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Eleven Olathe teachers set to receive master’s degree in history

Fri, 05/16/2014

LAWRENCE — For the past four year years, Olathe Public Schools and University of Kansas Department of History have partnered in a $814,000 U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant.

The program, titled Connecting Learning and Instruction in Olathe (CLIO): We the People  – In Search of a More Perfect Union, comes to a successful completion this spring when 11 Olathe teachers receive their master’s degrees in history. 

The degree recipients are Thea Britton, Karen Davis, Kathy Falen, Andrew Fine, Holly Laflen, Kathryn Leo, Melissa Lunney, Kim McKissick, Anthony Ruiz, Mathew Stephenson and Jennifer Yoksh. They completed major research projects on American history topics that ranged from the Salem Witchcraft Trials to the origins of American Indian Casinos in Kansas.

Nine other teachers participated in the program for continuing education hours. 

Maureen Donegan, social studies coordinator for Olathe, teamed with KU Professors Paul Kelton and Kim Warren to direct the program, which included fall and spring semester colloquia in Olathe and summer onsite learning seminars at such places as the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo.; the Freedom Trail in Boston; and Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

“The CLIO Program has had an amazing impact on the teaching of American history in Olathe,” Professor Kelton said.  “I am tremendously proud of the teachers for all of the hard work and dedication that they put into improving their skills as historians.  Their students are the most important beneficiaries of this wonderful program.” 

Kathryn Leo, who will graduate with honors, lauded the program as an opportunity of a lifetime.

“We have had the benefit of learning from outstanding professors,” she said. “Because of the trips we’ve taken, books we’ve read, and the fascinating classroom lectures and discussions, we are better students, teachers, writers and historians.” 



Junior architecture student Zach Zielke steps along the tessellated tiles winding through the gallery of the Art & Design building. After completing the pathway as a class project, his roommate, junior Anthony Schmiedeler, snapped a photo to show off Zielke’s work. Zielke says the installation was an intervention — to encourage students and visitors to pause and consider the displays of artwork instead of using the gallery as a shortcut through the building. “The gallery allows the creativity and hard work of KU art students to be seen and appreciated,” Schmiedeler says. “By exploring different campus buildings, students can garner an appreciation for the great diversity of the university.” As you continue to explore KU, make sure to stop by the gallery to see the new tiles and the gallery artwork! KU School Of The Arts KU Design Department KU Architecture



One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times