The Impact of Teachers

Hollis + Miller understands and values the profound impact teachers have on students’ lives.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation week, we asked our team to share stories of how teachers have impacted them beyond the boundaries of a classroom.


Julie Severns, Graphic Design

Mrs. Barr
Windsor Elementary School | Arlington Heights, IL

Mrs. Barr, my 4th grade teacher, sparked my creative thinking through project-based learning. Over the course of a week, our classroom transformed into an engineering lab as we studied the Mississippi River flood patterns. We worked through experiments to test theories on how to help people affected by flooding. In middle school, she mentored me through my project, which lead me to the State of Illinois Science Competition. I now call Mrs. Barr a friend, she attended my wedding and celebrated the birth of my children with me!

Andrew Huss, Architecture

Mrs. Nieder
David H. Hickman High School | Columbia, MO

Mrs. Nieder taught my statistics class in high school, and the way she approached data has heavily influenced what I do today. I love thinking parametrically and managing data. Now that I’m established in my career, I realize the importance of what I’ve learned from her.”


Jennifer (McFarland) Berka, Architecture

Mr. Baker
James Lewis Elementary School | Blue Springs, MO

My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Baker, introduced me to architecture for a class project. From that moment on, I knew it was for me! His energy in the classroom and always finding fun ways to teach a lesson has always stuck with me.

Chris Claus, Interiors

Mrs. Wilson
North Kansas City High School | North Kansas City, MO

My art teacher, Mrs. Wilson encouraged and often forced me out of my comfort zone by introducing me to different mediums and large-scale projects. Her persistence and positive reinforcement paid off. Without her I wouldn’t have received a substantial scholarship, allowing me to be where I am today.”


Melissa Brown, Architecture

Mrs. Barnes
Shawnee Mission East High School | Prairie Village, KS

Mrs. Barnes was my senior year English teacher who introduced me to a completely different side of literature, poetry and music. We studied The Rolling Stones, Vietnam-era poetry and so much more than what you learn in traditional books or lessons. She elevated my love of the arts and challenged my way of thinking. And trust me, my attention was hard to get back then!

Colten Johnson, Structural

Mr. King
Marion High School | Marion, KS

I had always been interested in constructing things but never knew how to apply it. My construction and shop teacher, Mr. King, gave me a job working for his construction business one summer. I built a 3-story residential home with my own hands from the foundation up. I knew this was the industry I wanted to be in. He graciously gave me work every summer after that, and also utilized this time to be a mentor about life, work, family and faith.


Kelsey Angle, Architecture

Mr. Anger
Highland Park Elementary School | Lee’s Summit, MO

Mr. Anger was my favorite teacher in elementary school. He challenged me to be independent – and to not always follow the rules! We completed a project to design an interior space and estimate the cost of furnishing it. That’s the first time I remember being interested in what architects do, and it stuck with me throughout college and into my career!

Julia Kusko, Architecture

Mrs. Baughman
Oak Park Elementary School | Shawnee Mission School District

In 4th grade, Mrs. Baughman went above and beyond to keep her students engaged and excited about learning.  She introduced me to the joys of reading fiction with her storytelling ability and excellent literary selections.  I looked forward to the last hour of school every day, in which she read aloud from a new great fiction book while we worked on artwork or reflected on our day.  I remember being so excited about almost every subject we tackled because she always added an element to look forward to.


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