Dr. Anke Maria Neumann Wells, a native of Germany, entered the University of Kansas as a Fulbright student in 1963 to do graduate work in the Department of Geography (M.A., 1965; Ph.D., 1979) and taught Physical Geography at the Universities of Minnesota, Oregon, and Kansas before entering the Kansas Public School System in 1984.
There are several awards Dr. Wells particularly cherishes: Kansas German Teacher of the Year (Duden Award) in 1997; Nikolaus Drake Richardson Memorial Teacher/Educator Award in 2000; Seaman High School Teacher of the Year in 2001, and Kansas Foreign Language Teacher of the Year in 2002. Most recently, Dr. Wells received the Liebermann Teaching Excellence Award for Adjunct Faculty at Johnson County Community College in 2011.
After teaching Geography and German for three years at Topeka West High School and one semester of German at Washburn University, she was hired for the new German Program at Seaman High School in Topeka in 1988. There she taught German at all levels, Modern German Society, and German Customs and Culture; sponsored German Club, National German Honor Society, a student exchange program with a high school in Marburg, Germany, (SEAMAPP), and Model United Nations; and coached Girls Soccer and Scholars’ Bowl until her retirement in 2005.
In Fall 2006, Dr. Wells substituted in German at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, and in Spring of 2007, at Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas. She also was a German Specialty Teacher at Prairie Moon Waldorf School in Lawrence, Kansas, during the 2007-2008 school year. Currently, Dr. Wells is an Adjunct Associate Professor of German at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and a German instructor at the German School of Northeast Kansas in Lawrence.
Dr. Wells has been Vice-President, President, and Past President of the Kansas Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (KATG) from 1987-1992 and 2009-2011, served as Testing and Awards Chairperson, and in several other capacities for this organization. She is a Life Member of the Kansas World Language Association (KSWLA), has been involved in the writing of World Language Standards for the State of Kansas, and worked for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Dr. Wells has received numerous honors and awards, including several scholarships from the Goethe Institute for Summer Workshops in Germany, one from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) for a FLES Summer Workshop in Minnesota, one from Kansas State University for participation in a yearlong National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Foreign Language Institute, and was listed several times in Who's Who Among American Teachers.
In her community, Dr. Wells has volunteered in 4-H for 29 years. She served as Project Leader in the McLouth Crackerjacks 4-H Club, countywide Forestry Leader for Jefferson County, and Superintendent at the Jefferson County 4-H Fair. In 2007, she received the 25-year 4-H Emerald Clover Pin. Her son Axel, also a KU Department of Geography alumnus, lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Michelle and his two children Katelyn and Alexander.