2008 Award Winners
2008 Kansas Master Teachers
* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient
Kansas Master Teachers Announced
Emporia State University announces seven teachers as the 2008 Kansas Master Teachers. They are:
- Alice Bertels, Auburn-Washburn;
- Lisa Colwell, Hays;
- Lori Atkins Goodson, Wamego;
- Ronda Hassig, Blue Valley (Overland Park);
- Deborah Nauerth, Manhattan-Ogden;
- Shannon Ralph, Dodge City; and
- Kenna Reeves, ESU.
The Kansas Master Teacher Award will celebrate its 55th anniversary this year with the induction of the teachers at the end of February.
Emporia State University has honored 401 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."
The teachers will be honored on February 27 with a day of events at Emporia State. This will include a tour of the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the One Room Schoolhouse on campus, lunch with ESU President Michael Lane and the Master Teacher Award Dinner in the evening. Reservations for the dinner are required and must be received by 5 p.m. on February 15. The Master Teachers will give a seminar, “Teachers: Lighting the Way,” from 2:30-3:45 p.m. on that day in Visser Hall’s Walter and E.C. Jones Conference Center. A reception will be held from 5:15 to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Kanza Room. Both the seminar and the reception are open to the public.
Nominations come from local teacher associations, educational organizations and colleagues. A committee representing educational organizations across Kansas selected the finalists in January. The seven chosen teachers will be honored with a day of tours, seminars and receptions on February 27 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.
Washburn Rural Middle School
USD 437 Auburn-Washburn
"Whether it's inspiring students to become educators, working with hearing impaired students, having a "WERC"ing (Wonder, Explore, Research, Create) lunch with gifted students or authoring a book, Mrs. Alice Bertels "is one of the true phenoms laboring within the field of education today. She is a team player, global investigator, bilingual, compassionate, hilarious, modest, published workaholic," writes a colleague.
This award-winning teacher and author is an active community member who started her career over 20 years ago as a teacher of deaf/hard of hearing students. She writes that while teaching each skill is important" ... it is the way these skills are conveyed that makes each teacher unique."
And her impact extends beyond the classroom. One colleague writes, "She does an excellent job of getting students to view things outside of their normal perspective, getting students out of the building and seeing things that they might not normally have an opportunity to experience."
Mrs. Bertels is in her fifth year as a gifted facilitator for grades 7-8 at Washburn Rural Middle School. Prior to 2003, she worked in elementary schools in Junction City, Haysville, Wichita, and Topeka. She earned her bachelor's degree from Kansas State University, a master's degree in deaf education from the University of Kansas, and a second master's in gifted education from Kansas State.
Hays High School
USD 489 Hays
"Believe it or not, some students are not excited to learn mathematics," states Mrs. Lisa Colwell. As one student writes, "How anyone can get excited about trig functions, I will never know - but Mrs. Colwell does. And something about that excitement always seemed to spread to her classes, because as long as she was eager to teach, students were eager to learn."
Her example has led others - including young women - to not only go into teaching, but to become math teachers. "(In college) my education and psychology classes told me that girls were typically better at English and boys were better at math and science," writes a former student. "I thought, 'Mrs. Colwell never let on that I wasn't supposed to be good at math.' It was then that I really understood what she had done for me and what it really took to be a great teacher."
An award-winning teacher with 26 years of experience and active member of her community, Mrs. Colwell became a national board certified teacher in 2002. Ms. Colwell is in her 13th year of teaching math at Hays High School. Previously she taught for 13 years in Victoria, Kansas. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University.
Wamego High School
USD 320 Wamego
"When I was a first-grader, my mom became a high school secretary in our small town. I spent afternoons in that building ... the high school became a comfortable place where I discussed books with the English teacher, shot baskets with the coach and principal and talked snakes and birds with the biology teacher. Because I grew up feeling so comfortable in the school, I want others to feel the same," writes Dr. Lori Goodson.
Now she has her own classroom that, according to several accounts, has enough books to rival the collections of some libraries and bookstores. She is an active professional; one of her most noteworthy projects was the Kansas Family Writing Project, which draws families together to write and publish works relevant to their lives. As a colleague writes, "In the process, they benefit their communities while growing as writers. Through Dr. Goodson's leadership, the (project) has grown to over five different area schools and impacted hundreds of students and their families."
