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Educators, future educators chosen for awards

The College of Education has chosen the Distinguished Service Administrator and the Distinguished Service Teacher award recipients for Fall 2017 during the College of Education Recognition Ceremony next week.

The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 11, in the Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on the campus at Pittsburg State University.   

The College of Education Distinguished Service Award is given to outstanding administrators or educators whose career has been highlighted by significant achievement and excellence in education. 

This year's administrator award will be presented to Jason Walker, principal and athletic director at Baxter Springs Middle School in Baxter Springs, Kansas. Walker earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from PSU, graduating in 1997, followed by his Master of Science in Education Leadership in 2001 and his Educational Specialist degree in 2016. 

"I chose education as a career because I wanted to share my love of science with young people," he said. 

He spent seven years teaching middle school science in Chanute, Kansas, then two years as the assistant principal at Iola High School. He joined the Baxter School District 10 years ago. 

"I'm just amazed and very humbled," Walker said of the award. "This is a true reflection of our school building here at Baxter — it's a building-wide award. A team effort. You can't do it by yourself. I have a great team of professionals." 

The teacher award will be presented to Steve Davidson, math teacher at Lakin High School in Lakin, Kansas. Davidson graduated from Labette County High School in Altamont, Kansas, in 1981, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Pittsburg State University in December 1987. 

He is now in his 30th year in teaching at Lakin, where he also has served as the head volleyball for 27 years and head baseball coach for a program he founded 25 years ago. 

"It's been rewarding," Davidson said of his career in education. "To be a good coach, you have to be a good teacher — and there's no doubt in my mind that the coaching part also helps out in the classroom. They both go together." 

Davidson was surprised to receive the award, he said. 

"I'm not a real vocal person – not after big headlines. I'd rather take care of things behind the scenes," said Davidson, who now is teaching children of former students. "But I was very honored and excited. One of the most rewarding thing has been getting texts and emails from all over the state from people I knew a long time ago who heard the news and wanted to say congratulations." 

Also during Monday's ceremony, student teachers from the Fall 2017 semester will be recognized. 

Two of them will receive special recognition as the 2017 Fall Teachers of Promise. Those students are Matthew Hermann, an English education major from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Grace Koehler, an elementary education major from Overland Park, Kansas.

To learn more about PSU's College of Education, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/college/education/

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