While school may seem like child’s play for her students, kindergarten teacher Marla Davidson knows that it takes a lot of work and dedication to make it look easy.
Davidson, a 17-year veteran teacher, was recently recognized for her efforts by being named USD 428’s Teacher of the Year. She is now eligible to participate in the Kansas Teacher of the Year competition.
“Marla’s performance in the classroom is highly effective and her devotion to the profession is second to none,” said Tom Vernon, superintendent of schools. “This makes for an outstanding educator.”
“Because the district has so many wonderful, hard-working teachers, I feel very honored and humbled for this honor,” Davidson said. “I have learned so many teaching strategies from them, especially my colleagues at Lincoln Elementary School.
“I believe this award is also a tribute to Alvena Spangenberg, the late principal of Lincoln,” she said. “I still respect her philosophy of education and feel her guidance.
Davidson was hired for the 1995 spring semester as a migrant tutor at Riley Elementary School. She had just completed her second degree from Kansas Newman University; her first degree was from Kansas State University in biology.
“(I remember) interviewing for the position and being asked, ‘If you could go back to school and choose any profession what would it be?’
“I answered, ‘I already did that!’ I went back to school to earn a degree in elementary education,’ Davidson said.
“During student teaching, I became passionate about the art of teaching. I was hooked when a third-grade student, after an individual lesson in rounding, shouted, ‘I’ve got it! Give me another number!’ That student is now the father of one of my current students.
“As an educator, I have many opportunities to be of service to others,” she said. “I keep in mind that, as a public-school teacher, I am a community servant and try to be just as devoted to my parents as I am to my students.”
My greatest contribution to my students, school and district is the hard work I have put in to become an ever more effective teacher,” Davidson said. “Even after 17 years of experience, I consider myself to be a work in progress with more things to learn and achieve.”
Teachers were nominated by their principals and peers to honor the teaching profession and encourage excellence in education. They were selected by a committee comprised of Kim Heath, Laurie Harwood, Tandi Mai, Cody Lee and Susan Young.
Davidson will receive $500 from the district for use in her classroom and will be honored at the April 8 school board meeting.