2002 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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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.