Kids Know Kansas Day Trivia

Do you know the state fossil?  How about the state bird?  Students in Amee Martin’s 4th grade class at Meadows Elementary sure know their Kansas trivia.  They knew most of the answers during Kansas Day activities in their classroom.  In keeping with the old west theme, students wore a mustache and some had cowboy hats as they munched on sunflower seeds and cow patties (cookies).  The students prepared for this day by studying about Kansas and working on posters about the state, which is celebrating its 152nd birthday today.

January Above and Beyond Winner is David Richard

Eisenhower teacher David Richard

Eisenhower Middle School teacher David Richard is the Above and Beyond winner for the month of January. Mr. Richard has taught seventh and eighth mathematics at Eisenhower since 2011. Along with his teaching duties, Mr. Richard is co-chair of the math department, the eighth grade team leader, a mentor for a Washburn student teacher, and a member of the district math curriculum assessment team. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in educational leadership/administration and will graduate from Emporia State University in May.

Mr. Richard goes Above and Beyond in many ways. He built an after school program for both Eisenhower and Ross Elementary. As director of the program, he maintains an individualized program for each of the 250 students who attend. He also developed a tool that enables data collection, Data Assessment Recording (DAR), which is used to identify strengths and weaknesses to create a plan for success for each student. Not only has he had success with this method, but he has taught the Eisenhower staff to use it. This method has changed the approach of the mathematics department and has improved math benchmark scores from below average to above the district average.  Mr. Richard has also presented the DAR to participants at the Kansas State Department of Education Assessment Conference in Wichita.  He hopes to continue staff development with the Ross Elementary staff in the near future.

Eisenhower math teacher Toni Stewart says, “Mr. Richard’s modeling of reaching for the top inspires his students to do the same. This inspiration travels through the departments in which he works and everyone he meets. He shares ideas in order to inspire other teachers so they, too, can achieve success with students and scores.”

ROTC Cadets Honored for Service at Officers Funeral

Members of the Topeka High School Marine Junior ROTC gave up participation in a recent ROTC drill competition to help at a memorial service for two Topeka police officers killed in the line of duty.   The cadets, lead by instructor Gunner Kelly, escorted family members during the service at the Kansas Expocentre.  They also helped as ushers and performed other duties as needed during the service.

Today, Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller thanked each and every one of the cadets during a school-wide assembly at Topeka High School.  He presented a plaque to Topeka High Principal Linda Wiley and handed a memorial coin to each cadet as he and other members of the police department shook the hands of each cadet.

The cadets performed one of their drills before the ceremony, which they did not know was in their honor.

January is Board Recognition Month

January is school board recognition month. This is a time to thank seven board members who lead Topeka Public Schools by giving of their time and talents. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children.

TPS school board members are:
Patrick Woods, president
Janel Johnson, vice-president
Hal Gardner
Doug Glenn
Nancy Kirk
Peg McCarthy
Ned Nusbaum

Here are some fun facts about TPS school board members.

Patrick Woods has served on the board of education since 2007, serving as board president for three years. Mr. Woods worked in Governor Sebelius’ administration. He serves on numerous boards. He is fluent in Spanish. He is employed as the director of advancement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas. During high school, Mr. Woods had a habit of bungee jumping while working at an amusement park.

Janel  Johnson has been on the board since 2007. She is a graduate of Topeka High School and is currently employed as a systems analyst for the State of Kansas in the Division of Information Systems and Communications. She is the director of her church choir and she loves to sing gospel music. She is fluent in American Sign Language.

Hal Gardner began his board service in 2009. While serving in the army, he was part of the American Forces Radio and TV service in Ethiopia. He was also director of the field orchestra and band. He is currently the executive director of the Support Learning Foundation. Mr. Gardner played in a classical brass quintet and that he still lends his musical talents as a back up to big bands in Topeka and Kansas City.

Doug Glenn has been a board member since 2001, making him the longest serving active TPS board member. He is a graduate of Highland Park High School and is currently a CPA with CBIZ Accounting.
Mr. Glenn loves baseball and has a goal to visit all 30 major league ballparks. So far, he has visited about half. He and his wife, Debbie, love Broadway musicals and have traveled to New York, Chicago and St. Louis to see shows. He has been a season ticket-holder at Starlight Theater in Kansas City for almost 30 years.

Nancy Kirk was elected to the board in 2007. She is a former state legislator. While attending Illinois State University, Nancy Kirk participated in the Gamma Phi circus. The circus was one without animals where students performed on the rings, ropes, large balls, unicycles, bicycles, floor exercises and more. Mrs. Kirk performed bicycle students while a male partner peddled the bike. She performed on the handle bars, his back, and on a donut-shaped device attached to the handle bars.

Peg McCarthy has been on the board since 2006. She is a graduate of Topeka West High School. In 1978, she won the national spelling bee. Dr. McCarthy is currently a practicing psychologist. She enjoys playing the harp.

Ned Nusbaum joined the board in 2005. Dr. Nusbaum is a former administrator with Topeka Public Schools having served as assistant principal at Topeka West High School and principal at Topeka High School. He also served as assistant superintendent and associate superintendent of Topeka Public Schools. While in college, he earned money by singing at weddings and funerals.

More information about TPS school board members can be found at

Kanza Cafe Opens

The Kanza Café at the Kanza Education and Science Park held a ribbon cutting yesterday to kick off the official opening of the new café.  The café is open to the public and will serve breakfast and lunch.  The lunch menu includes sandwiches, burgers, pizza, soups and a salad bar.  The Kanza Café kitchen provides meals for six Topeka Public Schools as well as Meals on Wheels. 

High school students played a part in the café.  They helped develop a marketing plan and marketing materials for the Kanza Café.  Future plans call for offering restaurant and event management classes for students as part of the school district’s college and career ready pathways program.

The café will be open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The address is 2701 SE East Circle Drive.

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