Highlights/Results from the KCKPS Literary Festival
KCKPS Kidzone Director Daryel Garrison Receives 2017 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award
New KCKPS Video Highlights District’s Outstanding Features
KCKPS Officer Orlando Singleton Receives 2017 Consensus Civility Award
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Board of Education - Election Results
Coronado Middle School's Dress for Success Day
Coronado Middle School's Dress for Success Day

 

2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Pat Gaunce

Wyandotte High School — Class of 1952Pat Gaunce

The easiest way to describe the accomplishments of Pat Gaunce might be to list what she hasn't done or been involved with in Kansas City, Kan. She has served on the boards of more than 32 state and local organizations, is a member of more than 20 professional and community groups, and has received more than a dozen civic awards in her lifetime.

Pat graduated in 1952 from Wyandotte High School, married her high school sweetheart, Gary, had three children, and immersed herself in running libraries and building community. Today, she is manager of West Wyandotte Library and F.L. Schlagle Library, and also serves as the community relations coordinator for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library System. Pat's involvement with libraries extends beyond management - she was instrumental in the planning and opening of both West Wyandotte Library in 1986 and F.L. Schlagle Library in 2001.

Pat credits two forces for giving her reasons to believe: her family and the power of books. So many of her early lessons about life came from her older siblings, who readily shared their love of reading with Pat. Because reading was such an important part of her childhood, she started a tradition with her own family called "Spoiler Days." On Spoiler Days, she and her six grandchildren shop for special gifts together and a new book is always included.

 

 

2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Valera Jefferson

 Sumner High School — Class of 1962Valera Jefferson

The education Valera Jefferson received at Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools gave her reasons to believe. One experience, in particular, taught her to trust in her abilities. It was during her eighth-grade year and Valera was selected to give a speech over the school's intercom on the history of Kansas. She studied, prepared, and successfully presented her speech. The opportunity to face and meet a challenge taught Valera she could succeed, and more important, that she wanted to help others succeed.

Valera took this lesson and pursued a career in education after her graduation from Sumner High School in 1962. She began her college career at Kansas City, Kansas Community College and transferred to the University of Kansas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1966. She earned her master's degree in curriculum, instruction, and administration from the University of Kansas in 1977.

Valera is currently the School Improvement Facilitator for two schools in the Kansas City, Kansas School District – Douglass Elementary and New Chelsea Elementary. During her 36 years with the district she has been an elementary classroom teacher, principal, grade-level coordinator, and Title I supervisor. Her involvement in the community includes the Wyandotte County Parents University, where she serves as a presenter and member of the steering committee; Delta Kappa Gamma Society for teachers, past local president; Youth Friends mentor; and member of the International Reading Association and Sumner High School Alumni Association.

A Kansas City, Kan., native, Valera attended Grant Elementary School, Northeast Junior High, and graduated from Sumner High. She currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Donald. They have one son, Arnett.

 

2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Song Koppenhaver

Wyandotte High School — Class of 1991Song Koppenhaver

Two exceptional teachers, Paula Nickum and Charlotte Davis, gave Song Koppenhaver reasons to believe in her ability to succeed. Their dedication to work and students helped her realize the value of encouraging others to reach their potential. Song was so inspired by them she followed in their footsteps and chose to become a teacher in the Kansas City, Kansas School District.

A 1991 graduate of Wyandotte High School, Song now teaches English at her alma mater. Her passion to help students succeed goes beyond the classroom. She currently is involved with the First Things First, a reform program dedicated to changing the lives of youth in Kansas City, Kan.

In addition, she is the Small Learning community coordinator at Wyandotte High School, serving as a liaison between parents, teachers, and the principal. Song also belongs to the Kansas Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, and National Council of Teachers of English.

After high school, she went on to receive her bachelor's degree in education from Emporia State University and master's degree in education from St. Mary College.

Song was born in Laos and currently lives in Kansas City, Kan., with her husband, Chris.

 

 

2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Theresa Van Goethem

Rosedale High School — Class of 1970Theresa Van Goethem

Theresa Van Goethem's parents gave her reasons to believe in herself. Her mom believed in the power of reading, and like clockwork, would reserve time each day for reading. Her dad demonstrated a strong work ethic and stressed the power of establishing positive relationships with others.

Theresa learned from her parents' example, developed her own passion for reading and working with others, and decided to funnel that energy into teaching. After teaching special education at both Fairfax and Banneker Elementary Schools, Theresa became the coordinator for elementary special education programs in the Kansas City, Kansas School District. She is an educator in the district and has been for nearly 30 years.

In her spare time, Theresa has served on a variety of district school committees such as Teaching and Learning, Interest-Based Bargaining, Summer Conference Planning, and Beginning Teacher's Staff Development. She also is past president of the Kansas City, Kansas Administrators and Supervisors Association, as well as the Council for Exceptional Children. Since 1975, she has volunteered with the Special Olympics and Foster Grandparents Program, a nonprofit organization that brings low-income older adults and special- or exceptional-needs children and adolescents together in a variety of settings.

After graduating from Rosedale High School in 1970, Theresa entered Kansas City, Kansas Community College and later transferred to Kansas State University. At KSU, Theresa earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education with an emphasis in special education in 1974, and a double master's degree in mental retardation and behavioral disorders in 1980.

Theresa lives with her husband, Dan, in Kansas City, Kan., less than three-quarters of a mile from the home where she grew up. They have two daughters, Vanessa and Nicole.

 

2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Reasons to Believe logo

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

Sheila Lenoir

Washington High School — Class of 1977Sheila Lenoir

Growing up, Shelia Lenoir knew she wanted to succeed, and realized education would help her reach her goals. By possessing a "can do" attitude and continuing to learn new skills, she worked her way from clerk typist to first female firefighter at the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department. Throughout her career, she has continued to take on new job responsibilities and now holds the title of fire inspector.

Shelia is a firm believer in giving back to her community and finds happiness in sharing her story with others. She volunteers with the Just Read program, and Safe Haven, a student-firefighter mentoring program.

Shelia attended Quindaro Elementary and Northwest Junior High School, and graduated from Washington High School in 1977. She is currently enrolled in classes at Kansas City, Kansas Community College and is working toward her associate's degree.

She was born and raised in Kansas City, Kan., and has three children: Jason, Tarajah, and Jihad.