Skip to main content

2003 Award Winners

2003 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient


**Tina Buck, USD 254 North Barber County

Matt Copeland, USD 437 Auburn Washburn

Connie Ferree, USD 253 Emporia

**Connie Healy, USD 229 Blue Valley

Pamela Kilgariff, USD 229 Blue Valley

Barbara Tims, USD 250 Pittsburg

Carol Woydziak, USD 250 Pittsburg


2003 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.

Tina Buck**

Sixth Grade Science and Language Arts Teacher
USD 254 North Barber County

Tina Buck encourages her students to be "a team of explorers delving into the uncharted territory of learning." She uses familiar materials such as plastic bags, Silly Putty, and homemade cookies to illustrate scientific concepts.

"What sixth grader wouldn't love crawling through a huge inflated human cell?" writes a colleague. "How about drilling for oil through earth layers made of clay or having breakfast with a famous scientist?"

"One of my most successful instructional strategies is bringing the student, family and community members together to collaborate across the curriculum through hands-on instruction," she writes in her educational philosophy. "Spanning the bridge of time from generation to generation is an exposure that is an invaluable tool in the educational process."

A Teacher of the Year finalist in Kansas and Oklahoma, Ms. Buck has been widely recognized for her innovation and service. A frequent presenter at teacher education conferences, she is a leader in numerous professional organizations.

Ms. Buck is an active volunteer in her community, especially when she can bring the wisdom of the elderly into the lives of young people.

Matt Copeland

High School English Teacher
USD 437 Auburn Washburn

Matt Copeland brings leading educational theory into his classroom . He makes use of writing portfolios, reflective writing , workshops , literature circles, Socratic seminars and dialogue journals to motivate his students to engage with class material in authentic and self-directed ways.

Mr. Copeland strives to be a teacher-researcher, publishing in professional journals and presenting at conferences so that his peers can enjoy the benefit of his insights. He encourages his students to follow suit with submissions to regional and national writing contests and organizes the annual "Washburn Rural Writing Rendezvous" which involves students from allover Northeast Kansas.

In his educational philosophy, Mr. Copeland says the most valuable sources of ideas for teaching come from everyday interactions: " .. from my family, from conversation around the dinner table, from standing on the sidelines of a high school football game at the age of five , from the layers of chalk dust covering everything we own."

A former student writes: "Mr. Copeland is one of those teachers that every parent hopes their child is fortunate to have. No teacher has ever been more determined to make each one of his students a success. He puts his heart and soul into his work, but the results tell the real story. His dedication and unique teaching style leaves an impression on every face that passes through his classroom. He is truly an asset to the teaching world."

Connie Ferree

High School Science and Chemistry Teacher
USD 253 Emporia

Students know that when they take a chemistry class from Ms. Connie Ferree, it will not be easy, writes her principal James L. Menze. "Students who achieve in Mrs. Ferree's classes can count on being successful in future science classes and other classes in general. Former students.. .tell us that they are much more prepared in chemistry in college than their counterparts from other high schools."

Ms. Ferree is committed to supporting the professional development of her colleagues and of future science teachers. She shares her practices and strategies with university students, and is highly respected as a teacher-mentor and a cooperating teacher for student teachers. Most recently, she has served as a facilitator for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Her involvement in her church , in scouts, and in the "Rails to Trails" program has allowed Ms. Ferree to support organizations that provide fun and educational experiences for families.

"A child 's education - of which I am an integral part - is the foundation for his or her growth as a person and ability to change, allowing for adaptation in a constantly changing society," she writes in her educational philosophy. "The responsibilities of teaching are always awesome; sometimes overwhelming; and often emotionally, mentally and physically taxing . However, the uplifting joy of success that comes with each individual 'Thank you , you made a difference in my life,' is priceless."

Connie Healy**

Fourth Grade Teacher
USD 229 Blue Valley

Connie Healy brings music and imagination to the lives of her students at Stilwell Elementary School. A performer herself, Ms. Healy tirelessly supports school musical productions and transports students to new places and times in lessons such as the St. Patrick's Day imaginary trip and the one-room pioneer school.

"The lessons I teach are positive, experiential, hands-on, (and) true to life ... 1 try to model through my actions that children are important and treat them in a kind, calm, respectful, and dignified way," she writes in her educational philosophy.

