For her outstanding contributions as an English and History teacher, Mattie is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by her grandchildren, Kenneth Hand, Martha Hand, Kikke Irving Foster, John Irving, John Hand, Mary Hand Farris, Shelagh Hand Chapman; and Nelva Hand McPhail.
Martha “Mattie” Jones Hand was born December 2, 1878, shortly after her family arrived in Kansas from Kentucky in a covered wagon. She exemplified that pioneer spirit her entire life, personally and professionally. Mattie began tutoring and teaching fresh out of eighth grade, with the understand that she would receive further instruction from her teacher. Her first “real” teaching job in 1999, began with six month terms in small, rural Kansas Schools: Garfield, Pleasant View, Shaw, South Valley, Cremona, and Grady #10. Mrs. Hand was widowed with three young children and one of the way. By farming out her family to sisters each summer, she was able to complete her degree at Kansas State Teachers College (EMporia State University) in 1925. She kept her family together, taught, was principal in Pittsburg, Kansas, schools until her retirement in 1946. This culminated forty-seven years in education. Mattie was known for her storytelling and wit. Upon her death she was eulogized by family and friends as a great educator, friend, and mother.
Mattie began her career in a one-room schoolhouse. She taught English, History, Math, and Drama in Pittsburg, Kansas, and rural Kansas schools for forty-seven years.