The long career of Maureen Davis, who teaches theater and drama at SM North, has influenced countless students and led to a list of honors and awards that stretches off the page. And now Davis, along with retired SM North teacher Margaret McClatchey, has been inducted into the Kansas Thespian Hall of Fame.
Davis began her teaching career in 1974 at Lillis High School in Kansas City, MO, and by 1978 had made her way to the Shawnee Mission School District. Since 1985 she has called SM North home. After the long career in which she taught English, speech, communications, drama, theater and writing, among other duties, Davis will take the district’s early buyout offer and retire this year at 63, which she calls “a hard choice.”
“Maureen’s induction into the Kansas Thespian Hall of Fame reflects her eminence in the theatrical community but more importantly, it speaks to her greatness as a master teacher. Her magnanimity has been inspiring. Leading by example is the most enduring form of leadership and Maureen’s legacy has been secured for future generations of students,” said SM North principal Richard Kramer.
Over the years Davis has directed 143 school plays and will have put on 39 musicals by this spring. She also has kept track of a long list of graduates who are now spread out across the country as professionals in film, theater, writing, performing or production. But Davis said graduating students who would go on to a career in the arts wasn’t the goal. “We just want kids to be successful,” she said, and “a ton of kids who graduated from North who are wonderfully successful.”
Davis was named Outstanding Theater Teacher in Kansas back in 1987 and both she and the SM North program have been recognized nationally for excellence.
McClatchey also spent most of her career in the theater department at SM North, teaching there from 1978 to 2005 when she retired. McClatchey also won numerous awards, including Outstanding Educator by the Association of Kansas Theaters in 1986.
David Hastings, who graduated from SM North in 1988 and teaches in Olathe, presented the awards as state director of the Kansas Thespian Association.