KU seniors honor high school teachers with Wolfe Family Teaching Award

LAWRENCE—Even though it’s been several years since University of Kansas seniors have set foot in high school teachers’ classrooms, the influence of many of those educators is not forgotten.

As their former students celebrate the milestone of graduation, three outstanding teachers from Kansas will be recognized with the 2012 Wolfe Family Teaching Award during commencement weekend. Nominations are submitted by KU seniors. Students from any major at KU can nominate their former teachers, and the winners can be teachers from anywhere in the world.

The award recipients are Deborah Eyestone, an English teacher at Great Bend High School in Great Bend; Lindsay Kincaid, an English and radio and broadcasting teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; and Joe Thimes, a physics teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. They were nominated by former students Paige Blevins, who nominated Eyestone; Kyle Kotzman, who nominated Kincaid; and Jaime Wilson, who nominated Thimes.

“What makes this award so special is that it offers students an opportunity to recognize the educators who truly impacted their lives. At a time when teachers are being assessed by tests scores and other variables that policy makers determine, students identifying lifelong impact is perhaps the greatest measure possible for a teacher’s true worth,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education. “There are few better rewards for a teacher than seeing their students succeed after they leave their classroom.”

Recipients each receive a cash award of $3,000, and their respective high schools each receive $1,000. The award winners were selected from a large pool of outstanding nominees by a committee of faculty, administrators and students from KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Education. Secondary school teachers from anywhere in the U.S. and abroad are eligible to be nominated by KU seniors.

The recipients will be honored during commencement weekend at the School of Education convocation ceremony and a dinner held in their honor.

The Wolfe Family Teaching Award was created in 2006 with a $250,000 gift from R. Dean Wolfe, business administration ’66 and juris doctorate ’69, and Cheryl L. Wolfe, Spanish education ’69, Clayton, Mo., through the Wolfe Family Foundation.

The award fund is managed by KU Endowment, the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.