A Hays teacher has been named to the 2019 class of Master Teachers by Emporia State University.

Laura Gaughan, elementary reading specialist at O’Loughlin Elementary, is one of seven named as master teachers and will receive $1,000 from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, according to a press release from ESU.

Since 2001, Gaughan has focused on helping students who struggle with reading.

“Life itself will provide enough challenge in a child’s lifetime that I don’t ever want reading and writing to be one of those struggles,” Gaughan said in the press release.

Gaughan co-wrote the $50,000 grant that funded last Hays USD 489 summer’s reading camp that served about 120 students from kindergarten to second grade.

She earned an associate’s degree in 1987 from Barton County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University in 1989.

After teaching for five years, she participated in Reading Recovery training, in which teachers learn to work with low-achieving elementary students to build on their strengths and meet grade-level standards.

Gaughan said the training changed her career, according to the press release. She went on to earn a master’s in elementary education with an emphasis in reading in 2001 from Fort Hays State University.

USD 489 then began to train additional teachers in Reading Recovery. The training has gone beyond Title I teachers to include classroom, special education and ELL teachers.

“I know what the research says about is and isn’t important in educating kids. I have 27 years of experience, 27 years of students, and 27 years of colleagues I have learned from, and I soak it in and value it all,” Gaughan said in the press release.

The recipients were selected by a nine-member committee and will be honored on Master Teacher Day at ESU on April 3.

The day will include the master teachers presenting a seminar in the afternoon and a banquet and award ceremony in the evening.

Also among the 2019 class is Lisa Jarvis, English language arts teacher at Council Grove Junior-Senior High School and a 2003 graduate of FHSU.

Other recipients are Paula Barr, second grade teacher at Quail Run Elementary School, Lawrence; Dedra Braxmeyer, math teacher at Manhattan High School, Michelle Hilliard, math teacher at Complete High School, Maize; Carolynn Phalen, first-grade teacher at Grace E. Stewart Elementary School, Salina; and Linda Vena, elementary reading specialist, Mission Trail Elementary, Leawood.