TWHS Kitchen Prepares Food For Meals on Wheels

On July 1st, food for the Meals on Wheels program began being prepared at Topeka West High School. About 980 meals a day are cooked at the schools’ kitchen, then packed up and taken to distribution points across Topeka for delivery to homebound individuals in Shawnee and Jefferson Counties. Some of the meals are also taken to Friendship Dining Centers.

The Topeka Public Schools’ Board of Education approved a contract with Meals on Wheels in April to provide meals at Topeka West High School. At the time, then Meals on Wheels President Jane Metzger said, “When you look at the regulations that the school district has to follow for meeting the quality of meals for students, they are very similar to what we have to do for seniors.”

No problems are anticipated when the Topeka West kitchen begins to cook and serve student meals next month as well as meals for meals on wheels. “There was an evaluation process by Topeka Public Schools to ensure that we had the capacity to handle the volume of meals that’s required,” said TPS Deputy Superintendent of Operations Larry Robbins.

Meal preparation at the Topeka West High School cafeteria is only temporary until a new kitchen facility can be built for Meals on Wheels at the Kanza Science and Education park next to Hummer Sports Park.

TPS Graduates Awarded College Scholarships

Two recent graduates of Topeka Public Schools are recipients of National Merit College-sponsored scholarships. Topeka West High School graduate Alex Rankin and Topeka High School graduate Sam Teeter will receive money for attending college financed by the scholarships. Teeter will attend Kenyon College in Ohio while Rankin will be going to the University of Kansas.

Bus Driver Represents Kansas in National Competition

A Durham School Services bus driver will represent Kansas at the National Bus Rodeo in Baltimore, Maryland, later this month. Nelven Smith, who was been a driver trainer for Durham for three years, won the state bus rodeo competition in Salina earlier this month.

Dr. Julie Ford Named Interim Superintendent

The Topeka Public Schools’ Board of Education this morning named Dr. Julie Ford as the district’s new interim superintendent. Dr. Ford has been Director of Title Programs and Services at the Kansas State Department of Education for the past three years. Before that, she was superintendent of schools in Trinidad, Colorado. She has more than 30 years of experience in education. “I have been working for the Kansas State Department of Education for the past three years, but have been involved in Topeka Public Schools basically through the Kansas Learning Network. I am a long time Kansan, having been in Topeka for three years. I feel really excited about this opportunity,” said Ford.

Board of Education President Patrick Woods is excited about the board’s choice. “This was not simply going down the list according to rank and picking who was second. This was really a totally different situation in which initially when we choose Dr. Morton. We needed him to help us transition to help Dr. Singer transition out and get ready for the new fiscal year and get ready for the beginning of the new budget. We have done all of that, so at this point we needed someone to hit the ground running who had the energy and was excited to take on this challenge. That’s what we got so we got our number one choice for this situation,” said Woods.

Dr. Ford has a doctorate degree from Wichita State University. Her first day as interim superintendent will be July 13th. Her salary will be $150,000. She is the first female superintendent in the history of Topeka Public Schools.

Woods & Gardner to Continue Board of Education Leadership Positions

Patrick Woods and Hal Gardner will lead the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education for another year as president and vice president. The Board of Education, at its July 7th meeting, unanimously voted Woods and Gardner to a second term in those leadership positions.

In other action, the board voted to accept a request from Dr. John Morton that the board rescind Morton’s contract as interim superintendent. It becomes effective July 13th.

Morton Leaving School District

“With mixed feelings, I am announcing that I have asked the board of education to rescind my interim superintendent contract,” said Dr. John Morton. The former Newton, Kansas, superintendent began his duties July 1st replacing Superintendent Dr. Kevin Singer, who left to take a job in Pennsylvania.

“The transition has been far more difficult for me personally than I had anticipated,” said Morton. He also cited family circumstances that may predicate his need to travel out of state to assist family members. “District staff and board members have been nothing but welcoming to me and I greatly appreciate that,” said Morton.

Board of Education President Patrick Woods said the board would take up Morton’s request at their July 7th board meeting. He and Board of Education Vice President Hal Gardner said they expect the board to make a decision on a new interim superintendent sooner than later.

Topeka West Track Team Brings Home Trophies

It was a good year for the Topeka West High School Boys' Track Team. The team placed 3rd in state competition in May. It was the team’s first trophy in 27 years. The team won the regional meet the week before, the first time it had done that in 17 years.

State performances included Tegan Michael finishing 1st in the 800, 2nd in the 1600, and 6th in the 3200; LJ Wallace 2nd in the High Jump; Paul Hatch 4th in the 100; Aaron Plump 4th in the Discus; Xavier Riley 6th in the 200; 4X100 Relay Team(Jovan Inyard, LJ Wallace, Paul Hatch and Xavier Riley) finished 2nd, and the 4X400 Relay Team(Jovan Inyard, Paul Hatch, Eddie Garcia and Tegan Michael) finished 2nd.

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