Distinguished Teachers 2005


Christian Schools

05smithLinda Smith has been an outstanding first through fourth grade teacher, and director for both K-8 choral music and K-6 violin during the past 20 years at Maranatha Academy in Shawnee. Her optimistic spirit has served her well as she leads worship for chapels, and constructs creative projects with her students.

Mrs. Smith received her B.A. in music education (1963) and her elementary education certification (1966) from Ottawa University.

“Mrs. Smith is an ‘extra-mile’ teacher,” said Laura Burch, Maranatha Principal. “She meets the needs of each child she teaches. To that end she works with counselors and learning center teachers, as well as researching literature, to find the answers she needs. She partners with parents to accomplish the goals she sets for students.”


Diocese of Dodge City

05wurstRhonda Wurst is responsible for quadrupling the size of the technology department at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Garden City, where she has served as the librarian (1994-2003),  and computer and physical education teacher since 1994. Last year, her dedication included working with community organizations to obtain the proper equipment for the new track program.

She earned a bachelor’s of science from Kansas State University (1976).

“Rhonda is a master of time management, multi-tasking and classroom administration,” said Trina Delgado, St. Mary’s Catholic School Principal. “Each year, there is a library to prepare, athletic equipment to purchase and a technology program to oversee. Rhonda continually strives for the establishment and betterment of these very important programs within our school.”


Independent Schools

05schawangDon Schawang teaches speech, drama and ninth grade English, and also serves as Fine Arts Chair at Bishop Seabury Academy in Lawrence. Since 2000, Dr. Schawang has taught literature, directed performances of Shakespeare and coached forensics.

He holds a B.A. in English and creative writing (1990) and an M.A. in English and American literature (1992) from Wichita State University and a doctorate in theatre and film from the University of Kansas (2001).

“Dr. Schawang is a tremendous teacher and a phenomenal drama coach,” Chris Carter, Bishop Seabury Head of School, said. “His academic training would suggest that he should be teaching on a college campus. But Dr. Schawang knows what an impact he can have on a young person’s life by teaching high school.”


Lutheran Schools

05vanweyTerri Vanwey has been the beloved middle school language arts teacher at Holy Cross Lutheran School in Wichita for the past 28 years. She has continually built strong relationships with her students in the classroom and as an athletic coach. Mrs. Vanwey advises students regarding their move to high school and makes it a priority to attend her students’ high school functions.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in education (1974) and a master’s of library science (1975) from Emporia State University.

Mr. Bill Dieckhoff, Holy Cross Principal, said, “She has very high expectations from each of her students. They rise to the occasion and in turn are blessed with the basics of writing, which results in their ability to produce excellent term papers and other forms of writing.”


Diocese of Salina

05kelleySister Marie Kelley has faithfully served Sacred Heart High School in Salina for the past 60 years. During her tenure, she has taught chemistry, biology, home economics, physics, health, English and religion, and also worked in the Development Office. Her organization and pursuit of excellence enabled her students to succeed.

She obtained a B.S. in food and nutrition from Marymount College (1945), an M.A. in human nutrition, clothing and textiles from Kansas State University (1953) and an M.S. in physics from Notre Dame University (1962).

“Sister Marie’s professional demeanor maintained a fine balance of being understanding and sympathetic while remaining consistent and firm,” John Krajicek, Sacred Heart High School Principal, said. “She continually sustained high expectations for all her students, pushing them to go further than they ever thought possible.”


Diocese of Wichita

05dillonMarcia Dillon has taught social studies and religion at Trinity Catholic High School in Hutchinson since 1982, and was the 2002 Kansas State Social Studies Teacher of the Year. She helps her students relate current events to their Catholic faith, and daily prayers are the standard for her classes.

Mrs. Dillon received her B.A. in history (1982) from St. Mary of the Plains College, located in Dodge City.

“Mrs. Dillon constantly looks for ways to help all students find real success in the classroom. She not only cares about their academic progress but more importantly about their personal spiritual life,” Brian Cordel, Trinity High School Principal, explained. “She has a wealth of knowledge and is specifically strong in consistently integrating values and our faith in each lesson.”