Showing posts from 2017

Faces of 501: Wayne Sherman

Wayne Sherman is the building operator at Topeka West High School and has worked for Topeka Public Schools for the past 17 years. Sherman has pride in his job at the school and often wins ‘cleanest building’ for him and his team’s work. Before working for TPS he had a 20-year career in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Georgia, three different times in Germany, Bosnia and retired from Fort Riley in Kansas.“I graduated from Highland Park High School in 1980 and joined the U.S. Army right out of high school as an infantry solider. This job is similar to the military, they both require you to be responsible with your work area and your time. Our school has won ‘cleanest building’ for several years, I think it’s because of my ethical behavior that ensures that our work is completed with integrity and honesty. I always adhere to the policies and rules, while working to meet the goals of the district. The times we’ve won the award is truly an honor. I have a …

Faces of 501: Diane Mosher-Kimsey


Faces of 501: Fred Willer

Fred Willer has worked for Topeka Public Schools for the past 12 years as a social worker at Highland Park High School, but before that was stationed at the school as a social worker through the Family Resource Center. On an average Willer makes contact with dozens of students a day, driving them to appointments, helping them find jobs, feeding them or just taking the time to talk with them. Recently, he has taken on an additional role with the district as director of the new Millie Murphy Community Cupboard, which operates out of the Quinton Heights Educational Center. 
“This idea started back in the 1980s with community volunteer Millie Murphy running the original Topeka Public Schools clothing bank located at the Holland Center, and it ran successfully until the early 2000s when Murphy retired. We restarted the clothing bank at Highland Park in 2005, where it was located until this last school year. It has been expanded into the Community Cupboard, which in addition to the clothing …

Faces of 501: Stephanie Karrer

French Middle School eighth grade math and algebra teacher Stephanie Karrer is in her eighth year of teaching for Topeka Public Schools. This past summer Karrer was named a Kansas finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest honor in the nation for math and science educators.
“I really enjoy teaching and it’s a lot of fun. Teaching can be one the most rewarding jobs, like parenting, it’s hard work and stressful at times. You are making a difference for kids even if they don’t see it right away. It’s neat to hear that former students went down a math field as a career. And it’s great when a high school student comes to you when they need help with their math work, you know that they trust you.”
“It seems that a lot of students come in with lots of baggage when it comes to math, they don’t like it or they think they aren’t good at it. I tell all of my students that we start where they are right now and your brain is only truly learnin…

Topeka West Student Earns 4-H State Title

Livestock and crafts are the first things that come to mind for many when discussing 4-H. However, Topeka West sophomore Claire Coultis invested her time in a less typical facet of the positive youth development and mentoring organization. Coultis chose reading as a focus for her two-year, award winning project.
As an eighth grader at Jardine Middle School, Coultis had no idea that her project would become nationally recognized. Coultis’ journey to Kansas 4-H state champion began with a brainstorming session with her mother, Barbara Coultis. They discussed how to conduct a reading project in a unique way that had not yet been attempted.
“There is a negative stigma with the reading project that it’s all book reports,” Coultis said. “I thought we could do a lot with it that other people didn’t think of.”
She planned and led various programs within Topeka, expanding reading programs for her peers, read children’s books to preschoolers, wrote book reviews for the Shawnee County Public …

Faces of 501: Darlene Hughes-Palmer

Topeka Public Schools has celebrated American Education Week this week, and today concludes the celebration with honoring one of our substitute teachers, Darlene Hughes-Palmer. Hughes-Palmer retired in 2014 after 32 years at TPS. She has substitute taught for the past three years, currently her assignment is at Pine Ridge Prep, a preschool within the district. 
“I’ve come full circle in my career. I started teaching Head Start in 1976 and have taught at every level from grade school to high school and now I’m back to teaching Pre-K students. When teaching the Pre-K level, you don’t have to teach to re-teach. We make sure that they have the basic skills to not only be successful here but throughout their educational career. They can start school and not have to play catch-up the rest of their way through school. I’ve had the opportunity to teach in three different school districts and in three different states. Two of those school districts were in a desegregation order. The main differ…