• Dennis J. Karl 

    Dennis Karl began with the Northwest School District as a student teacher in 1971. He was  offered a position at Northwest High School’s Art Department after graduation from Southeast  Missouri State University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a major  in Fine Arts and a minor in Business Management. He loved teaching so much that he  immediately started teaching evening continuing education classes for the district plus evening  classes for Jefferson College. He also coached girls volleyball. 

    Dennis married Pam Johnson, a graduate of Northwest High School in 1974 and pursued his  Master’s Degree (1978). In 1975 he was convinced by Jim White and Bob Ward, both teachers  from the Northwest District, to build his own home. It was then, he put to use his love of  architectural design and embraced a new hobby of designing and building houses. 

    During the first 6 years of teaching in collaboration with Tom Stephens and Nick Elfrink, the  art department developed and offered an additional 24 different courses. The art department  self-funded many of the necessary supplies and equipment required beyond their budget by  selling candy bars. These newly offered classes quickly filled and with the expanded curriculum  the department was moved to the repurposed maintenance building behind the school and an  additional two art teachers were hired. Soon after, Dennis was named department chair. 

    In 1980 Dennis transitioned to the House Springs Middle School just prior to the move to the  new building on Hwy MM. Mr. Maharrey, (building principal) knew Dennis was furthering  his education in administration working toward his Doctorate and was eager to mentor him.  Dennis assisted with many disciplinary duties for Mr. Maharrey including personally  supervising lunch detention and after school detention. Dennis also offered and in his spare  time, started a 5’ x 25’+ mural in 1983 on the school’s cafeteria wall just outside his  classroom. This mural depicted many local historic places plus the names of all employees  working at the middle school up until its completion in 1987 and is still on display. The mural was featured and Dennis interviewed at the time by Herb Humphreys of Channel 4 nightly news. 

    Due to his knowledge in construction and the needs required in an educational building, Dennis  was named the Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and oversee the construction of the new  Northwest High School in Cedar Hill. He left his physical mark on the building by inserting a  window into the main office complete with his personal drawing of a lion etched in the glass.  After the school was occupied, he was told there had been no plans or budget for a concession  stand with public restrooms or athletic storage building. He took on the task himself. With determination he drew the plans and made numerous phone calls to local businesses acquiring  over $150,000 in labor and materials to complete the facility. Also, during his time as Assistant  Superintendent, he consolidated the maintenance department of the district, made major cost- saving changes to the custodial department, transportation department and cafeteria including saving 10% of his budgeted expenses from the previous  year, served on many district committees and received an Apple Award. 

    After completion of the new high school, Dennis requested to return to the school environment  and the only position available was Assistant Principal at the newly formed Northwest Valley  7th and 8th Grade Center in 1997. He was named building principal in 1999 and retired in  2002 due to medical reasons. 

    During most of his educational years, Dennis also found time to design, build or remodel homes  in Jefferson County, St. Louis County and at Lake of the Ozarks. He also pursued his artwork  which included pointillism using various mixed media. This artwork is often mistaken for  watercolor…until viewed up close. 

    Dennis and Pam are proud of their four children; Sara Karl-Clouse, Jeremiah Karl, Tara Karl Knittel, Jamie Karl and 11 grandchildren; Emma, Olivia, Dylan, Brayden, Caitlyn, Brody,  Collin, Mykela, Aydree, Allison, Paizlyn; and one great granddaughter, Raven. 

    At this time, we are proud to introduce and induct Dennis Karl into the 2022 Hall of Fame as  a Distinguished Educator.


  • Patricia L. Manders 

    Patricia L. Manders was born December 6, 1949 in St. Louis. She graduated from McClure High  School in 1967 and then attended UMSL. There, Patricia worked for the Dean of Education.  UMSL had a job fair for school districts in Jefferson County, where she met with the  superintendent of Northwest and was later hired. 

    Patricia began teaching at Cedar Hill third grade in 1971. At that time the principal, Mr.  Ferguson, had two buildings to manage. Cedar Hill had third grade to sixth and Maple Grove had  kindergarten to second. The following year, third through fifth grade moved to Maple Grove  Elementary. Patricia taught third grade for two years and then moved to fourth grade. After  sixteen years in fourth grade, she moved to first grade. She stayed in first grade for eight years at  Maple Grove and then transferred to House Springs Elementary where she taught first grade for  six years. During Patricia's thirty-two years of service, she served on a variety of committees that  allowed her to meet many other district teachers. 

