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June 29, 2010
A Northwest alumnus was one of seven teachers named to the 2010 class of Kansas Master Teachers.
Michael Dunlap '89 teaches journalism at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kan., where he has taught for nine years. His prior experience includes more than 20 years of teaching at Lawrence, Leavenworth and Shawnee Mission North high schools.
"It is a really nice affirmation," Dunlap said. "There were seven others across the state that received this, and they too should be recognized."
The Master Teacher Award is given each spring to Kansas school teachers by Emporia State University. Teachers are nominated by a committee of master teachers and leaders of educational organizations. Eligible teachers must have served at least five years in Kansas schools as a teacher or administrator, exemplified teaching or administrative effectiveness and demonstrated the attitude and abilities specified in the National Education Association's Code of Ethics of the Educational Professional.
Dunlap developed his passion for teaching while studying at Northwest where he double majored in English and journalism. He enhanced his journalism skills by working on Northwest's Tower yearbook and The Northwest Missourian.
"Northwest has been known for decades as a great teaching college, and it provided me with a solid foundation for my success as a teacher," Dunlap said. "I feel that I have become a good teacher in the last 10 years, and I will continue to become wiser with more experience, but I was very well prepared at Northwest."
Dunlap's successful teaching style has had an impact on his students, and he said he enjoys watching them develop from his teaching.
"I want to have a positive impact on my students," Dunlap said. "The best part of my job is that I get to build relationships with students all four years of their high school careers, and I get to watch them develop."
Dunlap said he focuses on modeling interpersonal skills, creating a realistic environment and helping the students solve problems while allowing them to learn from their mistakes.
Dunlap continues to work with Northwest's Tower yearbook and The Northwest Missourian, helping Northwest students and Director of Student Publications Laura Widmer.
"He has been an integral part of my national workshop since he was a student, and continues to teach at the workshop," Widmer said, adding that he performed advisory duties for the yearbook staff this past year while Widmer was dealing with an illness. "He came all the way from Kansas City to help students complete their deadlines. I am so pleased that Mike received the Master Teacher Award because there is no one more dedicated to students. I am pleased to have worked with him and call him one of our Northwest graduates."