Cass County Democrat Missourian

Belton’s Kentucky Trail Elementary welcomed U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Collett

U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Johnny Collett accepted a cup of coffee from first-grader London Hemingway after buying it online from the Kentucky Trail Elementary School’s Busy Beans Coffee Cart.
U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Johnny Collett accepted a cup of coffee from first-grader London Hemingway after buying it online from the Kentucky Trail Elementary School’s Busy Beans Coffee Cart.

Federal education official visits Belton School

Kentucky Trail Elementary School in Belton welcomed U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Johnny Collett on Sept. 17, when he visited Kansas and Missouri as part of the federal education department’s back-to-school tour.

Collett, who oversees the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, focused on programs designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities. His schedule called for a meeting with Elizabeth Hart, a special education teacher at Kentucky Trail who was among seven finalists for the 2019 Missouri Teacher of the Year award.

A district spokeswoman said Collett met with Hart and a few other teachers for a roundtable conversation, discussing their school, state and federal initiatives, and other general topics related to special education.

During the tour, Collett took a look at the school’s indoor tower garden, which is planted and tended by Hart’s students. After harvesting the vegetables they’ve grown, the children work with others at the school to make salads.

He also purchased a 50 cent cup of coffee from the Busy Beans Coffee Cart, another of Hart’s initiatives. On days the cart opens for business, her students make the deliveries, which is another way to achieve Hart’s goal of inclusion as the students learn life skills.

“When they deliver the coffee, the other teachers will see their faces and learn their personalities, and the kids will get to see and be part of the community,” Hart told the Democrat last year.

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Ray-Pec launches superintendent search

After meeting with representatives from the Missouri School Boards’ Association on Sept. 12, the Raymore-Peculiar Board of Education has officially begun its search for a new superintendent. The current superintendent, Kari Monsees, will retire at the end of this academic year.

MSBA consultants Paul James and Robert Watkins, who have served as school superintendents in eastern Jackson County, are working with the district on the process, which began Sept. 16 with a formal announcement of the vacancy. The consultants are advertising the opening in a variety of ways.

Meanwhile, the consultants will interview school board members about the characteristics and qualities they want in the next superintendent. The consultants may also talk to district employees and community members, as directed by the board. An online survey will be made available for the community.

The board hopes to begin interviewing finalists in mid-November and announce its choice in December.

HHS names Students of the Month

Harrisonville High School seniors Jayden Osborn and Carson Crowley have been chosen by the faculty as Students of the Month for September. They’re being honored for their character, citizenship and academics.

Osborn, the daughter of Mike and Debbie Osborn, is a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at school; vice-president of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Key Club and National Honor Society, and president of the varsity show choir Music Makers. She’s also involved with Bright Futures Harrisonville, Peer Helpers, soccer and theater.

She has earned the Katie Rios scholarship, the Wildcat Exemplification Award in soccer, Academic All-Conference honors and the Excellence in Academics award for three years. After graduation, Osborn plans to attend Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo.

Crowley is the son of John and Amy Crowley. He’s captain of the football team, vice-president of Future Business Leaders of America, Key Club treasurer and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader. He also plays baseball.

He, too, has earned the Excellence in Academics award for three years. He’s also a member of the school’s ACT Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for students who score 30 or higher on the college entrance exam. Crowley plans to major in accounting at the University of Kansas after he graduates.

Ray-Pec selects three for Distinguished Alumni Award

The Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation has named three recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award: Nick Hart, Jeremy Jones and Mike Medsker. They will be honored Sept. 27 at a luncheon and at the homecoming football game.

The honorees:

Nick Hart (Class of 2002): Hart, who has earned a Ph.D, is the CEO of the Washington, D.C.,-based Data Coalition and the president of the Data Foundation. He helped to craft the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, which became law in this year to strengthen the country’s data management and privacy laws.

Hart also worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget under three presidents, influencing federal policy on Social Security, disability, poverty, energy, economic development and criminal justice issues.

In high school, he was active in Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society and the school newspaper.

Jeremy Jones (Class of 1995): Jones is a former professional baseball player who in 2003 founded the Building Champions Baseball Academy in Overland Park, where he is the hitting instructor.

He was a catcher during 1996-1997 at Mesa Community College and in 1998 at Arizona State University, where he was named Defensive Player of the Year. He played five seasons in the Texas Rangers organization after being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 1995, the Cleveland Indians in 1996 and the Rangers in 1998.

Mike Medsker (Class of 1997): Medsker, who owns an insurance agency in Raymore, is the Recorder of Deeds for Cass County. His community involvement also has included service on the Raymore City Council and membership in local Chambers of Commerce, the Belton-Raymore Rotary Club and the Optimist Club.

He coaches softball and baseball and was instrumental in starting the Watch DOGs program for fathers in two schools. His wife, Angie, is a 1996 Ray-Pec graduate.

Rotary club honors two Ray-Pec seniors

The Belton-Raymore Rotary Club has recognized two Raymore-Peculiar High School seniors as Students of the Month for September. They are Tyler Swift and Marissa Dick.