Healy is involved in planning her students' experience through dozens of committee memberships at the school and district level. She is a consummate volunteer - in community arts, youth programs, cultural institutions and her church.

Her principal Pam DeVuyst writes: "Connie is an exceptionally skilled and dedicated teacher who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. Her caring and nurturing personality provides for a warm and inviting climate as you enter her class positive room door. Through the sharing of her knowledge, experience and resources, Connie demonstrates a true zeal in promoting the advancement of education."

Pamela Kilgariff

Middle School Teacher
USD 382 Pratt

Pamela Kilgariff's role at Liberty Middle School extends well beyond her position as "school counselor," writes her principal Sue Givens, who describes Ms. Kilgariff as a "workhorse" who tirelessly works to place students with teachers who will best match their needs.

"When Mrs. Kilgariff left the classroom, she didn't leave her love of teaching behind," writes Ms. Givens. "Every child, teacher and parent with whom she has contact becomes acutely aware within a short time of Mrs. Kilgariff's hope, optimism and determination for every child, regardless of circumstance."

A classroom teacher with 18 years of experience, Ms. Kilgariff has embraced the new role of helping students be better learners. She is a certified trainer in the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens" program, making numerous presentations to schools and educational organizations in a five county area.

A lifelong resident of the Pratt community, Ms. Kilgariff is involved in numerous community activities through service to The Counseling Center Board, a planning team for promoting positive behavior for teens.

"My goal is to ensure that every teen is a visible and remembered light which deserves adult time and attention," writes Ms. Kilgariff in her educational philosophy. "Each morning in the school lobby, I say good morning to individual students, comment on new or different appearances, acknowledge a student's achievements or recognize personal sadness, tiredness or happiness. I want every teen to know that the individual is visible to me and is missed when absent."

Barbara "Babs" Tims

Fourth Grade Teacher
USD 250 Pittsburg

Babs Tims compares teaching to the iconic Kansas occupation of farming. "Both teachers and farmers make every attempt to give their seeds everything possible to grow to their fullest potential. Just like the farmer, we have varied success. But I believe all of them will grow in their season, given love and attention ," she writes in her educational philosophy.

Ms. Tims brings the world to her students through Mardi Gras celebrations, Hawaiian luaus and Southwestern fiestas. She has also created special events such as "Just Imagine City" and the "Young Authors Conference" to focus attention on science and reading.

She has written and received almost $10,000 in enrichment grants to support teaching in math, social studies, reading and economics. She is a frequent guest lecturer in teacher education classes at Pittsburg State University, and is a tireless volunteer for her church, her public library and area service organizations.

"Babs has the ability to draw out a shy child and channel the active student in the right direction," writes her principal Bill King. "Discipline is never a problem in her classroom as she actively engages the children in learning. Her classroom is alive with activities. Babs creates memories for children daily."

Carol Woydziak

Fourth Grade Teacher
USD 250 Pittsburg

Carol Woydziak continues to build upon an 18-year legacy of innovative teaching in her speech and English classes at Dodge City High School.

Ms. Woydziak created a broadcast journalism program, creating an operational studio piece-by-piece. She was the school's first Honors English 10 teacher, and helped develop a curriculum in middle school expressive arts. For the past ten years, she's been the advisor of the school's annual literary magazine, which has won the National Council of Teachers of English "Excellent Award for Literary Magazines."

In her philosophy of teaching, Ms. Woydziak writes: "I tell my students there are many teachers in my classroom; I will learn from them as they learn from me and from one another. I learn from my students in days filled with personal interactions too numerous to count. Being an educator, being involved with education every day, is one of the ways I continue to learn."

Ms. Woydziak's commitment to education continues outside the classroom through her volunteer work as a 4-H sponsor, judge and board member; and as a director of the stuff dent division of the Boothill Repertory Company. She has also served on numerous school committees, most notably the steering committee for the school improvement plan.

A colleague at Dodge City High School writes: "Perhaps the best way to explain Carol's place on our staff is to say she's a 'spark.' She takes an idea, fans the flame a little and hands it over to someone else only to begin the cycle again. Her enthusiasm is contagious."