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Threatt Named Master Teacher

Joe Denoyer - February 23, 2024 4:55 pm

USD 480 Public Relations
FEB 23, 2024
Each year Emporia State University names seven educators from across the state,Kansas Master Teachers. This year USD 480’s very own, Mrs. Erica Threatt from Meadowlark Elementary, received that distinction.

“I am incredibly honored to be receiving this award,” Threatt said. “This award serves as validation of my teaching skills, expertise, and the impact I’ve had on my students, staff, and education community. I am proud to be recognized for the hard work, dedication, and commitment that I have invested in my career.”

Mrs. Threatt is in her 12th year in education and her fourth at USD 480, all at Meadowlark. She started her career as a fifth grade teacher in Emporia after graduating from Emporia State University with her bachelors degree. After a year there, she moved to southwest Kansas where she has spent the last 11 years of her career.

“Emporia State University is very near and dear to my heart, so receiving this award from this well-known university is so special,” Threatt said. “ESU is where it all started for me. I received my bachelor’s from ESU and later my master’s. I even had the opportunity to start my teaching career in Emporia.”

Of the seven honorees this year, Mrs. Threatt was the only winner selected west of Wichita. This specific detail was not lost on her as she reflected on receiving the award this year.

“Many times southwest Kansas is overlooked, especially in education, but I am so glad it wasn’t this time,” Threatt said. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be recognized for the Kansas Master Teacher award in this area. USD 480 is such a wonderful school district with many many talented and knowledgeable educators. Our students, staff, families, and community are simply the best.”

Unbeknownst to her, Mrs. Threatt was nominated for this award by her building principal, Mrs. Shawna Evans this past December. So when Mrs. Threatt received a call from coordinator of the Kansas Master Teacher Award Committee, Stephanie Taylor on Wednesday, letting her know she had won, it was a complete surprise to her.

“My passion is to help and inspire others to be the best they can be,” Threatt said. “I hope this achievement can serve as an inspiration to other educators, motivating them to strive for excellence in their teaching practices and promoting continuous growth in the education community. Working in education is such a rewarding experience and I feel so appreciated.”

Mrs. Evans speaks highly of Mrs. Threatt talents inside and outside of the classroom and her ability to work with students and teachers alike to make a profound difference throughout the building. Mrs. Threatt has continued to inspire Mrs. Evans throughout the four years they have worked together at Meadowlark.

“I can confidently say that Mrs. Threatt stands out as an exceptional educator and leader,” Evans said. “I have had the honor of working with many distinguished teachers who have inspired me to continue my own path to lifelong learning. When one of those I supervise causes me to reflect on my practice, inspire me and stimulate new ideas, I realize that I have been given a gift.”

Prior to her time at Meadowlark, Mrs. Threatt spent seven years teaching fourth grade in Plains, KS before moving into the same role at Meadowlark. She spent last school year as an interventionist at Meadowlark before moving into her current position as instructional coach.

“Mrs. Threatt possesses a unique ability to build meaningful relationships with both students and staff,” Evans said. “Her caring nature and innate capacity to connect with individuals easily contribute to the positive and supportive environment she fosters within our school community. As a classroom teacher, Mrs. Threatt was intentional in her lesson planning as she leveraged her deep understanding of each student’s academic and personal strengths to design lessons that were engaging and tailored to their individual needs.”

Beyond her role as the instructional coach, she also serves her school and district in various other leadership roles. She is looked to for advice and council within Meadowlark, but also at the district level.

“Her leadership in these capacities showcases her ability to guide collaborative efforts towards continuous improvement,” Evans said. “Whether leading discussions on school accreditation or facilitating strategic planning at the building level, Mrs. Threatt’s contributions are marked by wisdom, integrity, and a genuine commitment to the betterment of our school community.”

Mrs. Threat serves as the chair of our KESA (Kansas Education Systems Accreditation) team, is an active member of the Meadowlark Leadership Team, the district personalized learning team, and meets with the district curriculum consultants several times a year.

“We are very proud of how Erica represents public education in USD 480 and western Kansas. She exemplifies the talent and bright future of our district,” said Dr. Todd Carter, USD 480 Superintendent.

While her time at Meadowlark is hopefully just beginning, her impact on the school and USD 480 is beyond reproach, but she is quick to credit the culture, staff, and administration of Meadowlark for her ability to excel in so many areas.

“Meadowlark is no doubt an amazing work environment with the most talented teachers and loving students,” Threatt said. “Everything we do at Meadowlark is in the best interest of our students. The positive and inclusive culture at Meadowlark promotes a sense of belonging, which can boost student’s and staff’s confidence and motivation to succeed.”

“Our school culture sets high academic and behavioral expectations and encourages students and staff to strive for excellence,” Threatt said. “The strong and supportive leadership sets the tone for the entire school, fostering a positive and purposeful atmosphere. Meadowlark’s school policies that promote fairness, equity, and a focus on student well-being contribute to an environment conducive to success.”

Her impact on those around her has been extensive and evident by the way they speak so highly of her, but she continues to attribute her achievements and educational accomplishments to those around her, both in her personal and professional life.

“So many people have contributed to my journey in education,” Threatt said. “My husband has always been my number one supporter and source of encouragement. My parents are always cheering me on and pushing me to be the best educator I know I can be. My current administration, Shawna Evans and Melinda Cline believe in me and inspire me that I can and will make a difference. All of the educators I have had the privilege of working with over the years – have truly made an impact on my life.”

In just moments of interacting with Mrs. Threatt, her sunny disposition and professionalism are clearly evident and it is no wonder why those around her have done their best to ensure she is receiving the recognition and credit she deserves. Always the teacher, she wanted to use this platform to give some helpful words of encouragement to new teachers just starting their careers.

“A few tips for new educators – always persevere through times that may seem impossible. Remember that teaching is a dynamic profession, and you will continue to learn and grow throughout your career. Be patient with yourself, seek support when needed, and stay dedicated to providing the best possible education for your students. This quote has got me through tough times in education and as an educator, ‘tough times never last, but tough people do’. You will make a difference,” Threatt concluded.

This is the 70th year ESU Teachers College has presented the award. At the beginning of each calendar year, the selection of seven award recipients is made by the award selection committee. The selection committee is comprised of the president or designated representative from seven prominent educational organizations and two Master Teachers from the previous year.

The 2024 Kansas Master Teacher Awards Banquet will be on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at Emporia State University. As part of several recognition activities, the teachers will tour the National Teachers Hall of Fame, one room schoolhouse, and participate in the How We Teach This podcast. The teachers will then be honored during a social hour at 5:45 p.m. in Webb Hall Lobby of Emporia State’s Memorial Union followed by the banquet and award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in Webb Hall. She will also be presented a $1,000 check through the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.


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