While many teachers were enjoying spring break, Michelle Bogner was being recognized by the Kansas Legislature as one of seven educators named to the 2013 class of Kansas Master. Bogner is a first-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School.

While many teachers were enjoying spring break, Michelle Bogner was being recognized by the Kansas Legislature as one of seven educators named to the 2013 class of Kansas Master. Bogner is a first-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School. “It was a wonderful experience,” Bogner said of the award established by Emporia State University in 1953. She was notified of the honor on Feb. 28, after receiving an email from a former professor at Emporia State asking her to contact her as soon as possible. “I wasn't sure about the process of being notified, so I tried to not get too excited until after I spoke to her,” Bogner said. “I remember when she was congratulating me; I looked at my husband and mouthed, ‘I WON!’.” As the USD 443 nominee for K-5, she had to put together a digital nomination portfolio consisting of her philosophy of teaching, evidence showing performance in the classroom, community service, evidence of continuous professional growth, participation in professional organizations and nine letters of support from colleagues or supervisors, students and community stakeholders. Bogner said she is humbled by this award in more ways that she expected. “It’s not just a reflection of me,” she said. “It is something that encompasses everyone in my life, both personally and professionally, who have supported me throughout my journey.” It’s a journey that dates back to her high school years. “There were teachers who did not allow me to walk away from my goals and my future,” she said. “It is because of them that I stayed focused, graduated, and began college.” She includes some professional mentors in that group. “Kathy Ramsour and Cathy Esquibel both modeled how giving 100 percent in the classroom and continuously upping my goals and expectations was possible, even with a growing family,” she said. Ramsour, Principal at Northwest Elementary, returns that regard. “Michelle has gone through devastating personal losses but never once has she allowed herself to not be there for her students, always making sure her children had the instruction they needed,” she said. “Her personal strength and positive belief system humble me. I see the gift of love and true caring Michelle emits not just for her students, but for all of us.” Bogner said it’s important to her that her three children experience the same type of dedicated teachers she did in this district and her next goal is to be bilingual by 2018. “I would like to complete my doctorate at some point,” Bogner added. “However, being able to spend quality time with my husband and children is at the top of my list!” A ceremony for this year’s master teachers is scheduled at Emporia State University April 3, and while that is the only formal obligation that comes with the honor, Bogner said she feels some internal obligations. “I feel even more committed to continuing to strive and advocate for what our children need in education,” she said.