Means posthumously honored with Distinguished Professor Award

In a final honor in a sterling academic career, Ms. Shari Means was recently chosen by students at William Woods University (WWU) as the posthumous recipient of the university’s Distinguished Professor Award. A former assistant professor of education and director of student teaching and clinical experiences at WWU, Means passed away on April 10.

The WWU Distinguished Professor Award was presented at the university’s academic honors convocation on April 27. Recipients of the annual award, which goes to a faculty member who displays dedication to teaching, are nominated and chosen by students. Members of Ms. Means’ family donated the honorarium that is included with the award back to the university to the scholarship that has been established in her name.

In nominating Means for the award, one student commented “her sense of style, bright smile and eagerness to help us learn is something that I will always remember about my college years.” Another added, “I am so lucky to have been educated by Professor Means because I know I am prepared for the start of my career next year. Having her as my professor is something I will always cherish.”

A member of the William Woods community for more than 15 years at the time of her death, Ms. Means joined the WWU faculty as an instructor in the College of Education in 2002. A tremendous asset to the William Woods faculty, she specialized in the areas of Elementary Education, Learning Disabilities and Special Needs students.

“Generations of our students benefitted from Shari’s guidance,” said Jahnae H. Barnett, president of William Woods University. “Her passion and dedication to teaching at William Woods have helped our university maintain its prominence in producing Missouri’s K-12 leaders of tomorrow. She will always be missed terribly by our university community.”

Prior to joining William Woods, Means taught at the elementary, middle school and high school level with the Fulton Public Schools. She received her bachelor’s (Elementary Education) and master’s (Special Education) degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia. 

Those interested in donating to the Shari Means Memorial Scholarship should contact Peggy McGrew, Director of Advancement Information and Donor Relations at William Woods, at 573-592-1128, or at