped me realize my passion in life - theatre. It is difficult to sum up the one million things she has taught me about the arts, but quite easy to sum up how excellent she is as a teacher ..... McClatchey, as any former drama student will affec­tionately call her, can take the most disinterested student and thrill him with tales of Dionysus, Thespis, or William Shakespeare."

A native of Lockport, New York, McClatchey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and speech from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts degree in cur­riculum and instruction from the University of Kansas. She also earned graduate credit hours from Ottawa University.

Rosemary A. Riordan

Art Teacher
USD 512 Shawnee Mission

Stand too close to Riordan and you may catch her passion for art.

"Rosie Riordan is a teacher's teacher," said Georgia A. Smith, a colleague of the Sunflower Elementary School art teacher. "Rosie's passion for art and for learning is contagious. She is fun to work with, and an an inspiration to others with her tireless effort to make things better for her students. Rosie Riordan is an outstanding teacher. Rosie would be an out­standing teacher in any curricular area."

''My personal philosophy is that all children can learn and that our job as educators is to make that process a joyful journey," said Riordan. "I believe that teaching art is fundamental, with the key word being FUN. My job is to instill with­in my students and my community a love of learning and a desire to cross boundaries and create connec­tions with other places, other times, other styles, creating a diversity of vision."

Riordan's passion has spread from student to student during her career.

"Mrs. Riordan has the most enthusiastic personality I have seen and it really has been an impact on me even now as I near my senior year in high school," said former student Kari Kennedy. "I remember how she used positive encourage­ment, and never put a limit on cre­ativity. I learned so much from her and I continue to discover new things. She is a wonderful teacher and has touched the lives of many students and inspired future artists."

"Mrs. Riordan is a person who has a good heart and is not selfish," added former student David Snodgrass.

A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Riordan earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Education degree from Avila College.

Jane Sak

Technology Integration Specialist
USD 229 Blue Valley

Three basic concepts planted by her parents have helped Sak blossom into the teacher she is today.

"Although schools and philoso­phies of education are continually changing, my philosophy of educa­tion is based on three simple con­cepts my parents planted in me when I was young and which con­tinue to serve me well throughout my life and teaching career: respect one another, teach by example, and practice lifelong learning."

A Technology Integration Specialist at Blue Valley North High School, Sak plants these same seeds of learning.

"When asked to describe Jane, students and colleagues describe her as enthusiastic, caring, patient and industrious," noted Dr. Richard Siebs, Blue Valley North High School principal. "Her students are her primary focus - always the most important element in her teaching because she cares about student learning and wants them to enjoy what they are learning in the class­room."

"Jane Sak is a dedicated teacher," added Marilyn G. Kaufman, parent of a former student. "Providing an overall classroom program that enhanced all students' general busi­ness education as well as monitor­ing each student's individual employment required a tremendous amount of time, energy, and enthu­siasm. It is with this dedication that Jane was able to work with students so successfully, regardless of each students background ability."

A native of Harlan, Iowa, Sak earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master of Arts degree from Webster University, Kansas City campus. She also attended Avila College, Baker University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Emporia State University, Ottawa University, Mid-America Nazarene, Johnson County Community College, and Briar Cliff College.