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July 26, 2011
MARYVILLE, Mo. - When Johannah Lynch-Baugher receives her master's degree in reading from Northwest Missouri State University this week, it will mark another step in fulfilling her lifelong passion for educating others.
"I'm very excited about it," she said of receiving her master's degree. "My niche is within education, but to define it even more, it's reading. Literacy is very important to me, and it unveils a lot of opportunities for students once they acquire that skill."
Lynch-Baugher, of Spickard, is entering her third year in the Grundy County R-V School District, where she has taught children in grades four through six.
She's already making an impact. In April, the Missouri Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE) recognized Lynch-Baugher as one of the state's Outstanding Beginning Teachers of 2011.
Lynch-Baugher was one of 45 teachers recognized for their excellence in serving children during their first two years of service in school districts across Missouri. More than 31 of Missouri's public, private and higher education institutions honored the teachers for completing education programs at their respective institutions. Each recipient received an engraved plaque to display in his or her classroom.
"I was very humbled by it," Lynch-Baugher said. "Being named one of Missouri's Outstanding Beginning Teachers was a prestigious honor and I remain grateful to have been selected and deemed worthy of such an honorary title."
A Princeton High School graduate, Lynch-Baugher said she was inspired to become a teacher by her grandmother, Norma Hickman, who was an educator for more than 40 years, serving as a classroom teacher as well as principal in a variety of school districts in north central Missouri.
"She was definitely a master teacher in my eyes, and as her granddaughter I genuinely desired to model and instill the love that she had for teaching in my elementary classroom," Lynch-Baugher said. "I entered the field of teaching to be a provider of hope for students of all ages and to be in an occupation where I could channel my true passion for teaching and the learning process."
In 2007, Lynch-Baugher became the first associate of arts in teaching degree recipient at North Central Missouri College. She then completed her bachelor of science degree in elementary education at Northwest in May 2009. She will receive a master's degree during Thursday's summer commencement ceremony at Northwest and is graduating with highest honors.
Lynch-Baugher said she chose to attend Northwest because of its commitment to preparing future educators. While she expressed appreciation for all of the instructors who helped her complete her degrees at Northwest, she called Dr. Barbara Crossland, associate professor and chair of Northwest's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Dr. Margaret Drew, professor of Curriculum & Instruction and Lynch-Baugher's graduate advisor, "two people who helped really mold me into the teacher I am today."
Crossland said Lynch-Baugher is a standout student who sets high standards for herself and her students.
"She is living proof that great teachers are alive and well, and graduating from Northwest," Crossland said. "Johanna makes me proud to be an educator and proud to say she is a Bearcat."
Drew added, "Johannah has the highest expectations for herself and her students. She always, always puts her students first and will spend hours planning creative lessons that are appropriate for each student's learning needs."
Reflecting on a quote attributed to William Butler Yeats - "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire" - Lynch-Baugher said she is grateful to Northwest for embedding a passion for the education field within her and equipping her with the skills necessary to provide quality learning experiences for today's children.
"Northwest helped me become very well prepared for my classroom and, in turn, allowed me to feel well-versed in the beginning stages of my teaching career," Lynch-Baugher said. "I was very pleased with my undergraduate education at Northwest, so the phrase ‘Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat' rings true as I selected Northwest again for my graduate program. The foundation created by Northwest provided me with a rock-solid framework by which to enter my classroom with confidence and thus, embark upon my teaching career."
Lynch-Baugher said she now has her sights set on pursuing a doctorate degree.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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