2022 MASA "Friends of Education Award" Recipients
The following individuals and groups make up the 2022 MASA "Friends of Education" Award recipients. The Friend of Education Award is presented annually to recognize eight non-educators, one from each of the eight MASA Regions. The award recognizes individuals for his or her contribution to education locally or statewide. The recipient must currently be a non-educator, although they may have been an educator in the past.
Northwest Region: Don Talley
Mr. Don Talley served on the Clinton Co. R-3 Board of Education from 1980-1986 and again from 2004-2010. He has always been a cheerleader for public education through his leadership and servant heart. He is first to ask for ways he can help out the school and provide support financially and in-person at school and community events. Don is a champion for public education.
West Central Region: Katie Wingard
Katie Wingard is a true friend of education. She takes on multiple service positions within the Strasburg C-3 School District. As the PTO President, she schedules, plans, and organizes many, many school events. Ms. Wingard serves as a School Board Member and on the District Steering Committee. She is also a weekly math tutor for middle school students and visits first graders. Katie is trusted and respected by the staff and students. Sharing her time and talents with us has been tremendously valuable and we couldn’t think of a more deserving person to be recognized with the West Central Region Friend of Education.
Northeast Region: Bruce Johnson
Dr. Bruce Johnson has been dedicated to Missouri public education for 37 years. For 29 years, he worked directly in the school systems as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and principal. Dr. Johnson served as superintendent for seven years at Osborn and 17 years at Stanberry R-2. Since 2013, Dr. Johnson has collaborated with school administrators on tax levies, tax rates, and other financial matters in his role with L.J. Hart.
Southeast Region: Kathy Swan
Former House of Representative member Kathy Swan has been an unwavering advocate for public education. During her time as a lawmaker, Ms. Swan fought to improve educational opportunities for Missourians as she championed a number of bills aimed at removing barriers to student success. She has demonstrated her friendship to education by making education a priority during her tenure as a state Representative. She chaired the elementary and secondary education committee, served on the legislative task force on dyslexia, and also the joint committee on education. Using her voice and position of authority, Ms. Swan never broke her commitment to public schools.
Southwest Region: Larry Bergner
Larry is the Director of the Newton County Health Department, and he has been a tremendous help to local school districts and the county during the pandemic. Larry keeps county superintendents informed of changes, data, and concerns associated with his county, as well as the region. We commend Mr. Bergner and the NCHD for their commitment to keeping students and staff safe, healthy, and in school learning!
Greater Kansas City Region: Lauren Arthur
In her Senate position, Lauren Arthur serves on the Education, Appropriations, General Laws, and Ways and Means committees. Senator Arthur previously taught middle school English and Language Arts at Urban Community Leadership Academy. She now serves as the Regional Director for Urban Leaders Fellowship, a program designed for early to mid-career professionals who are looking to accelerate their leadership abilities through a seven-week fellowship on policy and practice.
South-Central Region: Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson has spent nearly half his life serving the West Plains School District Board of Education. When he was first elected to the board, Mr. Thompson wanted adequate facilities for students. He was part of a grassroots effort to build a new elementary school to replace the district’s aging buildings. He then realized the importance a quality educational system played in the growth and overall well-being of a community. Quality facilities still play a major role in the educational process, but the scope of his role as a board member has expanded considerably. Mr. Thompson’s focus is on providing the best possible education for kids by ensuring the best administrators and staff are employed in his district so students can be well-rounded, involved, productive citizens.
Greater St. Louis Region: Rachel Orscheln
Dr. Orscheln is one of the unsung heroes of COVID-19. She is thoughtful, smart, kind, and courageous. Throughout the pandemic, she has been a trusted medical professional who was always available to educators in St. Louis, at DESE, and for the State of Missouri. She met weekly with district leaders to offer medical advice and guidance on mitigation measures. Most importantly, Dr. Orscheln has been a calming presence in the COVID storm, always advocating on behalf of students, teachers, and school communities.