2007 Award Winners
2007 Kansas Master Teachers
* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient
Rob Davis, Blue Valley
Robin Dixon, Auburn Washburn
Shelley R. Faerber, Manhattan-Ogden
Diane Ladenburger, Pratt
Marilyn McComber, Emporia
Angela K. Miller, Junction City
Elouise Miller, Hays
This program contains the names of the Master Teacher Nominees for the year listed here.
Emporia State University announces seven teachers as the 2007 Kansas Master Teachers. They are:
- Rob Davis, Blue Valley;
- Robin Dixon, Auburn Washburn;
- Shelley R. Faerber, Manhattan-Ogden;
- Diane Ladenburger, Pratt;
- Marilyn McComber, Emporia;
- Angela K. Miller, Junction City; and
- Elouise Miller, Hays.
The Kansas Master Teacher Award celebrated its 54th anniversary this year with the induction of the teachers on March 7.
Emporia State University has honored 384 teachers since the annual award was founded in 1954. According to awards committee chairman Lori Mann, Kansas Master Teachers are educators who have “served the profession long and well, and who also typify the good qualities of earnest and conscientious teachers.”
Nominations come from local teacher associations, educational organizations and colleagues. A committee representing educational organizations across Kansas selects the finalists in February. The seven chosen teachers will be honored with a day of tours, seminars and receptions on March 7 at Emporia State University.
Bank of America has underwritten the Kansas Master Teachers program for over 20 years.
Biographies below were included in the program for the year listed here and were current as of that time.
Liberty View Elementary School
USD 229 Blue Valley
When Rob Davis stepped into a Parsons, Kansas second grade classroom over 30 years ago, he knew he had chosen the right profession.
Mr. Davis's education career has been as diverse as his teaching techniques-from teaching in primary classrooms, to coaching middle school speech and drama students, and even serving as a tutor for child actors on two TV series in the early 1980's. As a student said, "Average teachers may only be with you for one year, but great teachers, like Mr. Davis will be with you for the rest of your life."
Outside of the classroom, Mr. Davis has "freely given of his talent and creativity for the betterment of our community," including lending his singing abilities at venues ranging from dramatic productions to sports events. He also is actively involved with the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental organizations.
For the last six years, Mr. Davis has been a gifted education teacher at Liberty View Elementary in Olathe. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas, his master's degree from Webster University (St. Louis, MO), and his gifted education certification from Emporia State University.
Jay Shideler Elementary School
USD 437 Auburn Washburn
The concept that all children can learn might be cliche, but Mrs. Robin Dixon knows it is true as she witnessed firsthand her twin brother, born with Down's syndrome, struggling through his education. "My parents modeled for my brother and me that we were both capable of learning. This belief follows me everyday to my classroom and drives me to see that all my students can learn."
Mrs. Dixon has 15 years teaching experience and has received multiple teaching awards. In 2006 she successfully completed the difficult work to become a National Board Certified Teacher. She has a passion for helping others-from mission trips through her church, to mentoring new teachers, to leading and working in committees at school and in her community. A colleague writes, "Her dedication and work ethic, as well as very strong organization skills make her an accomplished teacher and incredibly effective team member."
For the past five years Mrs. Dixon has been a sixth grade teacher. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Kansas, and a second master's degree from Washburn University.
Shelley R. Faerber
Susan B. Anthony Middle School
USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden
"As a teacher, I function with the flexibility to see my best plans change in the face of unexpected needs and realities. I teach my students that we control the confidence and creativity we bring to each new mystery and experience," said Ms. Shelley Faerber.
In her 15 years of teaching, Ms. Faerber has used her philosophy and skills to teach middle school students the values of curiosity, decision-making, and enjoying the journey of their lives. In preparing students for the world waiting for them outside of school, Ms. Faerber brings her experiences to the classroom. She has tutored students in China, helped build houses locally, done tsunami relief work in the hardest hit location of Indonesia, and been a foster mother.
