Distinguished Teachers 2006


Christian Schools

06FranklinJudy Franklin has creatively taught first-graders at Kansas City Christian School for the past 17 years. She feels so strongly about her students learning to read that she helped develop the school’s phonics-based reading program. In addition to her commitment to academics, Mrs. Franklin brings a strong Christian faith to the classroom. Her students, and their parents, thrive under her thoughtful and consistent guidance.

“Her dedication to this unique multi-sensory approach to reading, which also involves the dedication of the children and their parents, has resulted in our students consistently performing one to two grade levels above the national standard in the Stanford Achievement Test,” explained Karen Whitacre, Elementary Principal, Kansas City Christian School.

Mrs. Franklin earned a master’s degree in Education from Mid America Nazarene University in Olathe (1994) and a B.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska in Kearney (1973).


Diocese of Dodge City

06SchuetteBonnie Schuette’s dedication, professionalism and faith all make her an outstanding Catholic schoolteacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral. For the past 20 years, she has demonstrated a great desire to connect with each and every child. Mrs. Schuette’s devotion to her profession can be seen in the countless hours she has spent working with students after school, helping them to reach their full potential. In addition, she is a leader in the Sacred Heart school improvement plan and is a valuable mentor to younger teachers.

Wayne Winkler, Sacred Heart Cathedral Principal, said, “One of Mrs. Schuette’s greatest attribute is her devout faith. She lovingly shares her faith with her students in the classroom by her kind words and loving actions.”

Mrs. Schuette received an associate’s degree from Dodge City Community College (1975) and a B.S. from Saint Mary of the Plains College (1975), located in Dodge City.


Independent Schools

06MeissnerShirley Meissner is an outstanding third grade teacher at the Independent School (TIS) of Wichita. She brings innovative, integrated ideas to her classroom and has the ability to motivate her students intrinsically.

“Mrs. Meissner is a multi-sensory teacher, using numerous techniques to pique the interest and success of students; her enthusiasm and creativity set her apart as an outstanding educator,” Karen Norton, Head of School, The Independent School, explained. Her memorable projects have included holding class in a large inflated bubble made of plastic and duct tape.

Mrs. Meissner has served as the KAIRS representative for the KSDE Professional Standards Board since 2003. In addition, she currently co-chairs the North Central accreditation committee at TIS.

Mrs. Meissner received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Friends University (1978) and in February 2006, completed a master’s of arts degree in Teaching – also from Friends University.


Lutheran Schools

06OchsDave Ochs has been inspiring Holy Cross Lutheran middle school students for the past 25 years in his roles as both a social studies teacher and Athletic Director. A graduate of Holy Cross himself, Mr. Ochs has spent his entire career at the school. He is a favorite among the students. His extra efforts can be seen in the annual Holy Cross International Food Festival where his students research and prepare international food items for their families and friends.

“Dave Ochs is well respected by his colleagues, parents and students. He is a great influence in encouraging our students to take part in such activities as the Presidential Fitness Award program or to participate in our athletic department,” said Bill Dieckhoff, Holy Cross Lutheran School Principal. “He always has a listening ear for the students.”

In 1979, he received a bachelor’s of science degree from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.


Diocese of Wichita

06LeroSister Agnes Lero has taught in Catholic schools for the past 52 years. Since 1995, she has been a beloved fifth grade teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School in Chanute. During that time, her students have consistently met the Standard of Excellence in all subjects, as well as the Diocesan Standard of Excellence in religion. In Chanute, Sister Agnes became the technology coordinator and support person, and recently helped St. Patrick’s receive a grant that provided laptops for all of her students.

“Sister Agnes readily embraced the technology revolution because she realized that her students would have more opportunities than ever,” explained Frank Kennedy, Principal, St. Patrick Catholic School.

Sister Agnes is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita. She received a B.S. from St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City (1963) and her M.A. from Cardinal Stritch College, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1970).