The heart and soul of Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools can be found in the people who work in the system: the teachers, support staff, administrators and central office staff. Every day, our people give of themselves in extraordinary ways, in order to help all students reach higher levels of success, and to close the achievement gap between groups of students.
The Board of Education of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools deeply appreciates all those who work on behalf of students in KCK, and gives special recognition to those individuals whose work goes "above and beyond" the call of duty. To do so, the Board seeks nominations of outstanding individuals whose work and service deserve special attention. Each month during the school year, two individuals will be chosen as "Employee of the Month", and honored at a Board of Education meeting.
Thanks to Tammy Dodderidge for the pictures and news releases.
The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on May 8, 2012: (from left), Bobbie Malone, para-professional at KCK Early Childhood Center, and Becky Teran, School Psychologist at Parker & W.A. White Elementary & West Middle Schools.
Bobbie Malone has worked in our district for 12 years as a para-professional at the KCK Early Childhood Center. She has been nominated by Heidi Ford, substitute teacher. "Bobbie is a joy to work with! She has the most positive attitude and strong work ethic. She is a hard worker, has a wonderful sense of humor and never once complains. The children all clearly adore her and she obviously loves all of them. She is a blessing and we would like to honor her with this award of employee of the month."
Becky Teran is a school psychologist at Parker & W. A. White Elementary & West Middle Schools and has been an employee for 5 years. She was nominated by Debra Werle & Hailee Nieman, Special Education Teachers, Teresa Earley, Counselor & the West Middle School Staff. "If we were asked to describe Becky in one word, it would not be easy, but we would choose 'compassionate'. She is compassionate about our students needs, our parents concerns, and she serves and will always go that extra mile to help them. Becky is very timely and makes sure everything runs smoothly, when it comes to IEP meetings or completing paperwork. We admire Becky for her positive attitude and example she displays every day. She is a kind, positive, and very helpful staff member and will be greatly missed when she retires."
– May 10, 2012 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on April 10, 2012: (from left) Lisa Guzman, Secretary at New Stanley, John Lazzo, Teacher at Central Middle.
Lisa Guzman was nominated to be an Employee of the Month, by a teacher, Heather Hamtil. Lisa Guzman is phenomenal at her job as a secretary at New Stanley Elementary school! Despite all the traffic and busy days, she keeps her cool and shows kindness to each of us teachers, students and visitors. For me, Lisa has made my time at New Stanley so much more enriched. She truly deserves to be recognized as Employee of the Month.
John Lazzo, teacher at Central Middle, has been nominated by the principal Kristen Scott and the staff of Central Middle School. Mr. John Lazzo is well-liked by his students and his peers. He is an outstanding educator. He knows how to motivate students to do their very best. In addition to his role as teacher, he has taken on other responsibilities at school that include house coordinator, after school hall monitor, and girls' basketball coach. Several of our students think so much of Mr. Lazzo that they are going to share at the board meeting what he means to them. For these reasons, we would like to honor Mr. Lazzo as District Employee of the Month.
– April 13, 2012 News Release
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Rose Holman has been teaching students in the district for 35 years! She currently serves as a third grade teacher at Eugene Ware Elementary. She recently was presented with the superintendent's years of service award. Thank you, Rose!
She has been an art teacher in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for 35 years! Helen Windhorst teaches art at New Stanley Elementary and also serves as the district’s lead art teacher. She has received the superintendent’s years of service award. Thank you, Helen!
– April 11, 2012
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on March 20, 2012: (from left), Rick Smith, art teacher at John Fiske Elementary School, and Shameka Brown, bus driver.
Rick Smith, art teacher at John Fiske, was nominated by Vickie Stone & Vicki Ross, Secretaries; Amy Kuhn, Becky Miles, Lisa Peterson and Sharon Wilkes, Teachers; and Katy Penland, Teacher Leader. Smith instills a love of art in every student here at John Fiske. The student art work is in the entryway as well as in the halls here. Smith also volunteers his time and energy for an afterschool art club club for our 4th and 5th grade students. Smith is an accomplished independent Scottish bagpiper with 30 plus years of experience. On the first day of school every year, his bag piping skills are enjoyed by all the staff and students as he leads them into school with a parade. Smith is the perfect epitome of USD 500’s motto ... Inspiring Excellence, Every Grownup, Every Child, Every Day!
Shameka Brown, bus driver for our district, was nominated by Tim Sostarich, Teacher at F. L. Schlagle High School. Brown was the bus driver for a class full of students going on a field trip to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. The teacher stated that Brown was driving one of the new CNG (compressed natural gas) buses, which saves fuel and cost. The teacher also stated that Brown was always very professional, confident and kind in her dealings with his staff and all of the students throughout the field trip. He also stated that she is truly an asset to USD 500 and worthy to be an employee of the month.
– March 21, 2012 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on February 14: (from left), Geri Cunningham, principal at Whittier Elementary School; and Erika Salazar, paraeducator at Morse Early Childhood Center.
