First-grade teacher Kassie Shook walked into the library at Sunflower School on Wednesday for what she thought was a collaboration meeting with the entire teaching staff.
Then she was called out in front of the class by Principal Sue Hosey.
“I thought, ‘Oh no, what have I done?’” Shook said with a laugh.
What she did was to earn the 2009 Lawrence Master Teacher designation, an honor given once a year to an outstanding educator, nominated by fellow teachers, parents and former students.
“It’s overwhelming, actually,” Shook said.
Shook is on her second tour at Sunflower, where she has been teaching a total of 12 years. She spent another three teaching in Colorado, but longed to return to the place she considered home.
“We were lonely for Lawrence,” Shook said. “It’s pretty amazing to be back.”
Shook had plenty of nominations for the award from parents, peers, and even a former Master Teacher.
“She establishes an exuberant culture of learning,” Margie Coggins, the 1995 Master Teacher, said of Shook.
Parent Sonja Kaufman said Shook’s “teaching style is my dream come true for my daughters.”
The honor comes with $2,500 from KU Credit Union.
“I would have been floored with $2.50,” Shook said. “Off the top of my head, I’m thinking my student loans.”
The district will also nominate Shook for the Kansas Master Teacher award, which has gone to a Lawrence teacher three times in the past 20 years.
Shook’s picture will also hang in the district office’s hall of honor.