•  RetiremePhoto of banquet guests celebrating with family and colleagues. nt and  Longevity  Recognition

  • Celebrating the service of our long-time employees.

    The strength and vitality of the Wichita Public Schools as an education leader resides with the quality of its employees. For many, their service to the district and students has lasted decades - allowing them to hone their skills, to mentor their colleagues and to be leaders in their professions. 

    Each year the Wichita Public Schools proudly salutes all of its retiring employees and those who will continue to serve the district after 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-years.  To see the annual publication which lists this year's honorees, click here.

    Additional employees who finalized their retirement plans after the deadline for the special publication include: 

    Arlan Ake
    Crewperson
    School Service Center
    40 years of service 

     

    Jena Batemon
    Paraeducator
    Irving Elementary School
    31 years of service 

    Kathy Briley
    Para Special Education Low Incidence
    East High School
    9-years of service

    Kathryn Brown
    Art Teacher
    Gammon Elementary School
    11 years of service

    Judith Collins
    Interrelated-Sr High
    West High School
    34 years of service

     

    Cathy Davis
    Para Special Education High Incidence
    Jackson Elementary School
    14 years of service

     

    Ramona Lingafelter
    Para Special Education High Incidence
    Pleasant Valley Middle School
    30.5 years of service

     

    Epifania Luna
    ESOL
    Irving Elementary School
    19 years of service

     

    Sandra Martin
    Administrative Assistant 2
    School Service Center - Nutrition Services
    20.5 years of service

     

    Molly Nespor
    Principal
    Allen Elementary School
    31 years of service

     

    Robert Nooe
    Counselor-Elementary
    McCollom Elementary School
    11 years of service
     

    Yolanda Samilton
    Para Sped High Incidence
    Franklin Elementary School
    20 years of service

    Anna Stegink
    Cook 2
    School Service Center - Nutrition Services
    21 years of service

     

    Mary Stroot
    Gifted-5
    Robinson Middle School
    15 years of service 

    David Templonuevo
    Interrelated
    South High School
    12 years of service

     

    Belinda Torbenson
    Kindergarten
    Washington Accelerated Learning Elementary School
    21 years of service

     

    Carla Venable
    Drama
    Buckner Performing Arts and Science Magnet
    27 years of service

    Shirley Wiechman
    Para Sped High Incidence
    Isely Traditional Magnet
    22 years of service

     

    The following longevity honoree was omitted in error from the publication:

    Shannon Pool
    ROTC Instructor
    Southeast High School
    10-years of service

     

    The district hosted a banquet on April 29 to honor the employees who have reached their 20-, 30- and 40-years of service to the district or who are retiring. Link to a news story about the banquet

     

    Longevity Recognition 2018-19

    The district will recognize 409 employees for their long-time dedication to our district.

     

    2 employees will complete their 40th year of service. What was happening during their first year on the job?

    • Superintendent of Schools was Dr. Alvin Morris, the namesake of the district’s administrative center. He served as our district’s leader for 16 years.
    • The district began offering “Latchkey,” a program of child care before and after school for working parents. It was offered at two schools – Washington and Park Elementary Schools.
    • According to an article in INTERCOM, the district’s newsletter on October 15, 1979, “Of the 250 persons currently on the management salary schedule in all phases of school operations, only 42 or 16.8% are women.”
    • Word-processing equipment was installed in the business education departments of East, North, Northwest and South – making those schools “pioneers in word-processing education.”
    • In Nov. 1979, telecasting began on one of three cable television channels assigned to the school district by Air Capital Cablevision. Park Elementary had the distinction of being the first school to receive cable service.
    • Spring Recess was scheduled for April 7-11, 1980.
    • Munger Junior High Interest Center closed that year. It was designed for boys and girls who had difficulty in responding to the traditional school program. That program was moved to Alcott which later closed.closed in 1988-89 only to be reopened in 1989 as an Alternative Middle School Learning Center, closed in 1992 and reopened as Alcott/Burger King Academy in 1993.
    • Other schools that welcomed our students in 1979-80 but have since closed/transitioned include Booth, Carter, Fabrique, Field, Funston, Garrison, Kistler, Knight, Longfellow, McCormick (now a museum), Michener, Sim (now part of South High), South Hillside, Stearman (now Bostic), Sunnyside and Wilson.
    • In January 1980, the Board of Education authorized the planning and construction of a data processing center to replace the existing facilities in the basement of the Administration Building at 428 South Broadway and the Administrative Annex at 514 South Topeka. In April 1982, the Data Processing Division moved into its new/current facility at 432 West Third.

