The Pittsburg State University College of Education will honor three teachers and an administrator for their distinguished service, excellence, and outstanding efforts at the annual Clyde U. Phillips Awards Recognition Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of the Overman Student Center. Student scholarships will also be awarded as part of the ceremony. A reception will precede the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Kansas East and West rooms.
The Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Service Award is given to one teacher and one administrator whose careers have been highlighted by significant achievement and excellence in education. This year, the awards go to Timothy Vesco, a fourth grade teacher at Frontenac Elementary School, and Kent Wire, the principal at Chanute High School.
Tim Vesco - Distinguished Service (Teacher)
Vesco earned his bachelor of science degree in education in 2001and his master of science degree in educational leadership in 2009, both from PSU.
He has taught fourth grade at Frank Layden Elementary School in Frontenac for 13 years. He was the National Youth Sports Program sports instructor and math and science coordinator for five years.
Nominators praised Vesco’s creative teaching techniques. He frequently uses music to introduce or reinforce topics and he has created videos with music to popular songs to teach students about the regions of the United States. Vesco has uploaded his teaching videos to You Tube for other teachers to use and teachers as far away as Massachusetts have used these videos in their own classrooms.
Vesco plays a large role in coordinating Frontenac’s State Assessment Assembly each year and creates lyrics to popular songs that relate to doing well on the tests. He is an advocate of technology and uses it constantly in his classroom.
Vesco received the 2005-2006 Clyde U. Phillips outstanding elementary educator award, the 2000 Pittsburg State University Golden Gorilla Award and the 2009 and 2010 Uniserv Southeast/KNEA Create Award.
Kent Wire - Distinguished Service (Administrator)
Kent Wire earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from PSU in 1982 and his district level leadership degree in educational leadership in 2011, both from Pittsburg State.
Wire began his career at Greensburg High School as a science and physical education teacher and coach. He moved to Ark City High School in 1987 to become their science teacher and coach. From there he became the assistant principal at Fort Scott High School in 1995 and served in that capacity until he became the principal at Chanute High School in 1999.
Wire is a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals, United School Administrators, Safe and Prepared Schools Task Force, Main Street Chanute Board of Trustees, and Osa and Martin Safari Museum Board of Trustees.
Outstanding Educator Award
The Outstanding Educator Award goes to persons who have shown, within their first seven years of service, the potential to make significant contributions to education. Two awards, one for elementary level and one for secondary, are given. The 2014 Outstanding Educator Awards go to Melissa Box, a teacher at Carthage (Mo) Junior High School, and Cory Martin, a second grade teacher at Frank Layden Elementary School in Frontenac.
Melissa Box graduated from PSU with a bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy. In 2007 she received her teaching certificate for psychology, math, and ESOL. Box teaches seventh grade pre-Algebra and seventh and eighth grade elementary math.
At Carthage, Box volunteered to start a pilot program with the growing Hispanic population in the city and has developed and implemented their first English Language Learner math classes, which now includes beginning math for non-speakers of English as well as pre-algebra for many of the Spanish speaking students.
In addition to her classroom duties, Box has developed an after-school program for junior high girls who may come from single parent homes, and/or are disadvantaged in some way. She exposes them to health and beauty advice from local experts, provides opportunities for eating out in diverse restaurants, attends movies, takes them bowling, teaches them arts and crafts, and provides cooking opportunities.
Cory Martin graduated from Pittsburg State University in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in education. In 2010 she earned her masters degree in English for speakers of other languages, also from PSU. She is the first person in her family to earn a college degree.
Martin has taught at Frank Layden Elementary in Frontenac for six years. In addition to her normal second grade teaching duties, she teaches third graders in the afterschool program called Get on Board, helping to strengthen their math and reading skills.
The Clyde U. Phillips awards were established in memory of Clyde U. Phillips, a graduate of Pittsburg State University and a well-known Kansas educator. Phillips, who met his wife, Fern Field Phillips when they were both students at PSU, completed his career in education as the superintendent of schools in Hays. In their will, the Phillipses bequeathed a sum of money to support the awards.
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