Erika Salazar, paraeducator at Morse Early Childhood Center, was nominated by Heather Turi, teacher leader. Salazar is the friendly face who greets parents and students every morning and afternoon. Because she is bilingual, she is relied upon to translate for many parents. Parents call at all hours of the school day, and despite the fact that we have other Spanish-speaking staff, she is almost always the person they ask for. She goes above and beyond for the students, families and staff without ever expecting any recognition or favors in return. She cares deeply about making every child feel valued and cared for, while maintaining high expectations for all. Salazar helps to make school a safe and welcoming place for our preschoolers and their parents. She contributes to a wonderful, first-school experience that will lead to a strong academic foundation and a love of learning, as well as self-confidence and a sense of achievement.
Geri Cunningham, principal at Whittier Elementary School, was nominated by Jennifer Hall, vocal music teacher. Cunningham is an amazing principal. She trusts her staff to work hard and inspires them to do their best for students. She is easy to talk to and is always available. She fosters a spirit of cooperation throughout the whole school. She holds students accountable for their actions and learning, and celebrates with them when they achieve their goals. It is a privilege to work with such a positive, helpful and professional lady.
– February 15, 2012 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored three staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on January 10: (from left), Sandy McMillian, Human Resources associate in the Central Office; Chris Green, band director at Washington High School; and Deana Taylor, Human Resources associate in the Central Office.
Deana Taylor and Sandy McMillian were nominated by Steve Vaughn, director of classified Human Resources, who said, "Deana and Sandy started more than five years ago as the team responsible for processing all of the employee information for more than 1,700 classified employees, as well as hundreds of applicants that were handled each year ... They care about ensuring that each person they encounter comes away with a feeling of complete satisfaction with their level of service. It is not uncommon for both of them to be juggling phone calls, processing a new employee in the office and fielding the questions of a walk-in applicant or employee, all while working on various tasks in support of their HR Director ... While each and every employee is expected to be professional and give 100 percent, Sandy and Deana exemplify the level of service that will enable our district to reach its goal of becoming a 'Top 10 District in the Nation.'"
Chris Green was nominated by Caprice Jappa, attendance secretary at Washington, and Ryan Smith, teacher at Washington. In their nominations, they said, "Chris is the band director at Washington High School and he provides the opportunity for the inner passion of music to blossom in each student ... He is very passionate about our students learning music and learning to love and nurture their desire to be excellent musicians ... He has an excellent rapport with students, their parents and our community supporters. He has been very consistent and active with assisting kids with their post-secondary education by helping them to secure music scholarships. His relationships with alumni is unparalleled ... Mr. Green is not just active within our walls. He takes a select number of band members to the middle schools to perform and get the incoming freshmen excited about playing and performing at the high school level ... Recently our band traveled to St. Louis to participate and compete in the St. Louis Gateway Classic. They finished first out of 40 participants!"
– January 12, 2012 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on December 13: (from left) Stephanie Dickson, PE teacher at Silver City Elementary School; and Marsha Calovich, assistant director of Transportation.
Stephanie Dickson, P.E. teacher at Silver City Elementary School, was nominated by teachers Megan Mejia, Linda Macek, Lauren Sosinski and school nurse Sharma Prosser. In their nominations, they said, "Mrs. Dickson inspires the students at Silver City to be active and healthy as well as attentive, empathetic and team players. Her work can be seen beyond the walls of the gym in the students' attitudes. She is extremely passionate about her job and her students. She has increased parent and student involvement in her 'morning walk' routine. She spent her summer coming into the school to paint shapes and symbols on the gym floor to add color and learning resources to our multi-purpose room. Stephanie always seems to be in the process of writing a grant or making calls to get new equipment and PE resources for the students. She welcomes her PE classes with a smile and upbeat attitude. She exhibits the mission statement of 'Silver City Shining Stars'."
Marsha Calovich, assistant director of transportation, was nominated by Kidzone employees Daryel Garrison and Trina Green. In their nomination, they wrote, "When we first learned of Marsha's retirement we called to tell her that Kidzone could not accept her request for retirement. Since we could not convince her to change her mind, we thought we must publicly acknowledge our appreciation for her tremendous support and dedication to the transportation needs of the students in the Kidzone program and throughout the district. Marsha's attention to detail and follow-through gave us a true peace of mind at the beginning of each school year as well as throughout the school year and during summer programming. Last minute requests were not an obstacle, nor were special requests for students and families who had limited access to transportation. Her professionalism and experience were evident. It seems she was always 'on-call' as she responded expeditiously when there was a parent or school concern. While we will greatly miss her insight and compassion, we wish her the very best during her retirement."
– December 15, 2011 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored Joyce Wade, attendance secretary at Eisenhower Middle School, as Employee of the Month at their meeting on November 13. She is actually an October Employee of the Month, but could not attend the October meeting to be recognized.
