Sunset Hill's Duncan Receives $10,000 Bobs Award

May 10, 2018

Michele Duncan receives the Bobs Award from Scott Morgan and Dena Johnston Michele Duncan, a Sunset Hill Elementary School teacher, was presented the 2018 Special Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Lawrence Schools Foundation at an all-school assembly Thursday afternoon. The award, commonly known as the Bobs Award, includes a $10,000 check for the recipient.

Duncan is completing her 29th year of teaching in Lawrence Public Schools. She has been a second-grade teacher at Sunset Hill for the past 14 years after previously teaching at Kennedy, Centennial, and Schwegler Elementary Schools.

More than 20 years ago a group of civic leaders, who share the same first name of Bob, created the award through the Foundation. The benefactors choose to remain anonymous to focus attention on the outstanding educators selected annually to receive the award.

The Bobs Award honors a teacher who “exemplifies extraordinary instruction skills; reflects commitment to quality education and dedication to teaching; focuses on individual student achievement; administers to the whole child, guiding each student to achieve his full potential; and is deemed to be proficient, caring, adaptable, and professional.”

“Michele makes second grade a magical year for her students,” said Courtney Otter, a fellow second-grade teacher at Sunset Hill. “She works tirelessly to ensure that students grow academically, while also taking care of their emotional needs.”

“My son is currently in Mrs. Duncan’s classroom and he can’t stop talking about the wonderful things that happen in his second-grade classroom and what he is learning,” wrote parent and fellow teacher Kendra Luna. “Whether it is the gingerbread community, the Duncan Dime Store, the trip to Deanna Rose Farm of the science or math lesson that day, it is always an amazing day in second grade.”

Duncan’s efforts don’t just benefit the students.

“Michele has been such a role model for other teachers over the years,” said Sunset Hill kindergarten teacher Gina Battaglia. “She shares ideas, isn’t fearful to try new things and is a model of what a master teacher should be.”

Michele Duncan and family with Anna Stubblefield, Dena Johnston and Scott Morgan “Michele and I have collaborated together on numerous occasions,” said Marcia Hershiser, the school’s library media specialist. “She is enthusiastic, creative and passionate about crafting the best lessons and learning for her students. She freely shares her ideas and materials to ensure the lessons are successful and engaging to the students that we share.”

Most of the numerous nomination letters supporting Duncan for this award mentioned her unselfishness and humility.

“Michele is kind and humble and doesn’t like to put herself forward,” Otter said. “She doesn’t like being singled out above anyone else, but she stands out as an excellent person and educator. She deserves to be recognized for her contributions to the children of our community. She makes the world a little brighter every day.”

Duncan is the first elementary school recipient of the award since 2013.

The Lawrence Schools Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization that raises money to enrich the education of the students in the Lawrence Public Schools.  The Foundation seeks to promote and enhance effective early childhood education, innovative teaching and learning opportunities, recognition of outstanding educators and encouragement of student achievement.



Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients:
1997 - Val Howland (Broken Arrow Elementary School)
1998 - Gary Webber (Southwest Junior High School) 
1999 - Sue Siegfried (Woodlawn Elementary School) 
2000 - Dr. Victoria Beals (South Junior High School) 
2001 - Pamela Bushouse (Free State High School) 
2002 - Brian “Chip” Anderson (Lawrence High School) 
2003 - Kathy Rathbun (Langston Hughes Elementary School) 
2004 - Paula Barr (Hillcrest Elementary School) 
2005 - Kathleen Wagner (West Junior High School) 
2006 - Mary Chapman (Free State High School) 
2007 - Sherry Vratil (Wakarusa Valley) 
2008 - Deb Engstrom (Lawrence High School) 
2009 - Paulette Breithaupt (Sunset Hill Elementary School) 
2010 - Christy Kelly (Cordley Elementary School) 
2011 - Renee Babin (Schwegler Elementary School) 
2012 - Michael Carriger (Lawrence High School) 
2013 - Ryan McAdoo (Hillcrest Elementary School) 
2014 - Jordan Rose (Free State High School)

2015 - Mike Jones and Rachel Dirks (Lawrence High School)

2016 - Scott Forkenbrock (Liberty Memorial Central Middle School)

2017 – Stu Strecker (Free State High School)

2018 – Michele Duncan (Sunset Hill Elementary School)

Michele Duncan's second-grade class Hugs all around