Don Wilson, who started his teaching career at Lamar Junior High School in the 1950s was inducted into the Kansas Teachers' Hall of Fame Saturday:
He taught business and social studies at Shawnee Mission East, when the school first opened.
“I liked teaching high school kids because they are on the wonderful edge of moving toward adulthood,” Wilson said. “They are full of energy, and it’s fun to be around them and help guide their future.”
It became evident, however, that supporting a family on a teacher’s salary was going to be difficult.
Within the next decade, he quickly earned his master’s degree and doctorate in education.
He served as vice principal at Shawnee Mission South and principal at Shawnee Mission North.
Wilson eventually went on to become an associate superintendent, a deputy superintendent and an interim superintendent.
He retired from the Shawnee Mission School District in 1993 to try something new in the educational world.
In 1995, he helped found the Teel Institute, an organization that helps train teachers to foster the emotional well-being and character of their students.
“When I first went into education, most people thought it was more than academics — it was developing the child as a person,” he said. “Now it’s only about test scores. I want to show teachers that whenever you’re working with kids, it’s more than just knowledge.”