“I feel humbled and honored,” Payne said. Payne served on the foundation’s board for a decade, including as president in 1991. His grandfather, Thomas W. Williamson, was the architect of several Topeka schools, most notably Topeka High, and his father, Dennis Payne, served on the TPS school board from 1957 to 1965. Other members of the family are or have been teachers in local schools and his father, he and his sons are all TPS graduates.
Payne said the foundation offers crucial support to the district. Pamela Johnson-Betts, director of the foundation, praised his longtime commitment. “This is a man who takes serious his commitment to public service,” she said, “and uses every tool in his toolbox to ensure that dollars are directed toward the foundation and public education.”
Payne and his father were instrumental in getting the foundation started, she said, and his father presented the foundation with its first donation in the 1980s.
Over 200 people were in attendance. John Dicus of Capitol Federal Savings and Lisa Stubbs, SBG accepted other Foundation appreciation awards for their companies who were this years Foundation Breakfast presenting sponsors.
Randall Peterson, CEO & President of Stormont Vail Regional Center HealthCare delivered a business partner message. He noted that 90% of the students involved in the SV/TPS VIP program partnership graduate from high school, go on to college, or Vo-tech or find employment.
Superintendent Julie Ford delivered a State of The District Address.