At the April 16th Topeka Public Schools Board of Education meeting the 2015 Friends of Education honorees were recognized.
Robert Maxwell was honored for his work as a school volunteer. For about the past ten years Mr. Maxwell has donated his time and talent to students throughout the district. He began by volunteering at Quincy Elementary through the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement organizations. He was also instrumental in introducing the Bringing Up Grades program to Quincy, Meadows Elementary and Hope Street Academy. This program recognizes students for academic improvement, not just academic excellence. Through Mr. Maxwell’s work with the Kiwanis organization, he has also been able to introduce the Builder’s Club to both French Middle School and Landon Middle School. The Builder’s Club promotes community service and focuses on character building, acceptance and leadership. Additionally, Mr. Maxwell is Quincy Elementary’s contact representative for Lowman Methodist Church and Kaw Valley Bank. Thanks to his efforts, both organizations regularly donate volunteers and funds to the school. Topeka Public Schools is fortunate to have many volunteers and even more fortunate that Robert Maxwell is one of them. Mr. Maxwell, on behalf of Topeka Public Schools, thank you for all you do for the children of this district and for being a Friend of Education.
Topeka Housing Authority was honored for their work with the district through an ongoing partnership. This partnership began at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year when Topeka Housing Authority’s then executive director, John Johnston, approached Topeka Public Schools then superintendent, Dr. Kevin Singer, about a property the agency wanted to offer the district. Through the efforts of Johnston and Singer, and with the approval of the Board of Education, that property became a satellite Parents as Teachers program in the Pine Ridge neighborhood. The new location filled a void in the community but more was needed. After discussions between the district and Johnston, Topeka Housing Authority generously offered another property- completely renovated and ready for use- which became Pine Ridge Prep. This new early childhood education center opened its doors in the fall of 2012 to 32 four-year-olds for half-day pre-school sessions. Neighborhood parents were so receptive to the school that an expansion of the program became necessary. Once again, Topeka Housing Authority stepped up, donating and renovating an additional property. Now 50 children in the Pine Ridge community have access to a quality full-day early childhood education center.
Thanks to the generosity of Topeka Housing Authority, former THA Executive Director John Johnston, and current Executive Director Sophie George, who continues to support the program, the children of the Pine Ridge community have a Parents as Teachers center and a pre-school program they can be proud of. The benefit to the students, their families and the community is far-reaching and long-lasting and is why Topeka Public Schools is honored to call Topeka Housing Authority a Friend of Education.