Teri Bloomer was the mother of two boys who grew up in Prairie Village. Now, she’s mom to about 200 girls in Lawrence.
Mom Teri, as she’s called, is the house mother at the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at the University of Kansas.
As a house mom, her job consists of helping the sorority run smoothly. That means everything from helping to organize decorating days for the holidays, to how to solve problems with reorganizing the community refrigerator, and a whole lot more.
“She cares about what’s going on in the house,” said Jane Evans, a senior from Prairie Village and the sorority’s chapter president. “She goes above and beyond to make our chapter better.”
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In her second year as the house mom, Bloomer has used her ever-mobile lifestyle and background as an educator to find her niche in sorority life.
Bloomer’s journey with Kappa Kappa Gamma began in 1971 as a sorority member at Kansas State University, Then came degree, career, and raising a family before returning to her sorority roots.
The house mom life is busy, but as an educator, mother of two boys, grandmother of two, and mom to the sorority members, the work has been fulfilling.
“I say it was like a gift of going back in time,” Bloomer said, “except you don’t have to study.”
Growing up as the oldest of five children and living in several states, Bloomer gained many memories from her childhood but also a sense of independence. Even as the oldest child in her family, her family atmosphere didn’t require her to hold more responsibility than her siblings.
“I don’t feel like (my parents) made me do more than anybody else,” Bloomer said. “It wasn’t always my job to babysit; they did a good job of balancing that out.”
Bloomer’s childhood took her to places in Texas, New Mexico and California before reaching Prairie Village.
“Prairie Village is all part of the Kansas City area, so I never lived in a very small town,” Bloomer said. “It seemed the same to me as other places.”
After graduating from Shawnee Mission West high school in 1971, Bloomer’s journey continued at Kansas State .
“It is kind of a crazy thing because I didn’t know which school I wanted to go to between KU and K-State,” Bloomer said. “At the time because I graduated from high school in 1971, KU was a little crazier place. They were having demonstrations; they were setting things on fire. K-State was more farm country. It ended up that four of us went to K-State, but I do have a brother that went to KU. ”
Bloomer studied elementary education during her undergraduate education, while also establishing ties with Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree after college, Bloomer moved to Wichita where she earned a master’s degree in education administration. She worked as a teacher at a new private school in the area, later becoming its principal.
Then after taking time off from teaching fulltime, her professional life took another turn.
In the summer of 2010, the Kappa Kappa Gamma house mom at K-State died and the sorority was looking for a replacement, Bloomer said.
“I never thought about doing that in my whole life,” Bloomer said, “but I had been on their board and my friend who was on the board said to do it. The more I thought about it I thought, well, I really don’t have any reason not to. I thought I would go do it for a little bit and give them some more time to look. I ended up doing it for three years.”
Then it was back to Prairie Village until 2015, when she had an an opportunity to become the sorority’s KU house mom. The decision was a difficult one, wth a new grandson joining the family.
The sorority members are glad she chose Lawrence.
“She really does make Kappa a home,” said Morgan Wilkerson, a junior from Leawood. “I think that is something people really appreciate about her. During finals last year, she made breakfast casseroles...so if girls had an 8 a.m. final or an early final they had a really good breakfast. She has tea bags and apple cider ready for people. She does a lot around here.”