As a university professor at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, Dr. Runyan teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of Teaching and Leadership in the College of Education. Known for developing and teaching such innovative graduate courses as Current Teaching Practices, Trends and Issues, Methods for Secondary Teachers, Methods and Materials for Academic Literacy, Assessment for Effective Teaching, Methods of Research, Restructuring the American School, American Education for International Students, FUNdamentals of Teaching, and The Mentorship, he also supervises student teachers in the public school system.
Active nationally, Dr. Runyan has been invited to present at over seventy national and international conferences in the United States, Canada, and Russia over the past three decades. He has appeared before such groups as the National Middle School Association, Association of Teacher Educators, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, International Mentoring Association, Academic and Business Research Institute, and the National Council of States. Dr. Runyan also served on the National Council of State’s Classrooms for the 21st Century National Task Force. He is also a popular local presenter with over a hundred state or regional presentations to his credit. Regionally, he has appeared before the Midwest and Eastern Educational Research Associations, Kansas Effective Schools Conference, Missouri Principals Association, Kansas United School Administrators, Kansas Association of Teacher Educators, Kansas School Board Association, and numerous school districts. He especially likes doing Ed Camp Conferences for local school districts. In addition to being selected into Who’s Who in America and being invited to become a member of Faculty Row, he has authored over 50 articles and papers, edited journals, and written several books. His latest book, The Educator’s Book of Secrets: 165 Truths of Masterful Teaching, is used in two of his classes and is free for students. For his professional activities over the last twenty years, the National Association of Teacher Educators presented him the ATE Laureate Award at their 2016 national conference in Orlando, Florida.
Active in the state of Kansas, Dr. Runyan is involved in a number of endeavors that offer him a broad perspective. He has served as a North Central Outcomes Resource Specialist for eight different school districts and a KSDE folio reviewer for nine different institutions of higher education. He has served as president and a long-time chapter delegate for Phi Delta Kappa and was the recipient of the PDK Service Key Award. He also has served on a number of Kansas State Department of Education committees, most notable the KSDE’s Mentoring Task Force, the Early Career Teacher Induction Task Force, and the Peer Assistance Task Force. From 1995 to 2001, Dr. Runyan was a key participant in the Kansas Goals 2000 Early Career Professional Development program that was a joint effort between several universities, the Southeast Educational Service Center, and 68 school districts. Here, he trained mentors and early career teachers in nine monthly sessions located in four different locations throughout Kansas. Dr. Runyan also participated in developing a different vision for teacher training through alternative certification. He was a founding member of the Kansas City Teaching Fellows steering committee, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation. Helping to develop the courses, from 2000 to 2010, he served as an instructor for the Kansas City Teaching Fellows, an innovative alternative certification project. In 2006, he tried his hand at state politics and ran unsuccessfully for the Kansas State Board of Education.
At Pittsburg State, Dr. Runyan serves as a senior professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership and was honored with the rank of University Professor in 2010. He has served on various university committees such as the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, Grievance, Honors College, and University Promotion committees. In the College of Education, he has chaired numerous search committees as well as the Teacher Education Knowledge Base, Assessment, and various accreditation committees. Being an original founder and co-director of the Pittsburg State’s Kansas Early Career Teacher Academy, he is most proud of his work in developing a multifaceted mentoring program for first through third year teachers in southeast Kansas. From 2001 to 2016, Dr. Runyan trained all mentors for the Academy, worked with helping the early career teachers start their careers, and coordinated the monthly academy sessions and banquets. For a number of years, he took the entire Academy to the spring Effective School Conference in Wichita, Kansas. During the 2012 to 2014 years, a Project Rural Grant added pre-service teacher candidates and cooperating teachers to the program. The Academy helped thousands of new teachers start their first years successfully.
Dr. Runyan is also involved with the community. He has served as the past-president of Pittsburg’s USD #250 Board of Education, chairman of the board for the Kansas Teachers Credit Union, and board president of Crestwood Country Club. Enjoying the frustrating game of golf, he played on the Crestwood Kansas Cup team for several years and served on the Gene Bicknell Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament steering committee. Trying to relive his college days, he is elated that he can still play basketball once a week with the Geezers, a community basketball group. In 2015, he even returned to his college alma mater and played in the Marshall University Alumni basketball game provoking a newspaper article written about his return.
As for his family, Dr. Runyan is most proud of his three grown children and wife. His oldest son, Keith, is a Pittsburg State graduate and, after owning his own landscaping design business, presently works as the senior residential landscape designer for a large landscaping business in Kansas City; he is married with two remarkable children and always gets child-rearing advice from his father. His daughter, Jaime, a University of Kansas graduate, is an ER nurse and is married to a former Kansas House of Representatives legislator, Jeff Peterson. She is the mother of three perfect grandchildren, Daniel, and twins, Clara and Isaac. His youngest son, Scott, graduated from Kansas State University and is a web designer for a governmental website design firm in Manhattan, Kansas. He his married to a wonderful nurse, Kasey, and they have two awesome sons, Kooper and Owen. When Jaime and Scott were in college, they traveled with Dr. Runyan and other college students to tour the educational system in Russia on two separate occasions. His wife, Linda, was his college sweetheart, and is presently a retired National Board Certified 5th grade teacher who taught at George Nettels Elementary and several other elementary schools. She was West Virginia’s 1989 Elementary Educator of the Year and a 2000 State Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in Kansas.
Before entering higher education, Dr. Runyan was Director of the Putnam County Beginning Teacher Induction Program in West Virginia and was a classroom English teacher for sixteen years, coaching basketball and golf for a number of years. He was an adjunct assistant professor at Marshall University for three years and, while developing and implementing Putnam County’s Induction Program, taught West Virginia’s first graduate course on “The Mentorship” at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. Dr. Runyan received his B.S. in language arts, an M.A. in school administration from Marshall University, and his Ed. D. in educational administration from West Virginia University. While in college at Marshall University, he played basketball, was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and served as a student senator. While at Marshall, he lost several friends in the nation’s worst sports tragedy that was made into the 2006 movie “We Are Marshall.” His K-12 years were spent attending Marshall Lab school, which was an experimental laboratory school housed on the Marshall University campus. With his father a university professor and his mother an elementary teacher, he had no chance to enter any other field but education.