Sewell, Nita

Nita
Sundbye Sewell, Ed.D.
Year Inducted: 
1972
Highlights: 
  • Assistant Dean and Director of Teacher Education at the University of Kansas
  • 1976-1980 Chairperson of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Author of 5 films and filmstrips and 11 books on reading education
  • 1967: Named an Outstanding Young Woman of America
  • 1989: Recipient of the School of Education Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching
  • 1989: Honored with the Kansas Reading Association Outstanding Researcher Award
Biography: 

Nita Wyatt Sundbye, former Assistant Dean and Director of Teacher Education at the University of Kansas, was an outstanding supporter, educator (of both students and other teachers), and scholar in the area of reading education.

Dr. Sundbye received her Bachelor’s in Education Masters from Arkansas Polytechnic College, her Masters from KU in 1956 as well as her Ph.Ed. in 1960.  She taught first grade in Arkansas, fifth grade in Johnson County (Kansas), and remedial reading during the summers in Stanley, Kansas.  She then became an Assistant Professor of Education at Central Missouri State College before returning to KU. 

In 1961, she joined the faculty at KU.  She served as a professor until 1980, with a stint as the chairperson of Curriculum and Instruction from 1976-1980.  In 1981, Dr. Sundbye was promoted to Assistant Dean and Director of Teacher Education.  She is credited with making many improvements to the department under her leadership, such as requiring student teaching twice instead of just once and creating many more field experiences for the students.  During this time, she continued to substitute at local elementary schools.

Her main area of academic interests remained reading and literacy.  She was the author of five films and filmstrips and 11 books on the subject, including a set of reading primers.  She was a popular presenter on the subject.  Dr. Sundbye notably created and hosted a semester-long workshop for teachers in McClouth, KS through a Right to Read grant.

Dr. Sundbye’s numerous recognized accomplishments include being named a 1967 Outstanding Young Woman of America, HOPE Award Finalist in 1972, School of Education Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching in 1989, and the Kansas Reading Association Outstanding Researcher Award in 1989.  She advised many Master’s and Doctoral students.


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