Part of her nomination stated, "Joyce Wade brings new meaning to courteous. She also shows that she really cares for the children and enjoys helping people. It shows in her face and in her words. When I call the school to take care of something, she has never given me attitude nor has she treated me as if I was irritating her ... She can teach a whole lot of people in Kansas some mannerisms that she has and it would make Kansas a better place ... She deserves a commendation."
– November 11, 2011 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on November 8: Andre Hampton, (left) Mac technician supervisor at the Central Office; and Heather Quaas, kindergarten teacher at New Stanley Elementary School.
Andre Hampton was nominated by Tom Sowers, teacher at the KCK Early Childhood Center, who said, "Andre Hampton is an extremely attentive employee in the TIS Department. The moment that he is notified that a need is present within the Kansas City, Kansas Public School community, he is 'right there.' I had a specific computer need that required his attention. After a few e-mails to and from, Mr. Hampton was greeting me in my classroom ready to provide his professionalism and attention to the problem at hand. After diagnosing the remedies for this problem I was told that he would have to take my computer ... Within mere hours the computer was back in my office ready for me to use once again."
Heather Quaas was nominated by Rebekka Brosemer and Destiny Lorance, staff members at New Stanley. Part of her nomination stated, "Heather is one of the most exciting teachers to watch! With her SMART certification and love of teaching, Heather makes it look easy! Her kindergarten students dance, sing, play, color and learn in a fun and exciting environment. Heather's use of technology encourages students to take risks in their learning while knowing she is there for them. She has a wonderful rapport with her students and staff as well as the parents ... You couldn't get a more dedicated teacher!"
– November 9, 2011 News Release
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The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored June McKeever, nurse at White Church Elementary School, as Employee of the Month at their meeting on October 11.
June McKeever was nominated by Bruce Haber, principal. In his nomination he said, "June is a top-notch, dedicated nurse. She performs her duties admirably. Her work habits ensure that all of the kids are taken care of as quickly as possible so that they can either get the medical attention they need or get back to class with minimal amount of instruction time lost. June has done everything she can to keep the staff informed of healthy lifestyle information ... She has started a walking club and made efforts to get all staff to participate in some type of physical activity. June is usually one of the first ones here and one of the last ones to leave."
– October 12, 2011 News Release
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TOPEKA—Sept. 18, 2011—Emily K. Fleming, a kindergarten teacher at Hazel Grove Elementary School in Kansas City (Kansas City USD 500), and Tiffany A. Richard, a high school chemistry and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher at Olathe East High School (Olathe USD 233), were named Region 3 finalists for the 2012 Kansas Teacher of the Year award today.
The announcements were made during ceremonies at the Marriott Hotel in Overland Park. As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Fleming and Richard each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major partner in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, an award that will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov. 19.
Fleming and Richard were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 3, which covers the third U.S. congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Gina L. Zimmerman, a third-grade teacher at Edgerton Elementary School (Gardner Edgerton USD 231); Christy Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Indian Valley Elementary School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229); Marin E. McCrossen, a ninth-grade English teacher at Blue Valley Southwest High School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229); and Donna Rhodes, a tenth-grade language arts teacher at De Soto High School (De Soto USD 232). Each of the semi-finalists received a golden apple, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Statewide, 106 educators were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.
Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels to select semi-finalists and finalists from each region. The selection panels are comprised of teachers, education administrators, and higher education representatives.
Each panel selects six semi-finalists, three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the regional finalists.
The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is then eligible for national distinction as Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the University of Phoenix Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs. The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, travels the state advocating for education and the teaching profession.
– September 18, 2011 News Release from KSDE
Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
The Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education honored two staff members as Employees of the Month at their meeting on September 13: Holly Draper, (left) life skills teacher at Eisenhower Middle School; and Trina Walker, bus driver in the Transportation Department.
Draper was nominated by fellow teacher Laura Butner who said, "Holly is a life skills teacher for our students with special needs from ages 11-15 ... She believes it is important for her to be the voice of her students. She speaks out, emphatically, for the rights of her kids. She was recently asked to apply and chosen for the Special Education/Alternative Assessment Review Board for the state of Kansas. She has broadened awareness of our regular education students as well. Holly has opened her doors to allow and encourage students to earn time from their other classes so they can come in and work with or read to her kids ... She works very hard with her students."
Walker was nominated by Douglass Elementary Summer School Principal Heather Hamtil, who said, "I had the opportunity to serve as Summer School principal at Douglass Elementary School (this past summer) ... Transporting all of the students to our site was a huge undertaking since about nine different elementary schools were serviced at Douglass for Summer School. Each morning I would meet and greet the students as they got off the bus, and it was at this time that I got to see Trina in action and the care she showed the students on her bus. She exhibited our motor, 'Inspiring Excellence ... Every Grownup, Every Child, Every Day.' She told every student goodbye using their name, every day, and told them to have a good day. She had student incentives for good behavior and attendance. She checked her bus after delivering the students to ensure that no one was left behind on the bus ... She is an excellent example of someone going above and beyond to do the best possible job!"
– September 14, 2011 News Release
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Each month during the school year, a deserving certified and classified employee will be recognized at a meeting of the Board of Education.
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