2024 KU seniors honor high school teachers with Wolfe Teaching Excellence Awards

LAWRENCE — Three outstanding high school teachers will be recognized with the Wolfe Teaching Excellence Award this spring.

“Probably the highest honor that can be bestowed on a teacher is to have former students recognize them,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education & Human Sciences. “The Wolfe Teaching Excellence Award does just that as former students nominate a high school teacher that had a positive impact on them.”

Nominations are submitted by KU seniors. Students from any major can nominate their former teachers, and the winners can be high school teachers from anywhere in the world. The 2024 award recipients are:

  • Cindy Parker, Lyndon High School 
  • Kara Siebe, Webster Groves High School
  • Jeff Wieland, Mill Valley High School

Parker was nominated by Kaitlyn Moore, a senior in secondary English education at KU. Moore first met Parker during a job shadowing experience during Moore’s sophomore year at Lyndon High School. Parker later joined Lyndon High School as an English teacher during Moore’s junior and senior years. In the nomination, Moore wrote: “Mrs. Cindy Parker is a teacher who changed my life as a high school student … She gives so much of herself to her students, and I hope she knows how much of that love and care we carry with us as we exit her classroom, and that we continue to strive to pass on her kindness and goodwill to the rest of the world.”

Siebe was nominated by Quin Dolan, a senior in business administration and sport management at KU. Dolan, who had Siebe as a teacher in a marketing class at Webster Groves High School, wrote: “Mrs. Siebe is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher that the Webster Groves School District is lucky to have. For years, she has shown her commitment to the community, our school, and her students. In addition, she continues to open so many doors for her students by creating many amazing opportunities for us. She taught us how to set goals for ourselves, and more importantly how to achieve those goals.”

Wieland was nominated by Sophia Klaudt, a senior in biochemistry at KU. In the nomination, Klaudt, who had Wieland as a history teacher at Mill Valley High School, said: “Mr. Wieland was not just a history teacher for us; his breadth of knowledge extends far beyond that of the classroom curriculum. His passion for educating and spreading knowledge to his students was truly remarkable, and the care that he put into each of his students did not go unnoticed … His teachings are a steady constant in my life that I have and will continuously utilize as I begin the next chapter of my life.”

Recipients each receive a cash award of $3,000, and their respective high schools each receive $1,000. The award winners were selected from a large pool of outstanding nominees by a committee of faculty, administrators and students from KU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Education & Human Sciences.

The Wolfe Teaching Excellence Award was created in 2006 with a $250,000 gift from R. Dean Wolfe, business administration, ’66, and juris doctorate, ’69, and Cheryl L. Wolfe, Spanish education, ’69, Clayton, Missouri, through the Wolfe Family Foundation. The award fund is managed by KU Endowment, the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.