Award winners announced for KCKCC’s Mid America Education Hall of Fame awards and scholarship event

by Kelly Rogge, KCKCC

With only weeks left until the Mid America Education Hall of Fame Awards and Scholarship Event, the Kansas City Kansas Community College Foundation has announced award winners who will be recognized.

The Mid America Education Hall of Fame Awards and Scholarship event is April 21 at the Dr. Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center. There will be a sponsor reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by a general reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. Dinner will be at 7 p.m., and the program begins at 8 p.m.

New this year is the addition of a student art show and jazz music performance by KCKCC students. Both start during the general reception at 6 p.m.

The honorary chair for this year’s event is Will Shields, former NFL player and member of 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class, and his wife Senia. He was also a 2001 Mid America Education Hall of Fame Award recipient. The master of ceremonies is Kevin Holmes, anchor for The Now KC.

“We are thrilled to welcome such amazing community members to the 2018 Mid America Education Hall of Fame,” said Tami Bartunek, chief marketing and outreach officer for KCKCC. “This event highlights the importance of education while raising ever needed scholarship funds for our students. We are truly humbled to have such strong community support.”

The 2018 Mid America Education Hall of Fame inductees:

• Dr. R. Jayson Strickland. Strickland is the deputy superintendent for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and has spent more than 20 years in the education field. He leads all curriculum instruction and leadership for early childhood through 12th grade as well as oversees the district’s Diploma+ program. He also helped to facilitate the Memorandum of Understanding between KCKPS and KCKCC, which established the requirements and guidelines for Concurrent/Dual Enrollment of high school students in the district. A graduate of Washington High School, he is described as leading with passion, being a strategic thinker and bringing out the best in those he works with.

• Duane Shaw. Shaw was employed at KCKCC for 47 years before retiring in 2015, serving as the director of student activities and director of athletics. A longtime financial supporter of the college, he now volunteers his time as an official scorer for Blue Devil home basketball games. In addition, he taught at Central Junior High for 11 years, where he developed and taught the first sex education class at the junior high level in KCKPS. In the Senior Olympics, he has participated in 182 competitions and won the National Basketball Association Free Throw Championships in 2016. He was inducted into the Huntsman World Senior Games Hall of Fame in 2017. He is described as having enthusiasm and devotion in whatever position he is in and is said to have touched the lives of thousands of young people through his many years as a sports official.

• Loren Taylor. Taylor is a former attorney, reserve police officer and adjunct professor at KCKCC. He also served as the legal adviser for the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department and served in the active duty Army and Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. According to one of the nomination letters, “His leadership, dedication and passion for education and the schooling of individuals from all occupations and lifestyles have, and are today, reflected in many persons from throughout the community. He has spent his entire adult life, dedicated to the cause of helping others and his community, be it providing scholarly information or academic training and education to professional advice or assistance.” Taylor also has a passion for history and has written several books regarding the history of Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County.

• Deloris Pinkard. Pinkard’s long career in education started as a classroom teacher in the Kansas City, Kan. School District and led her to multiple roles at KCKCC including vice president for executive services, dean of human resources and an adjunct professor before her retirement in 2006. She has long since advocated for employees who were marginalized, encouraging them to empower themselves by continuing their education. She served two terms as president of the Sumner High School Alumni Association and is currently the certified parliamentarian and Executive Committee member. Her nomination essay says, “From her early years as an elementary school student through her current retirement years, she never faltered in her desire to help students through her teaching and modeling of the importance of education.”

In addition, the Jewell family will receive the President’s Circle Award for an estate gift of greater than $50,000. Jesse Paul Jewell was born in Arcadia, Kansas. After Paul’s military service in World War II, the Jewells settled in Kansas City, Kansas, where Paul became a life-long professor at KCKCC.

For 41 years, Paul taught in the fields of economics, history and political science and coached basketball for a time. He retired from teaching in the summer of 1988 and wrote “The History of Kansas City Kansas Community College,” which was published in 1996.

His wife Fern served tirelessly in the First Central Church of the Brethren and in church district work. In her earlier years in Kansas City, Kansas, she taught in the public schools. Those who knew Paul and Fern well, knew them as a team – pillars of the church and community, whose wise counsel and enthusiastic personal support were always welcome, according to event officials. Paul died in May 2003 and Fern died in September 2017.

“We are thankful for our sponsors and guests for helping us raise needed scholarship funds while also celebrating this year’s award winners,” said Bob Davis, chair of the KCKCC Foundation board.

The Mid America Education Hall of Fame started in 1996 as a way to recognize individuals, organizations and corporate supporters in the community who have made notable contributions to education. Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on a demonstrated commitment to education, their effort to improve the quality of life in the community through a commitment to education, increasing educational opportunities for others and supporting significant changes that have improved the quality of education.

Sponsors for the Mid America Education Hall of Fame and Sponsorship Event include Heartland Coca-Cola; Security Bank; Bukaty Companies; J.E. Dunn; Humana; McAnany, Van Cleave and Phillips, P.A.; Black History Committee; Bovard Insurance Group; BPU; C&C Group; Cintas; Design Mechanical Inc.; Met Life; Midwest Regional Credit Union; Providence Medical Center; Sumner One and Williams, Spurgeon, Kuhl and Freshnock Architects Inc.

Tickets are still available to the event, which can be purchased by visiting
For more information on the Mid America Education Hall of Fame Awards and Scholarship Event, contact Bartunek at 913-288-7166 or by email at

Parents voice questions at KCK school board listening tour meeting

Parents had a lot of questions for the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education at a listening tour on Saturday at Washington High School.