     

    45 employees will complete their 30th year of service. What was happening in our district 30 years ago during their first year on the job?

    • Dr. Stuart Berger was superintendent of schools.
    • The district held the first Choices Fair to give parents and students an opportunity to obtain information on educational options available for students. An elementary fair was held in the West cafeteria and the high school fair in the East cafeteria. The renamed and combined event is now known as the Showcase of Choices and Opportunities.
    • McCollom teacher Barbara Firestone was selected as the 1990 Kansas Teacher of the Year
    • Although about half of the secondary schools had implemented coed physical education, the Executive Council approved coed physical education for all grades to be in compliance with Title IX.
    • The Teacher Round Table was formed – comprised of nine teacher delegates, board members and the superintendent to discuss matters of mutual interest. Discussion at their first meeting in Sept. 1989 focused on school safety and discipline, multicultural education and race relations, and teacher evaluations.
    • The Board of Education recognized the first scholarship recipients in the Grow Your Own Teacher Program, which was designed to attract more minority students into teaching.
    •  WPS operated under the Hot Weather Plan during the first week of school, releasing earlier in the day than usual because the majority of schools did not have air-conditioning. Burger King of Wichita graciously offered to provide free ice to schools for student consumption during warm weather at the beginning of the school year. School staff could take coolers to the nearest Burger King Restaurant and ask for an ice fill-up.
    • In 1989 Horace Mann was combined with Irving and Park elementaries to become a foreign language magnet elementary school with grades 3-5 housed at Horace Mann, and PK-2 housed at Irving and Park. As a result of the 2000 bond issue, a new Horace Mann building was constructed and additions made to Irving and Park. Magnet status was eventually removed from Irving and Park, and they became Pre-K through Grade 5 neighborhood schools.
    • In January 1989, Metro-Midtown Alternative High School opened at 640 N. Emporia in a building that had previously served as an elementary school and later as administrative offices. In 2010, Metro-Midtown Alternative High School was closed and the building repurposed to house the Gateway program which had been displaced when its building, the old Arkansas Avenue School, was demolished to build Ortiz Elementary. The Gateway program was later moved to 2330 W. 15th and the old building was closed in 2016.

     

    167 employees will complete their 20th year of service.  What was happening in our district 20 years ago during their first year on the job?

