Distinguished Teachers 2014


Christian Schools

2014_Hoduski Mark Hoduski is a favorite among students at Maranatha Christian Academy High School in Shawnee. For the past 25 years, Mr. Hoduski has brought history to life as an enthusiastic social studies teacher. His commitment to his students remains steadfast as he strives to challenge them in class, coaches soccer and golf and opens his home for fellowship.

Additionally, Mr. Hodus   ki is the Social Studies Department Chair, the Mentor Teacher and Director of Professional Development Curriculum at Maranatha.

“Mr. Hoduski’s love of his students has always been evident. He firmly believes that even though a student graduates from the school, the student is still a part of Maranatha, and he stays in contact with many students,” said Boyd Beck, Retired Principal, Maranatha Christian Academy.

Mr. Hoduski holds a double major in History and Speech-Communications from Central Missouri State University (1985) and an M.S. in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (1997).

Diocese of Dodge City

2014_HaskellMissi Haskell is best described as active – in her classroom, in her church, in her family and in her community. As a physical education teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic School in Dodge City since 2006, she enjoys helping her students set and achieve goals, while working as a team. For example, she has been one of the most successful promoters in the state for Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart, to the benefit of her students and the American Heart Association.

“Mrs. Haskell is one of those exceptional leaders who empowers others to do great things. She never lets a moment pass in the classroom, the gym, during a game or in the hallway, to teach about good heayth and good morals,” said Chad Meitner, Principal, Scared Heart Cathedral Catholic School.

Mrs. Haskell earned her B.S. in Recreational Therapy and Psychology (1994) from Pittsburg State University and her teaching certification from Newman University (1999).

Independent Schools

2014_Burcham2Barbara Burcham is a highly esteemed, lauded and innovative preschool teacher at Wichita Collegiate, who infuses her classroom with love and laughter. For the past 25 years at Collegiate, Mrs. Burcham has encouraged her young students while she has skillfully included social and emotional learning.

As well as her creative talents as a classroom teacher, Mrs. Burcham is an outstanding mentor to new teachers and a resource to others. She also routinely stays after school to offer support to parents who need counsel.

In addition, Mrs. Burcham has won numerous awards at Wichita Collegiate including Outstanding Achievement Award for teaching and the Culture of Kindness Award.

“Barbara has a passion to inspire creativity and personal growth in her students. She sees the best in others and designs her curriculum to allow children the opportunity to both learn and play,” said Becky O’Hearn, Head of Early Childhood, Wichita Collegiate School.

Mrs. Burcham was awarded a B.A. in Speech and Language Pathology (1972) from the University of Alabama.


Lutheran Schools

2014_KurtzNeal Kurtz has been the principal and the sixth-through-eighth grade teacher at Linn Lutheran since 2007. His administrative and teaching career, however, dates back to 1971, and his tenure includes five Lutheran schools, with 20 years at Immanuel Lutheran in Osmond, Nebraska.

Mr. Kurtz is joyfully dedicated to his profession, his God and his family and has continually responded willingly when called to a new school or a new project. During his seven years at Linn, he provided new energy and enthusiasm that strengthened the school.

“Neal has a true servant mentality. His philosophy has always been to serve where he was needed,” said John Macy, Principal, Good Shepherd Lutheran School, Marysville. “He has been the model of a ‘Good and Faithful Servant.’ Neal is retiring after this school year. I count it as an honor to have known and worked with him.”

Mr. Kurtz earned both his B.S. degree (1971) and his master’s degree (1991) from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.


Diocese of Wichita

2014_Silva3Maira Silva has a deep rapport with her students, parents and staff members. As the Middle School Spanish teacher at Wichita’s St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School for the past 10 years, Mrs. Silva’s classes are rich in art, music and are spiritually focused.

Mrs. Silva is active in numerous other roles at her school as she serves as the Lead Teacher for the middle school Teacher Advisor program, chairs the AdvancED committee for school improvement, and created “The Raider Club,” which fosters le adership, bullying prevention and promotes prayer.

“Maira always treats her students with respect and as a result she is one of the most respected teachers in the school. She is also detailed in her planning and brings in guest speakers to her multi-cultural classes, so students can make real life connections,” said Mary Sweet, Principal, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School.

Mrs. Silva received her bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and a master’s degree in Education and her ESOL Endorsement from Newman University.

Diocese of Salina

2014_BrullRandolph Brull is an experienced, beloved science teacher and Department Head at Thomas More Prep-Marian Catholic High School in Hays. For the past 30 years, he has challenged his students to not only study physics, but to enjoy it through hands-on experiments and by making himself available outside the classroom.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Brull is the faculty sponsor of the Scholar’s Bowl and Chess team, supervises students in their independent science research projects at the state and regional level and plays in the TMP-M pep band.

“Randy Brull has faithfully served Thomas More Prep-Marian and the Salina Diocese for more than 32 years,” said Kathy Taylor, Principal, TMP-M. “He is the consummate servant leader. His energy and enthusiasm for the sciences and educating young people remains as vibrant and alive as when he first began his career.”

Mr. Brull received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology (1967), his master’s degree (1968) in Counseling and his teaching certification (1973) from Fort Hays State University.


2014_PetersonJosh Peterson joined the faculty at Thomas More Prep-Marian Academy after completing his student teaching at TMP-M, and has already made a positive impact on his students and school. Mr. Peterson thrives on a diverse class load and enjoys teaching all levels of math – remedial through advanced. Originally hired as an assistant wrestling coach, Mr. Peterson is now the head wrestling coach of both the senior and junior high teams. He is the Math Relay program sponsor and participates in school fundraisers, service days and athletic events. He volunteers for the local wrestling program and serves at his church.

Kathy Taylor, TMP-M Principal said, “Even with his long list of accomplishments and involvements, Josh’s most impressive contribution to the teaching profession is how much he cares about challenging each student to their full potential. They have in him, not only a great math teacher, but also a role model and inspiration.”

Mr. Peterson earned his B.S. degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education at Fort Hays State University (2010) and will complete his Master of Science degree in Health and Human Performances in May (2014) also from Fort Hays State.