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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pitt State honors education alumni for achievements

The Pittsburg State University College of Education will honor four educators and an administrator for their distinguished service, excellence, and outstanding efforts at the annual Clyde U. Phillips Awards and Recognition Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, in McCray Recital Hall. Student scholarships will also be awarded as part of the ceremony.

Distinguished Service Award
The Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Service Award is given to one teacher and one administrator whose careers have been highlighted by significant achievement and excellence in education. This year, the administrator’s award goes to Barbara Albright, principal for Fort Scott Middle School in Fort Scott, Kan. The educator’s award goes to Melinda Messmer, 7th grade reading and social studies teacher for Westridge Middle School in Shawnee Mission, Kan.

Albright has been with the Fort Scott school district for nearly 30 years, beginning her career as a first grade teacher. She has received numerous awards as a teacher and as an administrator, and was most recently recognized with the 2008 Kansas Music Educators Association Honor Administrator award. Her career as an administrator has been highlighted with community involvement, creativity in improving learning skills and environments for students and teachers, as well as her endless efforts to support the arts in the classroom.

Messmer has been with the Shawnee Mission school district since graduating from PSU in 1993. She is active with the National Educators Association and the Kansas Exemplary Education Network. Messmer’s nominator for this award wrote, “Her positive attitude, love of teaching, and love for students are reflected in the outstanding quality of instruction that she displays.”

Outstanding Educator Award
The Outstanding Educator Award goes to persons who have shown, within their first seven years of service, the potential to make significant contributions to education. The 2008 Outstanding Educator Awards go to Amanda Johnson, elementary music teacher for Frank Layden Elementary in Frontenac, Kan.; and Rebecca Turnbull, 7th grade social science teacher for Pittsburg Middle School.

Johnson has been with the Frontenac school district since receiving her BSED in 2000. She is an active member of the Kansas Music Educators Association and the Youth Activities Team at the Keyhole Youth Center of Fort Scott. Johnson’s tenure at Frontenac has been highlighted by the success of her students’ musical programs, including the annual Veteran’s Day ceremony.

Turnbull received her BSED from PSU in 2003. After graduation, she worked for the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center as a youth case worker before returning to Pittsburg in 2005. Turnbull is active with the Kansas National Education Association, Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Turnbull has been described as a “natural educator” with a remarkable “commitment to learning, leadership, and now teaching.”

Excellence in Teaching Award
Additionally, an Excellence in Teaching Award is given each year to a PSU professor. The recipient of this year’s award is Trinity Davis, assistant professor for the PSU Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Davis received her BSED from PSU in 1997. She began her career teaching 1st and 2nd grades in Topeka and Blue Valley school districts as well as the Kansas City, Kan., school district, where she also served as a literacy coach. She has taught at PSU since 2004 and is active with the National Alliance of Black School Educators, International Reading Association, and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Her nominator wrote, “students recognize her deep appreciation for learning and seek her advice on a number of strategic areas, particularly reading.”

The Clyde U. Phillips awards were established in memory of Clyde U. Phillips, a graduate of Pittsburg State University and a well-known Kansas educator. Phillips, who met his wife, Fern Field Phillips when they were both students at PSU, known then as Kansas State College of Pittsburg, completed his career in education as the superintendent of schools in Hays. In their will, the Phillips bequeathed a sum of money to support the awards.

For more information about the Clyde U. Phillips awards and ceremony, contact the College of Education at 620-235-4518.

---Pitt State---