2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Tyrone Bates, Jr.

Wyandotte High School, 1996

Tyrone Bates, Jr.Teachers are some of the most influential people in the world. They encourage and inspire young people to believe in themselves and to strive for the best. That's why Tyrone Bates is proud to play a role in bringing high quality educators to the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools.

As an alternative certification specialist for the district, Bates oversees a number of programs that seek to recruit and retain the best of the best in the education field. A certified teacher himself, he knows what it takes to manage a classroom and to open students' minds to learning.

But teaching wasn't something he always aspired toward. Growing up in the KCK Public Schools, he credits athletics for saving his life. In fact, he's writing a book about it today. Athletics taught him to be determined, resilient and steadfast. It helped him set goals and reach high levels of achievement. Most importantly, it got him into college.

Out of high school, Bates received a scholarship to run cross-country and track at Northwest Missouri State University. After a few years, realizing he was not an Olympic runner, he set his sights on a field that would allow him to influence others and one that would allow him hands-on time with his own family: teaching.

Today he has a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction. He is currently working toward his doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis.

He was part of the second cohort of the original Kansas City Teaching Fellows Program, which brings professionals to the district for classroom training while earning their certification to teach.

His goal today is to be an example for young people everywhere, and to be a positive role model for young men who don't have a male presence in their lives.


2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Terri L. McKinney Broadus

Washington High School, 1986Terri L. McKinney Broadus

Making a difference in the lives of students is what drives Terri Broadus. It's not just her job, it's her passion.

Broadus is administrator of the Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention and the Wyandotte County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center.

She has spent a total of 21 years of her life there, working with both adults and youth, climbing the ranks to her current title. The job is not something she aspired toward, nor did it come easily. Growing up, she wanted to be a nurse and took classes during high school to become a certified nursing assistant. But a back injury early on took her out of the field. When she landed a job as a youth care worker at Kaw View Detention Center, she quickly discovered that working with troubled youth was her calling.

"I truly enjoy helping the children and talking to them," she said. "Some of them are just lacking a parent model in the home and they need somebody to look up to — to be a listening ear. I've been able to do that during my career here."

Though she had a knack for the work, she had to earn her position, which she did by going back to school and receiving her bachelor's degree in organizational management and her MBA.

Several teachers gave her reasons to believe in herself while she was growing up in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and she is proud — and humbled — by the fact that she has befriended many of them as an adult, through her work and activities. Her parents also set great examples for her and taught her to always do the right thing.

Through her work and her community service, she gives students in the community reasons to believe in themselves every day.


2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Orlando Singleton

Sumner High School, 1977Orlando Singleton

Orlando Singleton shows his dedication to the community and the students of Kansas City, Kansas on a daily basis. As a campus police officer at Eisenhower Middle School, he is the first face most students see in the morning, and many times the last one they see at the end of the day. He knows every student and thrives on being someone on whom they can depend.

He has been with the district since 1991, and is also a reserve sheriff's deputy.

Singleton said the most rewarding part of his job is sitting down to talk to a student after an encounter or problem has been brought to his attention. Giving the student a listening ear makes all the difference in the world.

Although it's not part of his job description, Singleton takes it upon himself to be an advocate for students, especially those who are struggling. He's not afraid to share his personal experiences with them, and sets strong examples for them to follow.

"There are no bad apples in the bunch," he said. "We may have a few bruised ones but they actually turn out to make a good pie in the end."

His wish for students is that they could come to realize the tremendous impact their teachers are having on them — now instead of later — so that they could soak it all in. He remembers the many teachers who touched his life and gave him reason to believe in himself when he was growing up. One was Melba Hall, who taught English literature at Northeast Junior High. She was insistent that her students practice public speaking, and to this day, Singleton is grateful.

"Mostly I'm just grateful to have a chance to share my experiences and knowledge with the students of Wyandotte County," he said.


2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Pat Brune

Washington High School, 1967Pat Brune

Pat Brune is known nationwide for strong leadership and expertise in the federal court system in Western Missouri. She celebrated 31 years of service before retiring March 1, 2009 as court executive, a position that few in the nation hold.

Her responsibilities included overseeing all activities within the bankruptcy and district courts as well as the probation and pretrial services offices, and the management of a $30 million yearly budget. She was regularly appointed to national committees and was called up by many clerks to advise and counsel them on various management issues.

In 2002, she was given the director's award for outstanding leadership by the director of the administrative office for the United States Courts. The award was bestowed upon her, in part, for her development and implementation of the now nationwide electronic case filing / case management system.

A career in the court system is something Brune never fathomed while she was growing up. In fact, growing up in the '60s, she remembers questioning the system of government and wanting to change it. She came into her career with the judicial system through a friend who was working there at the time. Her first title was bankruptcy notice clerk and she quickly moved up the ranks.

Total community support gave Brune reasons to believe in herself while she was a student in the KCK Public Schools. She remembers many of her teachers and administrators being involved in organizations she was involved in, like Girl Scouts and her church.

"It was such a time of total immersion in the community," she remembers. "That support was there no matter where I was and that enabled me to succeed."

Her advice for today's students is: don't let anything get in the way of learning something new every day.



2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Natalie Dubin Nearenberg

Wyandotte High School, 1955

Natalie Dubin NearenbergNatalie Nearenberg keeps the words of her high school drama teacher, Dr. Knapp, near to her heart. In her yearbook, he wrote "Natalie, make us proud." Today, she has accomplished that and more.

Her mother, the first woman registered pharmacist holding a college degree in Kansas City, Kansas, and her father, a grocery store owner on Quindaro Boulevard, were her inspiration. At the end of World War II, they opened a pharmacy at 32nd and State Avenue. Growing up during this time period, Nearenberg realized the importance of respecting and encouraging all to live up to their potential.

After completing her bachelor of science at the University of Missouri — Kansas City, Nearenberg started her teaching career at Welborn and then Eugene Ware elementary schools. While pursuing her master's degree in social work, she directed a youth program at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri serving over a thousand youth.

In 1963, she married Martin Nearenberg, focusing her attention on their children, Myra and Steven, and volunteering in community activities.

In 1973, she opened "Fashions at Large," now known as "Natalie M." It has become a premier shopping destination with sports and formal wear for all sizes. Her husband joined the business in 1974.

Nearenberg has used her career and connections in the clothing design realm to help others in the community. In 2004, she became involved in The Ali Kemp Educational (TAKE) Foundation. She garnered sponsors for a prom show which has become the largest in the country. In 2009, she helped raise $50,000 for the foundation. Recently, she has sponsored fashion shows for the Blue Valley Educational Foundation.

Her dedication to youth and the community is inspiring. She has encouraged students to become involved in community projects and to believe in themselves and their worth to the community.