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2021 Recognition of Kansas Teachers

2021 Recognition of Kansas Teachers

* Special Award, ** Black Endowed Chair Recipient

Runtime: 4 min. 8 sec.

Kansas Master Teachers Program Recognizes All Kansas Teachers

April 19, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Kansas Master Teacher program is recognizing all educators of Kansas this year.

“This past year has been challenging for everyone, especially those on the frontline. This includes our K-12 teachers,” said Dr. Joan Brewer, dean of The Teachers College at Emporia State University, home of the Kansas Master Teacher program. “In honor of their steadfast dedication to educating Kansas youth, the Kansas Master Teacher acknowledges all Kansas teachers.”

Videos featuring previous Kansas Master Teachers will be released throughout the spring through its website,, and the college’s social media channels on Facebook,, and Twitter,

“Thank you to all the educators out there who have faced adversity during this ever-changing school year,” said Holly Bright, 2020 Kansas Master Teacher who teaches kindergarten at Grandview Elementary School in USD 490 El Dorado.

"Teachers found creative ways to build community and to address their students' social-emotional needs - all while learning to teach virtually," Nikki Chamberlain, 2016 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches chemistry at Salina South High School in USD 305 Salina. "This crisis underscored the importance of teachers and schools in our society. Your students needed you more this year than ever before and you met the challenge. Great work!"

“You have been a perfect example of a teacher who establishes relationships and maintains them, all while setting and achieving big goals,” said Adriane Falco, a 2016 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches music at Stanley Elementary School in USD 229 Blue Valley. “Now I encourage you to please go and celebrate because you deserve this honor.”

“I know this year’s been difficult with the different learning styles – teaching students in person and remotely, and sometimes both – but, as teachers, we always do what’s best for the kids,” said Todd Flory, a 2018 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches fourth grade at Wheatland Elementary School in USD 385 Andover. “All of you are doing a great job, so keep up the good work!”

“Congratulations!” said Chitra Harris, a 2018 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches science at Wichita High School South in USD 259 Wichita. “We can’t mask our appreciation. You are amazing teachers!”

“This past year, all teachers have worked really hard,” said Joan Hayden, a 2017 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches physical education at Fort Riley Middle School in USD 475 Geary County. “Enjoy your classes, enjoy your kids, enjoy your students, and please try to find the balance to enjoy your own family.”

“There’s no finer job then becoming a teacher!” said Michelle Hilliard, a 2019 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches math at Complete High School Maize in USD 266 Maize.

“This past year was hard, but teachers tapped into a superpower of the teaching profession: problem solving,” said Erica Huggard, a 2020 Kansas Master Teacher, who teaches science at Emporia High School in USD 253. “The changing world is always forcing them to think outside the box. This pandemic is no different. (Teachers) willingness to rise to the occasion to face challenges is part of who they are. Thank you to all the dedicated educators working through the pandemic and beyond.”

Since 1954, select teachers from schools across the state have nominated, selected, and named Kansas Master Teachers. Since 1980, Bank of America has pledged more than $100,000 to permanently endow the Kansas Master Teacher awards.

In spring 2020, the recognition day for the 2020 class of Kansas Master Teachers was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In October 2020, the program’s selection committee voted to suspend normal nomination procedures.