Some parents talked about a student fight at Washington High School that had been posted on social media on Friday. Other parents mentioned that tasers had been at school. “How does a taser get through a metal detector?” one person asked. Parents had questions about whether metal detectors were working. One staff member assured them the detectors were working.

Parents were concerned about topics such as student safety, discipline, posting of fights on social media, and policies on suspension.

The board also heard comments about staffing levels in certain areas, such as special education, as well as the need for parents to become involved. One person said there needs to be an alternative education classroom, such as a room within the school building, to send children who are disrupting classes.

One person who was active in a parent-teacher association urged parents to take care of students’ behavior problems at home.

Other speakers talked about a need for more staffing and more services, including counseling services inside the school, for certain students. Former or retired special education teachers could be asked to help the district, one suggested.

A local clergy member asked how churches could get involved. “How do we get back to the basics?” he asked, pointing to a sign that encouraged self-respect, respect for others and respect for the school. “What are we doing to address the moral issues?” he asked.

One school staff member said at the listening tour meeting that they are doing all they can, and sometimes they are not aware of the problems until after they happen. Sometimes there are more problems with the girls than with the boys, he said, including fighting and bad language.

The listening tour meeting was only one day after the Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman sent out a two-sentence statement that search warrants were used at three school district locations on Friday, March 30. Because the cases may have involved juveniles, very little information was released by the police, and school officials also said they could not mention specific cases. There was no information that connected this police statement to the fighting that occurred recently at Washington.

The police statement on Friday: “Today Officers conducted several search warrants on the Kansas City, KS public School District in relation to a student victim. This is an ongoing investigation and is the only information available at this time.”

One parent suggested that a group should be formed for parents, teachers and staff to discuss the problem of school fighting and what to do about it.

The parent said if her children call with a concern about violence, she is going to “snatch them up” out of harm’s way. She wanted to have meetings with the school teachers and staff to discuss what can be done about it.

A Kansas City, Kansas, resident, Lou Braswell, who does not currently have children attending the schools, attended the meeting and said afterward that it reminded her of parents who formed a group about 40 years ago to address fighting at a local middle school. Those parents started a “phone tree” to notify each other of what was going on, she recalled. Braswell said she saw the video of the Washington High School fight on social media on Friday afternoon.

School board members explained at the listening tour meeting that they do not always know the details about each student’s suspension, or about each case of fighting. Those incidents are handled by administrators and teachers, and because of student privacy rules, they do not always hear about it. Sometimes the school board hears about the incidents if they are appealed, but mostly, the school board sets policy on suspensions and rules, they said. Currently, the school board is revising some of the policies on some of the issues discussed. Some of the parents with questions were asked to meet with administrators and staff after the meeting.

The next Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education listening tour meeting will be from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 3, at the Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N. 59th St.

For those who were not able to attend the listening tour meetings, the school district has a survey online at

To see the entire two hour-listening session from today, visit YouTube at

Kansas Republicans advance school spending bill, but not $2 billion consultant recommended

by Stephen Koranda, Kansas News Service

Republicans in the Kansas House have unveiled a school funding proposal to send an added half billion dollars local districts in the next five years. A committee advanced the plan Wednesday night to the full House for consideration.

The plan was released a little over a week before lawmakers hope to have a bill approved.

Legislators are working to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling that says schools are underfunded. The court in the past has threatened to close schools if the funding system continues to fail constitutional tests.

Republican Rep. Steven Johnson’s plan would boost school spending about $100 million per year for five years. He contends that could satisfy the court and is the most the state could afford without a tax increase.

“Our goal is to keep schools open and give them the resources they need,” he said.

Johnson said the funding plan may prove tough for lawmakers to swallow and it will face criticism that it’s either too much money or too little.

“The discussion isn’t over yet,” he said, “but hopefully we have it started.”

Republican Rep. Steve Huebert said he isn’t sure the state can afford the spending increase. He said any economic slowdown over the five years could hurt state tax collections and push the budget into a deficit.

“We’re pushing the envelope right now without tax increases,” Huebert said.

Democratic Rep. Ed Trimmer noted it’s less money than the up to $2 billion recommended earlier this month in a legislature-commissioned consultant’s report — if lawmakers want to deliver the improved student performance many have pushed to achieve.

“We have to talk about the elephant in the room,” Trimmer said. “That’s a long way from what the study indicated that we need to put into education.”

Republican Rep. Melissa Rooker has pushed for increases in school spending. Yet she said Johnson’s plan appears to comply with some past rulings on school funding, creating a solid “legal underpinning.”

“This represents a good-faith effort to try and get our state education system back on track,” Rooker said.

The consultant’s study based recommendations on several factors, including a high school graduation rate of 95 percent. Some lawmakers have said no state has achieved that and they could respond to the court ruling without hitting the targets in the funding study.

Both Republicans and Democrats want to avoid a tax hike. They reversed many of the state’s 2012 tax cuts during a budget fight last year.

Before Johnson floated his plan, Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman said he wants a bill that can be funded without a tax increase or significant cuts to other state services.

“We are looking at it to balance out with the rest of the state budget,” he said. “We’re definitely concerned about other core functions of government, especially those that aren’t constitutionally protected.”

The struggle to find a school spending compromise comes after years-long litigation over the issue.

In response to a previous court order, lawmakers voted last year for a multi-year spending hike. It boosted spending by about $200 million in the current fiscal year. Another $100 million is slated to be added in the next fiscal year. In the future, funding increases would be tied to the federal Consumer Price Index.

Lawmakers are scheduled to leave for their spring break at the end of next week. Leaders want to have a plan approved before they hit the road.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

See more at