The Kansas Teacher Hall of Fame in Dodge City is pleased to announce the class of 2014 includes Esther Abbey, Dodge City; Jeannette Broome, Topeka; Ann Davis, Johnson City; Karen Glennon, Atchison; Bertina Jane Hiss, Great Bend; Shirle Ibeawuchi, Pratt; Shirley Johannsen, Topeka and Nancy E. Musselman, Silver Lake. The Class of 2014 was inducted into the Kansas Teacher Hall of Fame in Dodge City June 7.

Shirle Ibeawuchi, a Pratt native, retired in 2003 after 30 years of teaching in Kansas. Her first 20 years were spent at Southwest Elementary School. There she served as a floating special education reading teacher and taught grades 2, 4, and 5, serving both North and Haskins Elementary Schools.

In 1989 she became the principal at Sacred Heart/Holy Child Elementary School in Pratt, remaining there until 1997. She served one additional year as interim principal in 2002-2003 while they sought a new principal. During these years she also taught outreach classes for Newman College and St. Mary of the Plains College. 

Ibeawuchi grew up in rural Pratt County, attending a one-room school house in Saratoga, then graduating from Pratt High School, and Pratt Community College in 1952. In 1953 she attended Wichita State University, where she met and married her husband who was a native of Nigeria.  

She worked further on her degree at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and completed her degree at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina in 1958. Her master’s degree was granted by Fort Hays State University in 1972 and her Doctor of Philosophy by Kansas University in 1980.

Ibeawuchi is instrumental in the establishment of a school in Nigeria called Brighton Hall Academy at the age of 75. The academy is run by her daughter. The school opened its doors with three students and now has over 155 students with a staff of 22.

In 1977, the first state Teachers’ Hall of Fame was established in Dodge City. Since its inception, more than 386 exemplary educators have been inducted into the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame. Each year nominations are accepted from each of the 12 districts of Kansas. The state selection committee meets in April to review the candidates and complete the selection process.

The inductees meet the highest of standards. The teacher must: 1) show evidence of outstanding teaching and/or administration; 2) show evidence of positive interactions with students and parents; 3) possess qualities that set him/her apart from other educators; 4) demonstrate continued pursuit of educational opportunities throughout career; 5) share ideas by conducting workshops, classes, etc. for parents, teachers and/or administrators; 6) demonstrate involvement in community activities; 7) exhibit educational recognition and awards; 8)submit a 100-word description of his/her philosophy of education. 

Additionally, nominees must have been a K-12 or vocational school teacher or administrator for a minimum of 25 years in Kansas.

Kansas is the home of the first Teachers’ Hall of fame in the United States to give recognition to exemplary Kansas educators.

Ibeawuchi was nominated by the Pratt Association of Retired School Personnel. She was recently honored as Pratt Community College Outstanding Alumnus.