Kathy Rathbun, a first-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Elementary School, was named the recipient Wednesday of "The Bobs' Award," a teaching excellence honor that includes a $10,000 check.
Rathbun received the surprise award Wednesday during an all-school assembly at the west Lawrence school.
"The learning environment she creates in the classroom is fun, encouraging, and focused on learning," said Myron Melton, the school's principal.
"Kathy was instrumental in providing leadership that produced our district Reading Initiative," Melton said in prepared remarks. "The skills that she exhibited so well in district professional development activities, she demonstrates daily with her own students."
Officially known as the "Special Award for Teaching Excellence," the yearly award is from the Lawrence Schools Foundation.
It became known as "the Bobs' Award" because it was first started by a group of Lawrence educators, businessmen and community leaders who all shared the first name, Bob. The benefactors chose to remain anonymous to focus attention on the winners and their academic contributions to the community.
Others who have received the Bobs' Award are Brian Anderson, Central Junior High School; Pam Bushouse, Free State High School; Victoria Beals, South Junior High School; Sue Siegfreid, Woodlawn Elementary; Gary Webber, Southwest Junior High , and Valeria Howland, Broken Arrow Elemetary School.
The award honors an educator who "exemplifies extraordinary instruction skills; reflects commitment to quality education and dedication to teaching; focuses on individual student achievement; administers to the whole child, guiding each student to achieve his full potential; and is deemed to be proficient, caring, adaptable and professional."
Rathbun received a bachelor's degree from Texas Women's University and taught preschool children in Texas for 10 years before moving to Lawrence.
In 1991, she was a paraeducator with the Title I reading program at Kennedy, Centennial and Woodlawn elementary schools. She served as interim Title I reading coordinator for the district before returning to the classroom in 1998 as a first-grade teacher at Centennial.
She became a first-grade tteacher at Langston Hughes when the school opened its doors in 1998.