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2011 Award Winners

2011 Kansas Master Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Master Teachers Honored

February 2011

Seven teachers representing schools of all sizes were selected as the 2011 Kansas Master Teachers. They were:

  • Sonda Copeland, art, Manhattan High School;
  • ESU alumna Teresa Disberger, math, Council Grove Middle School;
  • Martha Hadsall, third grade, Harper Elementary School;
  • Rick Hildebrand, K-12 art, Barnes-Hanover-Linn school district;
  • Nance Pence, social studies, Blue Valley North High School;
  • Janice Romeiser, special education instructional coach, Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative; and Resource Center director, The Teachers College, ESU;
  • Marcia Troutfetter, physical education, Salina South Middle School.


2011 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.

Sonda J. Copeland

Art Teacher

Manhattan High School

USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden

It is no secret that today's students see life differently than their classroom predecessors of just 20 years ago. Art education, with its increasing exploration of digital creation and manipulation techniques, has pushed instructors like Sonda Copeland to step outside their comfort zones and work with materials new and unknown.

Sonda teaches an to ninth through twelfth grade students at USD 383's Manhattan High School.

"Yes, I have a love of age-old media and want to reach my students skills in painting, ceramics, stained glass and sculpture," Copeland writes. Bur she encourages students to "purposely collide the skill of their hands with the knowledge and imagination of their minds using whatever media is available to them."

Former students say that Sonda makes assignments more than a project to be completed, turned in and forgotten about. "We wrote about what we liked and didn't like about our work, which taught us that we, as artists, were never really done with our pieces; there was always some way to improve upon our skills," explains one.

While Sonda works to make sure her students see their art as a pan of the larger world, she also helps her teaching colleagues integrate more an in their classes. "She has a wealth of knowledge not only about the subject she reaches but also the children she works with," writes a new teacher who finished her student teaching under Sonda's mentoring.

"Her love for the subject and the students she teaches is apparent in every lesson she creates and teaches," the teacher concludes.

Accomplished in a variety of artistic media, The Kansas An Educators Association named Sonda its 2007 Overall Outstanding Art Educator in Kansas.

Sonda Copeland earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Hays Stare University. She holds a Master of Science degree and English as a Second Language endorsement from Kansas State University. Sonda earned National Board Certification in 2004.

Teresa Disberger

Math Teacher

Council Grove Middle School

USD 417 Morris County

She's lovingly - and respectfully - known as "Miss D," both by former students and their parents. Teresa Disberger has earned her place in the hearts of Council Grove students by sharing her personal concern for them and relaying an attitude of trust during the 23 years she has taught in the Morris County school district.

"When students return to visit the school, the first stop for most is Teresa's room," writes a colleague. "A few years ago, the eighth grade class selected 'Miss D' to be the speaker at their promotion. What a tribute!" the colleague exclaims.

Those choices her students have made - such as returning to visit her classroom - are the rewards Teresa reaps for her emphasis on teaching students to think for themselves.

"Technology has given students the ability to look up solutions to problems, but what a student requires is the ability to reason if that solution makes sense," Teresa writes. "I have strived to ask 'why' or 'why not' questions, hoping that with students having to explain and think about the why or why not, the reasoning will come."

A seventh and eighth grade mathematics teacher since 1996, her inspiration for students to overcome their initial fear of math makes her a favorite among Council Grove parents.

"Teresa was able to turn a light bulb on for my daughter that made everything bright when it came to math and understanding that asking for help was not a fault, but a way to learn," writes one mother.

"When that light bulb goes on for one of my students, I feel that thrill of learning, the reason I went into education," says Teresa, herself a product of the Council Grove school system.

Teresa Disberger earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Emporia State University. She has additional graduate hours from Friends University, Baker University, the University of Denver, Kansas State University and ESU.

Martha Hadsall

Third Grade Teacher

Harper Elementary School

USD 361 Anthony-Harper

Although nearly 40 years of teaching may have tempered the idealism of a college sophomore formulating her educational philosophy for a class assignment, the years have only served to mold, change and challenge Martha Hadsall's determination.

Hadsall, a third grade teacher in USD 361's Harper Elementary School, sees education as " opportunity for each student to learn, develop and progress toward their academic, personal, physical and emotional potential."

"At the end of each school year, I believe I have instilled a sense of wonder about the world, a desire to learn, an interest in history, an appreciation of art, a fascination with numbers, the excitement of self-expression through speaking or writing, and the joy of reading in each third grade student."

A pretty tall order, wouldn't you say? But Hadsall, a 2007 finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year, more than delivers on her assessment. Listen to the words of Josh Anderson, 2007 Kansas Teacher of the Year: "To hear Martha talk about her classroom and the children she teaches is to listen to a master class on teaching and learning. Woven into her stories and tales of projects and playgrounds are all the values and philosophies that she has spent her entire career perfecting, chief among which is a common-sense practicality that can only come from a lifetime of teaching," Anderson says.

One colleague Martha mentored as a student teacher suggested she should write a "How to Be a Remarkable Teacher" book. "She holds the minds of young children close to her heart. She is what makes kids love to go to school," the colleague writes.