She successfully completed the extensive work to become a national board certified teacher in 2003 while also pursuing a Ph.D. Dr. Goodson has taught in the Wamego school district for eight years. She received her bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State University, a master's degree from the University of Kansas, and her doctorate from Kansas State University.
Harmony Middle School
USD 229 Blue Valley
"Education, for many of our students, is the crucial place for mapping the way to becoming an adult," states Mrs. Ronda Hassig. "I try to role model the adult I hope they will become: an adult that is kind, compassionate, enthusiastic, free thinking, and ready to help save the world."
This award-winning educator offers both passion and dedication to her students. "From teaching research skills, persuasive techniques, and technology tools, to sharing her travels and love of history, Ronda impacts every student in our building," writes a colleague. In 2003, she successfully completed the rigorous work to become a national board certified teacher.
A former student writes, "I remember her giving the most vivid presentations on a variety of topics, from the Holocaust to the Civil Rights Movement and much more. She was always traveling across the globe to gather more experiences and photographs so she could show us the world. Her presentations were by far the most dynamic, with slides, music, primary sources, and her own stories and experiences."
Mrs. Hassig is in her 16th year as a library media specialist at Harmony Middle School in Overland Park. She has also worked in Gladstone, Missouri; Lawrence, and Kansas City, Kansas. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas, and two master's degrees from Kansas State University.
Amanda Arnold, Bluemont, and Lee Elementary Schools
USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden
"It is my goal to get students out of their comfort zones and challenge them to new learning that requires problem solving and perseverance. Our actions influence our destiny and my students will need these characteristics to successfully carry them through life," writes Mrs. Deborah Nauerth.
From guiding students through a grant-writing project to fund new ADA approved playground equipment, to raising money to buy supplies for a school in Iraq, to blending gifted students with other students to work on advanced mathematics concepts to improve test scores, she challenges her students to be "everyday heroes." Deciding to practice what she advised, she took on her own challenge in 2006 and successfully completed the arduous task of becoming a national board certified teacher.
"Touching the lives of others and using one's talents to make the world better are character traits she instills in her students and strives for herself," a colleague writes. "She challenges her students to seek solutions and not accept perceived barriers, as well as to understand that there may be more than one way to solve a problem," said the parents of a former student.
For the past eight years Mrs. Nauerth has worked as a gifted facilitator at elementary schools in the Manhattan area. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State University.
Dodge City High School
USD 443 Dodge City
Mrs. Shannon Ralph admits she works hard at creating the proper environment for her students to grow, both academically and as young adults. "(Teachers) have the awesome opportunity to provide stability, direction, and leadership to students; for some, this is their only chance to learn these lessons," she writes.
"Shannon's expectations for each student are such that each will be challenged. The end result is that most of her students actually come out of her classes LIKING science," writes a colleague. "One of Mrs. Ralph's greatest tools is her ability to relate the subject matter in a memorable and interesting way," writes a student. "I know hand gestures that, incomprehensible to almost anyone else, will be recognized by fellow 'Ralphites' as the movements of a carrier protein embedded in the cellular membrane."
As the parents of rwo former students said, 'The message that Life and the study of it are beautiful can only be translated by a Master Teacher."
Besides teaching, Mrs. Ralph is involved in numerous school activities and serves as an active member of her community. She has been a high school biology teacher at Dodge City High School since 2001 and has taught in Kansas schools for 13 years. She received her bachelor's degree from Washburn University and a master's degree from Fort Hays State University.
Emporia State University
Studies have shown the fear of public speaking ranks up there with the fear of death. So you could say Mrs. Kenna Reeves has been helping people face their worst fears for over 30 years.
How does she do this? According to one colleague, "She encourages her students to think, to make connections, to practice, and to feel that if they make mistakes they will not be ridiculed or treated negatively. What a gift she possesses; the love for her students and the love for teaching."
As a very active member in her profession, community, department, and university, Mrs. Reeves is a popular instructor and has received numerous awards. "What makes (this award) so special in her case is that she has been a successful high school and university teacher, and she has begun a legacy of training teachers to be successful teachers in the public schools," writes a colleague.
But Mrs. Reeves believes the legacy comes from her students: "The best part of teaching is what 1 learn from my students every Single time 1 step into my classroom."
Mrs. Reeves has worked as an instructor in the Department of Communication and Theatre at ESU for over 20 years. Previously she taught at Emporia, Chase County, El Dorado and Wabaunsee High Schools. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from ESU.