TC names 2022's top teacher
D. Kirkland to be honored during Saturday's Commencement
In addition to her duties at Temple College, D. Kirkland has been involved in a number of civic and community groups. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster, and has served on the Temple Literacy Council and the Temple Civic Theater board of governors. For six years, she served as the official “pronouncer” for the Bell County Spelling Bee. Steve Lemmons | Temple College photo
Our Town Temple
D. Kirkland, a member of the Temple College faculty since 2004, has been named the school’s Teacher of the Year for 2022 and will be honored during Saturday’s Commencement Ceremony.
Kirkland is a professor of speech and is chair of the Department of Speech, Humanities, Drama & Dance. During her time at the college, she has been a proven leader in the classroom and an influential member of the Central Texas community.
The award, named in honor of Claudia and WT Barnhart, includes a $2,000 stipend and the winner becomes TC’s nominee for the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award, which recognizes outstanding educators across the state.
“It is always nice to receive appreciation from your colleagues, but this award isn’t about me,” Kirkland said. “It is about Temple College and how its administration, faculty and students strive for excellence.”
“The gifts that I want to give back are all about the importance of communication and presence, whether that presence is in person or online. Be present to each other.”
On campus, Kirkland is the director of the Temple College Humanities Series and has worked to create events that connect diverse local communities to the college, including the establishment of the LULAC scholarship program. She advocates for her faculty and her department, and she recently helped develop new degree programs in theatre and musical theatre.
“Mrs. Kirkland adopts a variety of student-centered projects to promote critical thinking, communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills among students,” wrote Dr. Radhakrishna Beeram, professor of humanities, in a letter supporting Kirkland for the award. “She always thinks out of the box, uses every medium and classroom technology to facilitate learning with engaging classroom presence.”
During the crisis time of COVID-19, Kirkland took unprecedented steps to reorganize classes online, addressing those challenges in a short amount of time. She provided integral support to learners and faculty who were not familiar with virtual teaching and online classrooms.
Off campus, Kirkland has been involved in a number of civic and community groups. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster in Toastmasters International, has served on the Temple Literacy Council and the Temple Civic Theater board of governors. For six years, she served as the official “pronouncer” for the Bell County Spelling Bee.
“All these events helped her in developing a deeper awareness of challenges of students from diverse backgrounds,” Beeram wrote. “Her association as a faculty member of Temple College with other community organizations and agencies has enhanced the reputation of our institution. She takes every opportunity to make others know about their opportunities at Temple College.”
Kirkland, who has been teaching for more than 30 years, came to Temple College with significant teaching and higher education experience gained at several institutions throughout the country.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, her master’s from University of North Texas and all but a dissertation toward a PhD from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
She also attended Southeastern Southern Baptist Seminary, where she pursued a Master of Divinity.
TUESDAY | MAY 10, 2022
today’s best bets
Tipsy Tuesday at Corky’s. It’s Ladies Night, 1/2 off Corky’s Cocktails
Lonesome Dove: The Photo Exhibit runs through June 25. The exhibit is a collection of black-and-white framed photos captured by the late Bill Wittliff, renowned photographer, writer, and co-executive producer of the popular Western mini-series.
Clay with Marilyn at the Cultural Activities Center. Go to cacarts.org to sign up for her series of classes.
Czech Film Night & Matinee at The Beltonian Theatre, 219 E. Central in Belton. Presented by the Czech Heritage Museum. Gourmet concessions and imported Czech beer. Free admission. 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!