studentsA passion for teaching, empathy for students and strong student connections are qualities that describe John Butcher, art teacher at Blue Valley Northwest. These are also a few of the many reasons Butcher was recently selected as a 2017 Emporia State University Kansas Master teacher.

Established in 1953, the annual Master Teacher award is presented to teachers who have served the profession long and well and who typify the qualities of earnest and conscientious teachers. Butcher is the 23rd Blue Valley teacher to earn the recognition to date.

​"To say that John has excellent rapport with his students would be an understatement," said Amy Murphy, Blue Valley Northwest principal. "He shows a sincere interest in them as individuals and is always willing to go above and beyond to the betterment of his students, his department and our school."

Butcher, a fourth generation Kansas public school teacher, is in his 23rd year teaching at Blue Valley Northwest. He says that the fact that teaching cannot be mastered, but can always be improved has kept him as interested in his 29th year in education as in his first. For Butcher, teaching has never been a job; it has been his calling. He feels a responsibility to create eager learners, and inspire curiosity and a love of learning that translate to any walk of life his students choose.

"In my classroom, I feel it is critical to have a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere where students can feel secure in expressing themselves both creatively and personally," Butcher said. "I must allow students to stumble so they can learn from mistakes and achieve success."

Butcher will be honored on April 5 as part of Master Teacher Day in Emporia. During the day, he will participate in several activities including a seminar, social and award dinner where he will be presented his Master Teacher plaque.​