In a surprise ceremony this morning, a Wakarusa Valley School first-grade teacher found out she is the 2007-2008 Lawrence Master Teacher.
Judy Kettle, who has taught 32 years in the district, stopped shaking long enough to get a hug from Superintendent Randy Weseman, as her colleagues, friends, family members and the entire elementary school looked on.
"I was not expecting this. I can't imagine a more meaningful morning of my whole life," Kettle said.
The district annually selects one master teacher to nominate for the Kansas Master Teacher program, sponsored by Emporia State University's Teachers College. The university will announce seven winners in the spring.
Candidates are selected based on "outstanding professional service, teaching effectiveness, constructive service to the community and zeal in promoting the advancement of education."
Weseman lauded Kettle for her innovation in the classroom and her relationship with students, parents and colleagues.
Wakarusa Valley Principal Elias Espinoza called Kettle a "consummate teaching professional."
"She is dedicated to her calling to teach," he said.
Kettle taught kindergarten and first grade at Cordley School for 11 years, and she has taught 17 years at Wakarusa Valley, 1104 East 1000 Road, except for two years at Kennedy School and a year at Central Junior High School.
The Lawrence district will also display Kettle's photo at district headquarters with past winners.