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Kansas Master Teacher Award


2019 Class of Kansas Master Teachers Announced

Talented. Phenomenal. One in a million. These are the words used by the people who work and learn from the seven teachers chosen as the 2019 Kansas Master Teachers, announced today:

  • Paula Barr, Second-Grade Teacher at Quail Run Elementary School in USD 497 Lawrence;
  • Dedra Braxmeyer, Mathematics Teacher at Manhattan High School in USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden;
  • Laura Gaughan, Elementary Reading Specialist at O’Loughlin Elementary School in USD 489 Hays;
  • Michelle Hilliard, Mathematics Teacher at Complete High School Maize in USD 266 Maize;
  • Lisa Jarvis, English Language Arts Teacher at Council Grove Junior-Senior High School in USD 417 Morris County;
  • Carolynn Phalen, First-Grade Teacher at Grace E. Stewart Elementary School in USD 305 Salina; and
  • Linda Vena, Elementary Reading Specialist at Mission Trail Elementary School in USD 229 Blue Valley.

The 2019 master teachers represent 180 years of classroom experience.

Through the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, each Master Teacher will be presented with a check for $1000.

The recipients were selected by a nine-member committee including representatives from the Kansas Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals, Kansas Parent Teacher Organization, Kansas National Education Association, ESU’s Kappa Delta Pi student organization, and representatives of the 2018 Kansas Master Teacher class.

The 2019 Master Teachers will be honored on Master Teacher Day to be held Wednesday, April 3 at Emporia State University. On that day, as part of several recognition activities, the teachers will present a seminar at 2:30 p.m. in the W.S. and E.C. Jones Conference Center in Visser Hall. The teachers will then be honored during a social hour at 5:45 p.m. in Webb Hall Lobby of Emporia State’s Memorial Union followed by the banquet and award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in Webb Hall.

Tickets for the dinner cost $20, and reservations are required by Friday, March 22. For more information, see

Emporia State established the Kansas Master Teacher awards in 1954. The awards are presented annually to teachers who have served the profession long and well, who also typify the outstanding qualities of earnest and conscientious teachers. Information on the 65 years of educators named Kansas Master Teachers is available at

Since 1980, Bank of America has pledged more than $100,000 to permanently endow the Kansas Master Teacher awards. In 1984, the Black family of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, established an endowed chair for Kansas Master Teachers. The fund provides a stipend to bring two Master Teachers to Emporia State for several days. During this time, the teachers present to classes of education students.

About the Program

Emporia State University established the Kansas Master Teacher awards in 1954. The awards are presented annually to teachers who have served the profession long and well and who also typify the good qualities of earnest and conscientious teachers.


To be eligible for nomination, candidates who are active or retired teachers must have been a Kansas licensed teacher with at least five years of teaching experience in a Kansas P-12 school. Candidates who are active or retired post-secondary faculty must have taught or served in an instructional leadership role for at least five years in any Kansas P-12 school or community college, college, or university.

Qualified candidates demonstrate these qualities by submitting an application documenting his or her educational philosophy, professional practice, outstanding community engagement, continuous professional growth, and participation in professional organizations.

Nomination Process

Award candidates are typically nominated by a school district committee or an assigned school representative. Individuals may also self-nominate or be nominated by a professional organization, a parent, or other individual or group that would like to recognize a teacher. More than one individual may be nominated from a school or USD; however, only one person from a USD will be selected as a Master Teacher.

At the beginning of each calendar year, selection of seven award recipients is made by a selection committee. The committee is comprised of the president or designated representative from prominent educational organizations such as: Kansas-National Education Association, Kappa Delta Pi-International Honor Society in Education, Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Congress of Parents and Teachers, and United School Administrators. Two Master Teachers from the previous year also serve on the committee.

Kansas Master Teacher Recognition Day

Each year, selected teachers are recognized during a special Kansas Master Teacher Recognition Day at Emporia State University. During the day, the teachers participate in several activities including a seminar, social, and award dinner where each teacher is honored. Through the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation each of the selected teachers will receive a $1,000 stipend to be used for professional learning.

The Kansas Master Teacher Program expresses appreciation for the generosity of Bank of America (formerly Nations Bank and Bank IV - Emporia). Since 1980, this bank has pledged over $100,000 to permanently endow the Master Teacher Program.

Nomination Forms

Information about the nomination process, as well as the required forms, can be found here.

Questions?  Contact Lucie Eusey
Office: 620-341-5830
Dean's Office: 620-341-5367

Previous Kansas Master Teacher Winners

Winners of the award from present day to 1954 can be found by the year they received the award from here.