    After retiring, Patricia began substituting at House Springs Elementary and did volunteer work.  Most days, she can be found walking her dogs and going to the gym.  

    Please help me congratulate Patricia Manders on being inducted into the Northwest Hall of Fame  as a Disingenuous Educator!


  • Lutrecia Stephens 

    Lutrecia Bennett was born and raised in a rural community just outside a small town, South  Fulton, in northwestern Tennessee. She was most fortunate to be raised by two loving and  nurturing parents and extended family who instilled in her the values and sense of the importance  of the family unit which she has held.  

    As a student in a small high school, and because of its small enrollment, she had the opportunity  to participate in many activities. She was a member of the school’s Latin Club, competing in a  state contest with 4 of her fellow classmates. She was active in Future Homemakers of America,  holding school and regional offices. She was inducted into the school’s Honor Society. She also  was on the yearbook staff and graduated ranking third in her class. Having had several  inspirational teachers, her desire to become a teacher was fostered. As the first in her family to  attend college, she enrolled at Austin Peay State University with plans to major in English. After  one quarter of studies, she changed her major to Home Economics and relocated to the University of Tennessee, Martin branch, finishing her sophomore year. She married her  husband, Wallace Stephens, then completed her BS degree in 1963 at the University of  Tennessee in Knoxville.  

    Her husband was recruited by McDonnell Douglas Corporation while in his senior year at UT, so  after their graduation, they moved to Florissant, Missouri and settled into their home in High  Ridge a year later. Lutrecia did not begin her teaching career until after her two wonderful  daughters were born and she had worked at Nooter Corporation for two years as an office clerk.  Her first year with Northwest R-1 was spent as a substitute teacher. In 1967, she was hired,  along with Gloria Venable to fill vacancies made by the departure of both Home Economics  teachers at that time. She served as department chairperson for all of her 34 years of teaching.  During those 34 years, Lutrecia was instrumental, along with her colleagues, in transforming the  Home Economics program from two yearlong comprehensive courses, I and II, to many  specialized semester courses so that students had a greater opportunity to focus on their own  individual interests and expand the instruction in those areas. Those areas of study included 3  levels of food preparation, 3 levels of clothing construction, home crafts, fashion strategies,  consumer issues, housing and interior design, 2 levels of child development, family living, and  independent living, (helping students to be successful living on their own). All of these added  courses required that detailed descriptions, lesson plans, learning standards, and assignments be  developed. As the department chairperson, Lutrecia assumed the primary responsibility for the  creation and production of these documents, and was tasked with writing curricula several times.  Also, throughout the years at NHS, Lutrecia served on a number of staff committees, including  principal selection, studying possibilities of block scheduling, and staff selection. She was a staff advisor for Future Homemakers of America and Key Club, a student service organization  affiliated with the Kiwanis organization. After teaching more than 20 years, with the urging of  colleague Sandy Wynn, Lutrecia continued her education at Southwest Baptist University  earning her Master’s degree and adding 30 more graduate hours above that. Shortly before her  retirement, she was the recipient of an APPLE award. When she retired in 2002, she was not  ready to really be retired so she embarked on an 18-year extension of her association with the  NHS family by being available for substituting when needed until Covid-19 forced an end to  that.  

    Today, Lutrecia is enjoying a renewed passion for counted cross stitching, being able to work all  of the newspaper puzzles each day, having an occasional lunch with her girls and friends,  watching Cardinals baseball and especially spending time with her daughters, Lisa, married to  John LaFrance and Sharon, married to Mark Davis, grandchildren, Amanda, married to Austin  Lowe, Ryan and Madeline, and two adorable great-grandchildren, Jacob and Josie. She can be  seen at most area craft shows in the fall and spring. She is also the primary caregiver to her  beloved husband of 60 years who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. 

    It is an honor and a pleasure to welcome Lutrecia Stephens into the Northwest Alumni Class of  2022, Hall of Fame Distinguished Educator of the Year recipients.