Ronald Poplau

Shawnee, KS | Years Taught: 1962 – Present

The basis for Ronald’s decision to choose teaching as a career was a one-year experience teaching in Brazil, where his numerous activities for social reform and anti-communism merited a personal telegram of appreciation from Brazil’s president, Casetlo Branco. He is inspired by his father, who immigrated from Germany at the turn of the century. Because of prejudice and fear, he and his siblings never attended school, which resulted in his illiteracy until his death. As a teacher, Ron was the fulfillment of his father’s dreams to free others from illiteracy. His school through its Cougars Community Commitment program was named Shawnee Citizen of the Year because of its involvement in all aspects of the community. They visit retirement homes, tutor in elementary schools, sponsor dinner- dances once a month for the elderly, provide gifts for young offenders at Christmas, cook and serve thanksgiving dinner for people with AIDS, raise funds to help pay utility bills, and have saved an elderly couple’s home from bank foreclosure. His classroom motto: The doer of good becomes good!

Additional Recognition

  • 2006 • Finalist – National Teacher of the Year
  • 2006 • Kansas Teacher of the Year
  • 1997 • Wooster College Excellence in Teaching
  • 1997 • U.S. Army Outstanding Citizen
  • 1997 • D.W. Newcomers: Caregiving
  • 1997 • Greg Parker Faculty Award
  • 1995 • Sertoma Top Award
  • 1995 • USD 512 Employee of the Year
  • 1994 • Shawnee Citizen of the Year
  • 1994 • Kansas City Star Honor
  • 1993 • Kiwanis John Trembly Award
  • 1993 • Penneys Golden Rule Award
  • 1990 • USD 512 Employee of the Year
  • 1976 • Special Armed Service Award
  • 1973 • Outstanding Educators of America Award
  • 1972 • Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator
  • 1966 • Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator
  • 1966 • Outstanding Young Men in America