    • Winston Brooks was Superintendent of Schools and Jean Schodorf served as President of the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education. Alicia Thompson was principal of Little Early Childhood Education Center.
    • It was a year for celebration as WPS staff and schools were recognized at the state and national levels:
      • Horace Mann Foreign Language Elementary Magnet School was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
      • Sue Rippe, science teacher at Northwest High School was named the Kansas Teacher of the Year.
      • PE Teacher Rhonda Holt was named the National Physical Educator of the Year from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
      • Northeast Magnet was named a New American High School by the U.S. Department of Education.
    •  Rededication ceremonies were held in Sept. 1999 for two of the district’s support centers as they were renamed for longtime WPS supporters:
      • The Education Management and Resource Center (EMRC) at 201 N. Water was renamed the Alvin E. Morris Administrative Center after the retired superintendent who served from 1968-84. The administrative center was moved to 903 S. Edgemoor during the summer of 2017.
      • The Instructional Support Center was renamed in honor of Joyce Focht, longtime Board of Education member and president 1982-83 and 1990-91.
    • East High School, Wichita Area Technical College’s Grove Campus and 14 business partners began a new construction program for high school juniors and seniors to receive school- and community-based construction experience.
    • WPS was awarded a $2.58 million dollar ‘Gear Up’ grant to encourage students to think about college. The proposal targeted Hamilton, Alcott and John Marshall middle schools and North and West high schools.
    • WPS was ready for the Year 2000. Facilities systems, such as heating and cooling, elevators, vehicles, generators, lighting controls, time clocks and other time-related operations were Y2K compliant. As an extra measure, selected district staff were on duty New Year’s Eve to monitor buildings.
    • The district and Wichita community celebrated the April 4, 2000 election passage of the $284.5 million bond issue. The bond issue allowed the district to:
      • Build two new schools (Jackson and Stucky)
      • Rebuild five elementary schools (Allen, Enterprise, Horace Mann, Linwood, Washington)
      • Replace most of the district’s 280 portables
      • Build 19 new multi-purpose rooms
      • Building 9 new libraries
      • Upgrade middle school and high school science labs
      • Replace obsolete heating systems with new systems that improve air quality. This includes heating, cooling and ventilation. The majority of district schools did NOT have air-conditioning!
      • Upgrade infrastructure in 79 buildings
      • Replace obsolete plumbing
      • Upgrade electrical service and wiring
      • Replace old boilers
      • Replace obsolete windows and doors
      • Upgrade technology

     

    195 employees will complete their 10th year of service. What was happening in our district 10 years ago during their first year on the job? 

    • John Allison began his first year as Superintendent of Wichita Public Schools
    • Thousands of students, parents and community members celebrated the installation of all-weather turf fields at Heights, Northwest and South High Schools during “Touch the turf” activities. These were the first projects complete with the Wichita Public Schools’ $370 million bond issue passed in 2008.
    • Through a partnership with the Sedgwick County Health Department, the H1N1 vaccine was provided free of charge to all students and staff who met criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control. As the health care experts in our schools, school nurses administered the vaccine to help prevent the virus from spreading.
    • The Board of Education approved the purchase of land in Bel Aire and near Pawnee and 127th Street for the construction of new schools. Schools resulting from that investment include Isely Traditional Magnet Elementary School, Northeast Magnet High School and Southeast High School.
    • Northeast Magnet began offering a Fire Science curriculum for the first time in 2009-10. Students who successfully complete the four year program are eligible to be in the pool of recruits for the Wichita Fire Department. Fire Science is still offered at NEM as part of their Law and Public Service Magnet
    • For the first time, the district’s high schools began selling limited commercial advertising on high schools’ broadcast systems and in high school stadiums and gymnasiums to supplement some of the money lost due to budget cuts.
    • High school students showed off their culinary skills during a WPS-TV show called “Fit, Fast, On a Dime – Cooking with USD 259.” Hosted by then Director of Nutrition Services, Vicki Hoffman, it featured students demonstrating their recipes and fielding questions about their food’s nutritional values, time needed to prepare, cost of ingredients and food safety.
    • The district’s Crime Stoppers in Schools program announced the Speak Up program, which allowed students, staff and parents the ability to send anonymous tips through a secure website.  Last fall, WPS launched an improved Speak Up program to submit anonymous tips by phone, the web and a new app.
    • Dodge Literacy Magnet Elementary held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on their new school, built as part of the $370 million bond issue.
    • District administration researched potential savings/impact of switching to a 4-day school week calendar as a way to address budget cuts. It was determined the cost savings would not be as significant as originally anticipated and in some scenarios studied, there could be a cost increase depending on school bell times. The district did adopt a 4-day work schedule for the summer, which is still in place.
    • The last day of school in 2010 was bittersweet for the students and staff at Metro-Midtown Alternative High School, which marked its last day of operation. The school was closed as part of the district budget cuts. Some of the other areas impacted by budget cuts included the high school driver’s education program, the Grow Your Own Teacher program and School Resource Officers for middle schools.

     

    If you have any questions about your years of service, please contact Diana Price, Human Resources Records, 973-4625.