Martha Hadsall earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University. Her master's degree is from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and she earned reading specialist certification from Wichita State University.

Rick Hildebrand

K -12 Art Teacher

Linn Public Schools

USD 223 Barnes/Hanover/Linn

"I embrace teaching as an opportunity to inspire and empower."

Those powerful words form the first sentence of Rick Hildebrand's educational philosophy. Here are a few more:

"I encourage students to challenge existing boundaries by teaching them to make the familiar different and question how they have come to know what they believe to be true about their world. This helps students see boundaries, whether personal or social, as constructed and affords them an opportunity to challenge and move beyond them."

For Rick, who has taught kindergarten through 12th grade art at USD 223's Linn school system for the past 24 years, the words ring especially and poignantly true after a 2003 auto accident in which he was involved.

"What makes Mr. Hildebrand unique is that he is a quadriplegic," says Michael D. Savage, Linn Public Schools principal. "But, as I am fond of saying, a person does not teach with his arms and legs-a true educator teaches with their heart!" Savage continues.

"Yes, Rick loves art, but he loves his students even more. When I hear what his students have to say about Mr. Hildebrand, it is obvious they love him also," writes a colleague.

Rick's achievements earned him a Peter John Loux Award in 2009. The award recognizes three Kansans who have demonstrated exceptional desire and dedication in overcoming disabilities. He is also a 1997 winner in the Kansas Artist Postcard Series, sponsored by the Association of Community Arts Agencies of Kansas.

"In my view, teaching is not about instructing or imparting information to students as if their minds were waiting to be filled with my knowledge," Rick writes. "Rather, teaching is igniting learning, empowering students to take responsibility for their learning, inspiring courage to grow intellectually, cultivating curiosity, providing opportunities for developing relationships, clarifying values, uplifting the spirit and igniting action."

Rick Hildebrand earned two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in art and another in psychology, from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He also earned a master's degree from SWOSU.

Janice K. Romeiser

Special Education Instructional Coach and The Teachers College Resource Center Director

Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative and Emporia State University

In Janice Romeiser's world, emphasizing the importance of reading starts at a very early age. Newborn, in fact.

A co-founder of the local Read to Your Bunny literacy project, Janice visits new parents and delivers copies of the Rosemary Wells book by the same name. Now in its fourth year in Emporia, books, information and bunnies have been delivered to nearly 1,600 babies and their parents.

The activity is one example of Janice's commitment to inspiring students, teachers, staff and parents to learn something new daily.

Beginning her teaching career in 1966 in an elementary classroom, Janice continued a daily challenge to spark her students' interest in learning. "I was lucky to collaborate with fellow teachers in a new approach for learners, commonly called 'Inclusion' at the time," Janice relates. That involvement spurred new learning experiences and a chance to share ideas and practices at local, state and national presentations.

Through 29 and 1/2 years of teaching at Neosho Rapids, Janice worked with many students with challenges, all within her regular education classroom. Janice's teaching interests evolved into the arena of special education, prompting her to gain licensure as a K -12 educator for the learning disabled. It is in that capacity that Janice now finds herself in a highly unusual dual role: 1) Special Education Reading Coach for the Flint Hills Special Education Cooperative, where she works with teachers, students and staff in two Emporia elementary schools; and 2) directing The Teachers College Resource Center/Instructional Materials Center at Emporia State University.

Her work in that second responsibility earns praise from Dr. Ken Weaver, associate dean of The Teachers College at ESU: "Teachers are doing better jobs and preservice teachers are receiving better preparation because of Janice's tireless leadership and efforts," Weaver writes.

A 2002 Kansas Teachers Hal l of Fame inductee, Janice Romeiser earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University, and received her special education certification at Emporia State University.

Marcia Troutfetter

Physical Education Teacher

Salina South Middle School

USD 305 Salina Public Schools

An important part of Marcia Troutfener's teaching toolkit has four legs, a wet nose and a tail, and loves ro get involved in games with her students. Camry, a service dog, provides an extra spark in Marcia's physical education classroom at Salina South Middle School.

"I believe in and firmly advocate for the importance of physical education in helping students develop lifelong habits of fitness and healthy behavior," Marcia declares. "My discussions with students in class have made me painfully aware that their opportunity ro exercise and develop good nutritional habits is otten being addressed only at school."

For Marcia, the key to motivating students is helping them experience success - no matter how small. Her educational philosophy is further enriched by teaching special needs students.

"I had no formal training in how to work with :1 these students, yet it didn't take me long ro realize how special these young people are," she writes, "emphasizing her belief that physical education is an area in which inclusion can enhance the experience of both the special student and the regular student.

A case manager for individuals with disabilities notes Marcia's positive attitude toward students and her willingness to support students with their individual needs. "She incorporates regular education students into her class and pairs them with students that need more assistance," the observer writes.

Marcia's enthusiasm inspires her students to pursue careers in education. "I recently switched my area of study so I can help kids like Mrs. Troutfener has helped me and many others," writes one former student.

Marcia Trourfener earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and K -12 physical education from Kansas Wesleyan University, which honored her as an inductee in its Athletic Hall of Fame.