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KU seniors honor high school teachers with Wolfe Family Teaching Award

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

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 Kansas teachers will be recognized with the 2013 Wolfe Family Teaching Award during KU’s 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:

  • Kenneth Bingman, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park
  • Travis Gatewood, Shawnee Mission South High School, Overland Park
  • Lynne Hewes, Cimarron High School, Cimarron

“This is a special award because it offers students an opportunity to recognize the educators who improved their lives,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education. “Policymakers try to assess teachers by tests scores and other variables, but students identifying lifelong impact is perhaps the greatest measure of a teacher’s true worth. There are few better rewards for a teacher than seeing 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 and Sciences and the School of Education. Secondary school teachers from anywhere in the United States 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.


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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
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44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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