The College of Education chose Steve Lilly, superintendent of schools for USD 342 at McLouth, Kansas, as the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Service Administrator Award, and Jimmika Lawson, instructional coach to classroom teachers at Silver City Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas, for the 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award. 

Lilly (MS ’96) has worked in public education for 26 years, including as a special education teacher in several large Kansas school districts, as an at-risk teacher in Missouri, and as a basketball coach. He also has coached and taught at the collegiate level, including as a graduate assistant basketball coach at PSU under Gene Iba, and for six years as an instructor and basketball coach at Independence Community College, where his teams had winning records.  

At McLouth, Lilly agreed to coach the team after a string of losses and no applicants for the job; last year’s team went to the state tournament for the first time in 50 years. 

Jimmika Lawson (BSEd ’13, MSEd ’17, SPEd ’19) taught second grade for five years at William Allen White Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas before becoming an instructional coach at Silver City Elementary, where she coordinates with families and teachers to implement interventions to develop skills for struggling learners. A STAR Teacher of the Year recipient at the building level, she is active on the leadership team.  

She pursued a specialist in education degree in advanced studies in leadership, with an emphasis in general school administration with a hope to one day become an elementary school principal.