As a former student of hers said, "She has not only dedicated her life to teaching, but to the hearts of the kids that are around her."
Ms. Faerber has served as a seventh grade language arts teacher for the past 10 years. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State University and is certified in cross-cultural studies and ESL. She is currently working on her master's of divinity.
Mattie O. Haskins Elementary School
USD 382 Pratt
Focus, dedication, and commitment-these traits are continually used by students, colleagues, and parents to describe Mrs. Diane Ladenburger. As the overseer of a "garden of children"-the definition of the German word kindergarten-Mrs. Ladenburger's in charge of caring, nourishing, and guiding each child's growth.
One child in particular remembers Mrs. Ladenburger's affect on her life. "I have been hearing-impaired since I was 18 months old," said the student. "When I started kindergarten, Mrs. Ladenburger made me feel accepted and included me in class. She took a sign language class then taught the whole class sign language ... Because of Mrs. Ladenburger, I did not know I was hearing-impaired or felt like I was different from other kids."
As an award-winning teacher with 25 years of experience and active member of her community, Mrs. Ladenburger hopes she is a role model for students. "I try to plant the seeds of compassion ... (I hope students) will bloom into adults willing to give their time and talents to philanthropic needs."
Mrs. Ladenburger has taught kindergarten at Haskins Elementary for the last 12 years. She received her bachelor's degree from Fort Hays State University and her master's degree from Friends University.
Emporia High School
USD 253 Emporia
Having the ability to transform "a class of wandering focus and sophomoric behaviors, to a team of young scientists with an impressive level of interest and engagement" is one of Mrs. Marilyn McComber's skills, according to a colleague. With over 30 years of teaching, Mrs. McComber said that "some 5,268 students later-give or take a few-there is still joy in teaching."
But it is not just her joy and continuation of learning that keeps her going. As one colleague writes, "It's one thing to develop into a teacher of impressive skills, knowledge and abilities. It's quite another to give of oneself and time to assure that others can also have extraordinary opportunities to grow in that direction."
Mrs. McComber was named the 2007 Emporia NEA Master Teacher in December 2006. Along with other teaching awards, in 2005 she successfully completed the difficult work to become a National Board Certified Teacher.
Mrs. McComber has taught science at Emporia High School for the last 14 years. She received her bachelor's degree from Emporia State University and her master's degree from the University of Houston.
Angela K. Miller
Junction City Middle School
"Throughout my career, very few things have been more satisfYing than witnessing the moment a student's brain locks around a difficult mathematics concept," said Mrs. Angela "Angie" Miller. With over 10 years of teaching experience, she has often witnessed these moments once she gets students over "math phobia."
In 2004, Mrs. Miller received the US Department of Education's American Star of Teaching. This annual award is given to one teacher in each state who successfully uses creative teaching methods and increases student achievement. As one colleague said, "Her value ... lies in her naturally helping spirit and her nonjudgmental approach to empowering learners of any age."
"(Superheroes are) always taking time out of their lives to help other people. People don't even know," said a former student. "I see Mrs. Miller as a superhero." Mrs. Miller has taught math at Junction City Middle School since 2003. She received
her bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State University.
Lincoln Elementary School
USD 489 Hays
At four years old, a little girl imitated a much older sister who was a teacher. Putting on the sister's high-heeled shoes and carrying an old grade book, the little girl conducted her own school. It wasn't too much longer when, at the age of 17, she actually began her teaching career.
Now, nearly 60 years later, Miss Miller-who dresses in the colorful clothing her kindergarten students like-looks every now and then at women in business, wearing fancy clothes in offices and envies them for a minute, before thinking, "But how boring would that job be compared to teaching."
"Miss Miller is a role model for all professionals; one leaves her presence uplifted, inspired, and ready to pursue new avenues of learning in the classroom, and a clear understanding that education is truly the most important profession on the face of the earth," said a colleague.
Miss Miller has been a kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary School since 1965. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University.