TPS Holds Welcome Back Convocation

On Thursday, August 12th, Topeka Public Schools held the 2016 Welcome Back Convocation for our nearly 2,500 staff members. This was the perfect way to welcome our employees back after a long, hot summer. For some, this was their first opportunity to see new superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson in person... and she didn’t disappoint! With her trademark tennis shoes, she enthusiastically welcomed the excited crowd. School board president Patrick Woods also addressed the audience (and even took a selfie with them!), as did NEA-T president and TPS teacher Stephanie Harsin. Scott Magnet teacher Pat Nash, who was recently inducted into the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame spoke about her experiences as a teacher in a message that resonated with all. Robinson Middle School art teacher Barbie Atkins was also recognized as a 2016 Horizon Award recipient.

Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson

Assistant Superintendent Tammy Austin

Lastly, Jardine MS 7th grader DeAndre Hicks delivered a moving and uplifting speech about how Topeka Public Schools employees—everyone from custodians to principals to nutrition workers to teachers—have made a difference in his life. The crowd was brought to their feet with applause, and some tears, as he asked them if they would be the one to make a difference in students’ lives. (See his inspiring speech on YouTube at

DeAndre Hicks, Jardine Middle School 7th grader

The event was a fun way to energize and inspire our staff as they begin the new school year, but it was made even better by the many student groups who provided entertainment. We would like to thank the following groups for helping us welcome everyone back to a great school year:

Highland Park High School Cheerleaders (Coach: Deletha Kelly)
Highland Park High School Dance Team (Coach: Monica Augusto)
Highland Park High School JROTC (Teacher: Fernando Adams)
Topeka High School Cheerleaders (Coach: Stacey Bailey)
Topeka High School Dance Team (Coach: Alyssa Schultz)
Topeka High School Drum Line (Director: Sal Cruz)
Topeka High School Step Team (Coach: Teresa Leslie Canty)
Topeka West High School Cheerleaders (Coach: Roberta Freeman)
Topeka West High School Dance Team (Coach: Chelsea Switts)
Topeka West High School Marching Band (Director: Barry Evans)

THS Drumline

TWHS Marching Band

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