2007 Outstanding Rural Secondary Teacher
Barb Mason has been educating young people in the Paris R-II School District for the last eleven years. Mrs. Mason's teaching experiences have been focused in the area of vocational business. During this time, Mrs. Mason has consistently demonstrated the dedication necessary to make her classes and Future Business Leaders of America organization not only the best they can be, but an exemplary model for other teachers to emulate.
Mrs. Mason is not only a product of rural education, but also serves as a committed ambassador for the benefits offered by rural education opportunities. In her own words, "Where else can a student have the opportunity, in one setting, to obtain an excellent education and still play in the band, sing in the choir, play basketball, softball, football, be a cheerleader, star in a play, go to a dance and know everyone there, be a part of agriculture, business, art, FACS, and still use technology just like a very large school?"
Barb's own path to her role as an educator might best be termed "non-traditional". At the age of thirty-seven, she answered the call to teach and completed her bachelor's degree in business education. By drawing on her business experience, acquired before entering the teaching profession, she is able to bring a "real life experience" into the classroom. Annually, the Business Technology class tours the local bank. Her students come well prepared with each student asking questions, creating a positive interaction between the bank personnel and the student. This activity has provided for a great learning experience, not just a day out of class.
Many of Mrs. Mason's students have learned not only the importance of knowing the information, but that they also must learn to work as a team. From the beginning, her focus has been on high standards and meaningful support of student achievement. To her acclaim, students in the Future Business Leaders of American (FBLA) have won district, state and national level competitions. Three of her students won third place in the Emerging Business Issues event at the National Leadership Conference in the summer of 2006.
Barb may well be the Paris School Districts best kept secret. It is amazing to watch her provide a top notch education opportunity for her students, support for her peers, and keep the districts network up and running - all on one prep period a day.
Barb Mason exemplifies all that is right and good about rural education. Knowledgeable, caring, passionate about her students, and willingness to take the extra step making her Missouri's Outstanding Rural Secondary Teacher for 2007.