Newman University grad receives Distinguished Teacher Award

Natalie Hertel

Newman University alumna Sarah McDaniel has received a Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award from the Wichita School District, USD 259. McDaniel was selected for the award in the New Teacher-Secondary category. McDaniel teaches biology and anatomy at Wichita South High School.

McDaniel's principal, Cara Ledy, nominated McDaniel for the award, and USD 259 Board Members observed McDaniel working in her classroom before she was selected. McDaniel was notified Feb. 21 that she would be receiving the award.

McDaniel graduated from Newman in the fall of 2011 with an elementary education major and a secondary endorsement in sciences. Professor of Education Don Hufford, Ph.D., who was one of McDaniel's education instructors at Newman, was not surprised by her award.

"A thought from one of Sarah's reflection papers might provide an insight into why she was successful with students," Hufford said. "She wrote: 'The teacher should help the student determine who he is, and who he is becoming, and aid the student in the process of becoming.' This attitude would translate into Sarah being able to relate to that student in a way that allows the student a sense of being respected and cared for as a human being, and not as a test-taking machine."

Another one of McDaniel's teachers, Visiting Instructor in Education Carolyn Muehring, M.E., explains her success.

"Sarah McDaniel belongs in a classroom full of eager students," Muehring said. "She is a natural because she is interested in every subject and carries forth an enthusiasm for learning that is exemplary."

For more information on the Distinguished Classroom Teacher Awards from USD 259, read the story on The Wichita Eagle website: http://www.kansas.com/2012/02/27/2232584/wichita-school-district-names.html.

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