Friday, September 22, 2017

Faces of 501: Marie Carter


Faces of 501: Marie Carter

Marie Carter, is now a volunteer with Topeka Public Schools. Prior to retiring earlier this year, Carter worked at TPS for 25 years spending her career in the human resources department. Carter started as a benefits clerk, human resources assistant and retiring as the certified personnel manager. Eight years ago she started the middle school intern program at the Burnett Center, giving teens the chance to get work experience in a professional environment to learn what would be required of them in the work force. One of her favorite tasks with the interns is to show them the senior notebook, which they use throughout high school and beyond. 


“I love presenting the senior notebook to the summer interns. They learn to organize, follow-up, write resumes, cover letters and practice oral interviews. This notebook is designed to assist students through their post high school years. When the students are given the opportunity to see what they are capable of…WOW. Many of the students come back to work another summer. There have been students that have graduated out of the program, working with us four to five years, and are doing very well as college students. I tell the students, present yourself professionally in all that you do. Show up for work ready to work, dress appropriately, always BE ON TIME and allow yourself to sit at the table and be heard, especially the young ladies.” 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Faces of 501: Sal Cruz

Faces of 501: Sal Cruz

Sal Cruz has worked for Topeka Public Schools for the past 25 years, serving as a substitute teacher, paraprofessional, van driver and is best known as a drum line coach for Topeka High School. This school year he took a step forward in his career by becoming a certified teacher, working at Randolph and Stout Elementary, Robinson Middle School and Topeka High School as a band teacher. 


I spend a lot of time, work, dedication and commitment to the kids in the program, I am so lucky that God has placed on my heart the desire to teach and reach students. I use the drums as the tool used to inspire students to strive to become better people and instill pride in themselves when they succeed. There is nothing more powerful than the feeling of believing in yourself. It is not always an easy road and most do not continue with music, but many become successful in life because of the lessons they have had being a part of our drum line program. I feel the lessons taught in being a part of the drum line where all students must work as a team is an important skill in preparing students for their future no matter where life leads them. The time is right for me to become a certified teacher. So many opportunities have been missed because I have not had the credentials needed to be accepted as certified teacher.  My son just graduated from the University of Kansas and my daughter is headed to Emporia State University and I decided it was time for me to get the degree that will allow me to do the many things that are important to me. The performance degree that I hold from Washburn University has not allowed me to be where my heart has been leading me and that is into the classrooms of Topeka Public Schools as a teacher.”
“I am impressed with the diversity I see not only in the student body of Topeka Public Schools, but with the staff as well. I grew up in Oakland, went to elementary schools in USD 501 and graduated from Topeka High. I know the students that I will be teaching because I was one of them and I feel I can relate to them. Many of them will have obstacles and challenges to face, but I want them to know that the Topeka Public Schools and their outstanding professionals can be their loudest advocate. I tell students, don't sit on the sidelines and just wait for your time in school to pass. Become involved in your school, take advantage of every opportunity available, and make your school life matter. It truly is what shapes your future. Ignore the fear of failure and try new things. It is better to try than to live with regret.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Faces of 501: Joan Anderson

Faces of 501: Joan Anderson 

Joan Anderson is the nighttime supervisor for the custodial crew at Topeka High, where she manages a crew of six. She's in her fourth year working at Topeka High, with the first two working for Key Staffing and the last two with Topeka Public Schools. Anderson has been a bright spot on the night crew, making sure that their work runs smoothly, with her supervisor pointing out that she's one of the best hires that they've ever made. 

“When I first came here I knew that this was going to be home. The people here at the school are so friendly and they welcome you in. I knew this was going to be home and this was the job for me. I’m a cleaner, I like to clean. I like what I do and I like my guys and that’s the way it should be. You should be able to work with your people. We’ve spent a lot of time with the floors, it’s been neat to redo them and bring them back to the way they originally were. It makes you feel good to fix up thing that have been neglected. We take a lot of pride in our floors and lots of pride in what it is now compared to what it was. I like taking care of this building.”

“We do have kids that notice the work that is being done. There are kids that help out toward the end of the school year and they realize they don’t want to do this as a job because it’s hard and a lot of work. There’s kids that notice and say you are doing a good job, there’s a lot of kids that come up and help at games and the ROTC kids are great with helping with tables and chairs. It makes me feel good when people say thank you, we get a lot of thank you notes from kids and teachers that show their appreciation. It’s a good feeling.” 


Friday, September 1, 2017

Faces of 501: Jeremy Guerrero

Faces of 501: Jeremy Guerrero 

Jeremy Guerrero, food service, Kanza Cafe, has worked for Topeka Public Schools for the past eight years. On a daily basis he works with his wife, Sylvia, and together they own the barbecue business, JLG BBQ. Their schedule of barbecue events can be found on their Facebook page.


“I used to hang out with my grandpa when we would barbecue for the family. I watched him and asked how he knew when it was time to flip the food and when it was done. I took a foods class in high school and a got a job at Johnny’s BBQ in Kansas City. The years go by and it seemed like I was getting better at it, so I grilled out with my grandpa and he told me how good it was and that I did an awesome job, which meant the world to me. 18 years ago I bought a smoker and everybody loved it, and my grandpa said you have to take this BBQ to another level, so three years ago I started barbecuing at a friend’s bar and grill, last year I bought a food station and this past March I got a concession trailer. I can share my food with the public and meet all of the great people of Topeka. The best thing is having this business where my wife and I are doing this together, it’s challenging to find time to spend time with our family, we both work fulltime and run the BBQ business on the weekends. It makes me feel really good when they like my food and especially when they are smiling and say that they will come back for more. I would tell students to follow your dreams and make them happen, there’s going to be that opportunity and when you see it, feel it, TAKE IT and run with it and be the best at it. You will have to put in the time, hard work, but it will pay off in the end. If that’s what you love, IT WILL PAY OFF IN THE END!” 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Faces of 501: Janet Rice

Janet Rice with Topeka Police Department Sgt. Jayme Green. 

Faces of 501: Janet Rice

Janet Rice is a fixed asset specialist with Topeka Public Schools and has been with the district since the fall of 2003. When not at her normal job, Rice is an active volunteer in multiple community organizations. She spends time with the Topeka Police Department Ambassadors, vice-president of the TPD's Citizen Academy Ambassadors, Keep America Beautiful and Safe Streets.


I enjoy helping in the community.  Volunteering gives me opportunities that I might not otherwise have to meet people and experience new things.  It is personally rewarding for me.  It feels good to lend a helping hand. I appreciate everything that law enforcement officers do to protect my safety and the safety of my loved ones every single day.  So much of what they do is taken for granted.  Law enforcement Officers interact with people who are having their worst day possible.  Through volunteering I am able to show and express my appreciation for what they do.  I want make their day a little brighter and help return them home safely to their family at the end of their shift. “
“My advice to students is wherever you live, get involved in your community.  Don't just sit and complain - be the change you want to see.  Show respect for yourself, others and the environment.  Leave it better than you found it. "