Former Juneau resident is KNEA's new Vice President

Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Former Juneau resident Karen Godfrey is the new vice president of the Kansas National Education Association. On Oct. 3, the KNEA Board of Directors appointed Godfrey to fill the term of Sherri Yourdon, who passed away last August. Godfrey still has family in Juneau: her mother, Elinor Miller; brother, Dirk Miller and family; and sister, Cecilia Miler.

Courtesy Of Cynthia Menzel
Courtesy Of Cynthia Menzel

Mark Farr, a high school science teacher in Nickerson, was appointed to fill Karen Godfrey's position as KNEA secretary-treasurer ( Farr has been serving as NEA Director. The KNEA Board appointed Bob Thesman, a Blue Valley teacher, to fill Farr's term. All three will be running for election this spring.

Godfrey will take a leave of absence from the Seaman School District, where she teaches 9th grade English, to serve full-time as the vice president. Godfrey's new role gives her more opportunities to advocate for teachers and students.

"I've always valued education and learning, as far back as when my mom would organize neighborhood spelling bees and take us to the city library every week," said Godfrey. "I know how powerful education is - that's why I am excited to serve KNEA in this new role. Every child deserves a quality education, and through KNEA, teachers are in the forefront working to make Kansas public schools an even better place to learn."

At Seaman School District, which is in north Topeka, Godfrey has also taught French and language arts for 7th-9th graders, coached volleyball and track and was the sponsor for various activities ranging from the cheerleading squad to the National Junior Honor Society. Historically, Godfrey's district has looked to her for leadership in curriculum development and developing new strategies ranging from reading instruction to cooperative learning.

Frequently a part of Kansas State Board of Education advisory groups, from the Quality Performance Advisory Council to a grant evaluation team to the Regulations Committee, Godfrey serves on the Professional Standards Advisory Board and is an examiner for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Godfrey said she relishes advocating for great public schools and for the teaching profession, thus her passion became the work of Kansas NEA. She served as chief negotiator, president and UniServ representative for NEA-Seaman. Her first volunteer opportunity at the state level was as an Instructional Advocacy Commissioner. Since then, she has served in several capacities, including KNEA Secretary-Treasurer in 2006 and now, vice president.

Godfrey spent her childhood in Anchorage, Alaska, and came to the Midwest to attend the University of Kansas. She graduated in 1980 as valedictorian for the School of Education, and then continued to earn a Master's from KU in 1988. Continuously adding to her teaching skills and knowledge, Godfrey completed a master's degree in language arts education at KU in 1988. In 2002, she earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescence/English Language Arts.

Godfrey and her husband, Rich, who is also an educator and long-time KNEA member, live just outside of Topeka.

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