Master Teachers

Master Teacher Diane Johnson (also a Regional Teacher Partner) assists teachers learning about light.

About our Master Teachers

PIMSER Master Teachers were developed through the work of two large National Science Foundation grant projects totalling $34 million: the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative (ARSI, 1996-2006) and the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership (AMSP, 2008-2013). Both Master Teacher projects were led by PIMSER director Dr. Kim Zeidler-Watters. Through these projects, they acquired in-depth expertise in content, standards-based instruction and assessment, and leadership. After the projects ended, PIMSER continued to invest in the Master Teachers by providing them with the latest resources, research, and materials so they stay on the cutting edge of education. Some of the Master Teachers went on to become Regional Teacher Partners (RTPs) with PIMSER; they provide all of our professional learning across the state. PIMSER Master Teachers and RTPs have provided more than 233,000 combined hours of professional learning to over 10,400 teachers and leaders since 2005, when PIMSER was created.  Additionally, they have contributed to innovative, research-based educational practices at state, national, and international levels. 

The Kentucky Department of Education capitalizes on the Master Teacher and RTP expertise as they are called upon to assist with supporting statewide policy, such as serving on state assessment development teams, standard revision teams, and becoming consultants for KDE or local educational cooperatives. Our Master Teachers formed intellectual partnerships with higher education faculty and national education experts like Dr. Harvey Silver, Thoughtful Education; Drs. Richard Stiggins and Jan Chappuis, Classroom Assessment for Student Learning; Dr. Shirley Clarke, Outstanding Classroom Assessment. These partnerships have resulted in national and international publications attributed to the work of the Master Teachers. 

Where Are They Now?

All of the Master Teachers started out in the programs as ‘regular’ classroom teachers. Many have moved into several different administrative and other leadership positions within their schools, districts, and even state-level organizations. Some even earned their doctorates! Click on a name below to view each Master Teacher’s educational journey, student learning results, and personal growth since leaving the program. 

Bob Allen
Jackie Allen
Chris Bradley
Faye Collier
Richard DeLong

Sabrina Holmes
Julie Jackson
Diane Johnson
Yelena Kirillina
Evelyn Mayer


Sabrina Holmes
Principal, Tazewell County Public Schools (VA)

“I became a much better teacher after participating in the MT grant. I learned about balanced assessment practices, and how to truly examine data and let it drive my instruction. I made myself get out of my comfort zone and design units to reflect different learning styles. I think it was the beginning of my leadership journey, which led me to becoming a middle school principal.”

Yelena Kirillina
Teacher, Anderson County Schools (TN)

“I constantly work with new teachers helping them to establish themselves as effective teachers.”

Jennifer McDaniel
Math Specialist, SESC Educational Cooperative

View Jennifer’s student learning results

“PIMSER has meant so much to my own professional growth and the growth of my students over the last fifteen years. Working in a rural district, PIMSER was my lifeline to systemic professional learning and professional relationships that kept me going as a teacher. My partnership with PIMSER has not only positively impacted my own teaching practice, but also that of hundreds of teachers. So many students have benefited as a result.

Dr. Kim Zeidler-Watters has worked for many years to personally mentor and create content specific professional learning opportunities for teachers around the state. She has pushed us all towards excellence and found opportunities for us to share so we can in turn create learning communities in our own districts and prevent teacher isolation. Teachers need this kind of support even more with the current challenges.”

Dr. Jamie-Marie Miller
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor, Eastern Kentucky University

“PIMSER has profoundly impacted my professional journey. PIMSER offerings have made me a teacher that sees how to make meaningful connections of mathematics to students through facilitation of discourse with rich, engaging tasks; how to authentically assess students so I can better understand students’ level of understanding and how to create an engaging and fun environment for students to learn mathematics. I was able to go back to my home district of Lincoln County to serve as the math department chair and work at the district level on mathematics. All the training from the Master Teacher Program gave me the confidence to enter a Ph.D. program and the knowledge to graduate from that program. I am currently an Assistant Professor at EKU in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and teaching pre-service teachers the research-based best practices that I learned from PIMSER. My leadership is growing by serving on state-level committees for EPSB to inform curriculum and instructional decisions.”

Jeremy Miller
Mathematics Teacher, Lee County Schools and EKU Dual Credit Instructor

View Jeremy’s student learning results

“PIMSER helped me be a better teacher by looking at teaching more conceptually. I changed to standards based grading after working with the Master teacher grant and my students know and understand mathematics at much higher levels. Since the grant I have been teaching dual credit classes for EKU at Lee county and have had 14 students take college algebra, college pre-calculus, and college calculus. These students graduated with 15 hours of college credit. I am the head of the department and our ACT scores at our school have continued to go up over the last few years in mathematics.”

Dr. Micki Phipps
Math Science Coordinator, York Institute (TN)

“The Master Teacher project has had a huge influence on my educational impact. There are several accolades in my career that I personally attribute to having been through that program. I have taken a much deeper leadership role in my school as well as regionally. It is also afforded me the opportunity to work with other school systems and even to acquire an Ed.D in educational leadership. The Master Teacher program has been invaluable to me in my career.”

Susan Stringer
Assistant Principal, Russell County Middle School

View Susan’s student learning results

Kellie Wilson
Director of Pupil Personnel and Dean of Students, Science Hill Independent

“Because of the many skills I learned during the Master Teacher program my career in education has changed significantly. I continued for many years to be a classroom math teacher following the MTP, but the type of teacher I became changed drastically. I learned how to build competency in my students and challenge them to think and investigate concepts. I believe I learned how to get them to be an active participant in their education rather than a passive bystander. Later, when leadership opportunities were presented, because of my work in MTP I felt capable and confident that I could work with fellow educators to grow and learn together and to carve out the path towards success that my school district would follow. My experiences in MTP helped develop not only skills to be a better math educator, but aided in shaping me into a future leader of educators.”

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