Anne Braun named R-7 Teacher of the Year

Excellence In Teaching winners honored at April 11 event

Anne Braun, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Woodland Elementary, was named Lee’s Summit R-7 School District 2018 Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement at an April 11 community reception. The reception also recognized 12 R-7 teachers who had been named Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Teaching Award winners earlier this spring.

Excellence In Teaching winners include Matt Buxton, Lee’s Summit High School; Kelly Bailey Eames, Lee’s Summit Elementary School; Nicole Gilbert, Highland Park Elementary School; Jamie Harrel, Hawthorn Hill Elementary School; Shawn Harrel, Summit Technology Academy; Lauren Hollingsworth, Lee’s Summit North High School; Dr. Kevin McCormick, Summit Technology Academy; Sherri Norton, Lee’s Summit North High School; Janelle Pugh, Highland Park Elementary School;  Kristen Shackelford, Sunset Valley Elementary School; Clif Thurmond, Lee’s Summit West High School and Woodland Elementary School; and Kelli Wilson, Lee’s Summit High School.

In addition to the Excellence In Teaching winners, other finalists for Teacher of the Year included former Excellence In Teaching winners who were nominated for the award again this year and selected as Teachers of Distinction. These former winners had the opportunity to interview along with this year’s award recipients for Teacher of the Year and were also recognized April 12. They are Anne Braun, Woodland Elementary School; Christie Brown, Summit Lakes Middle School; and Tammi Krones, Lee’s Summit High School.   

All Excellence In Teaching and Teacher of Distinction recipients are also honored with the Hertzog Leadership Award, funded by Jon and Juli Ellis, to honor Dr. Robert (Bud) Hertzog, local businessman and community leader. In addition, the Teacher of the Year receives a $100 Cathy Paulson Heart to Heart Award. This award is funded by the Loren Paulson family in honor of Cathy Paulson, who passed away in 2010.

The Excellence In Teaching program and reception are sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the R-7 School District. All students, parents, R-7 employees and community members are invited to nominate outstanding teachers. The recognized teachers were selected by a committee composed of R-7 staff and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and the community.

As Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Braun will go on to participate in the Missouri Teacher of the Year program. A Teacher of Distinction this year, she received the Excellence In Teaching Award in 2017 and has received several PEAK Grants from the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. Mrs. Braun has taught in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for 19 of her 23 years in education. At Woodland Elementary, she has shared information related to math and instructional technology strategies with staff and parents. Within the school district, she serves on the Assessment and Data Team.

“My commitment to my students as their teacher is this,” she said. “I promise to always be in one of three places – in front of you to cheer you on, behind you to have your back or beside you so you aren’t walking alone. Students come to school with various circumstances and difficulties, so my goal is to offer them a stable, loving and supportive environment.”

One of her students said, “Every time I see her, I feel safe and happy to be at school. She is kind. She helps a lot of students that are struggling, and she tries to find a way for everybody to learn. She also tells stories that are funny or that help us learn better.”

Mrs. Braun earned her bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in reading from the University of Kansas and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from William Woods University.

Excellence In Teaching Award winners and Teachers of Distinction are (front row, from left) Clif Thurmond, Matt Buxton, Dr. Kevin McCormick and Shawn Harrel, (second row, from left) Janelle Pugh, Nicole Gilbert, Lauren Hollingsworth, Anne Braun, Kelly Bailey Eames, Kelli Wilson, Christie Brown, Sherri Norton,




Anne Braun is pictured at the reception.









Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, R-7 superintendent, and Jodi Briggs of the Chamber Education Committee unfurl the banner announcing the Teacher of the Year.





Anne Braun shares a few thoughts after the surprise announcement.







Anne Braun reacts as she is named Teacher of the Year.

Marcy Hess receives LS R-7 Learning for Life Award for April

Marcy Hess was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for April. She is a language and cultures/Spanish teacher at Pleasant Lea Middle School.

The award is presented to one employee each month who is nominated by co-workers and selected by a staff committee.

“Marcy sees the good in everyone and treats every student with respect and kindness,” said a colleague. “She is passionate about education and kids.”  

LSHS students capture awards at the KC Manufacturing and Design Expo

Several students from Lee’s Summit High School captured awards in the KC MADE (Manufacturing and Design Expo). The students’ projects, including woodworking and mixed wood/metalwork, were displayed during the Greater Kansas City Home Show, held March 23-25.

Schools from throughout Missouri and Kansas competed in the contest, submitting projects from their industrial technology classes. Four students from Tony Mixon’s class at LSHS competed, and all four walked away with awards. Anthony Mixon won Best of Show, People’s Choice Award, first in wood division and first in furniture division with prizes including a $1,000 award and power tools. Other LSHS winners were AJ Schur, Sportsmanship Award for an adirondack chair; Kaylee Smith, first place in home accessories for a harp; and Michael Gannon, second place in metals for a welding table.

Anthony Mixon won top honors with his Hawaiian Koa desk with the assistance of retired Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher and administrator Jay Helland. Anthony is pictured with Mr. Helland left) and Mr. Mixon.








AJ Schur won the Sportsmanship Award for this adirondack chair. Also pictured is KC MADE Chair Drake Vidrine.









Kaylee Smith won first place in home accessories for this harp. Also pictured is KC MADE Chair Drake Vidrine.









Michael Gannon won second place in metals for a welding table.

BCMS, PLMS students participate in field trip focusing on technical side of theatre

Students from Bernard Campbell and Pleasant Lea Middle Schools recently participated in a field trip focusing on the technical side of theatre. The students had the opportunity to see how the highly marketable technical skills they are learning by serving on the crew for school productions can be applied to the workforce.

Each stop of the tour provided students with a first-hand look behind the scenes of professional theaters around the metropolitan area as well as an opportunity to hear from technical professionals about the work that goes into putting on a top-notch show. Students toured the Music Hall, Midland, Kauffman Center and Folly Theatre.

Teachers participating in the trip included Kenny Taylor of BCMS and Kent Tipton, Travis Payne and Courtney Williams of PLMS.

“In this trip we got to see how theater stages and backstage areas have changed over time by going to different theaters made in different time periods,” said Zoey Hurst, a student at BCMS. “It also showed us how much work goes into putting on productions.”

“The benefit of this trip was learning more about the stage crew and how I can use it in my future,” said Regan Martinez, a student at BCMS. “They told us job opportunities as well as how they work. The tour guides gave us personal and professional experiences everyone enjoyed. It got me more intrigued into possibly going into this career field. I had a lot of fun with my friends and teachers and I think this is a field trip every crew member should take once in their school career.”

Lee’s Summit R-7 Before- and After-School Services reduces tuition for 2018-19

Decrease ranges from 18 to 34 percent for school district child care

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s award-winning child care program is making significant reductions to tuition rates for the 2018-19 school year with the changes designed to provide affordable access to quality care to more families. Known as BASS (Before- and After-School Services), the program serves children in preschool, elementary and middle school. BASS enrollment for 2018-19 begins April 30.

Tuition for full-time before- and after-school care is decreasing by 18 percent. Tuition for families choosing before- or after-school care will be reduced by 34 percent. Tuition for the 2018 summer program has also been reduced, and the deadline to enroll in Summer Learning Institute and BASS Summer Camp is April 23. In addition, enrollment fees will decrease from $80 to $40 per child with the family enrollment fee dropping from $105 to $65.

Monthly tuition fees will vary depending on the number of days that children are enrolled in Before- and After-School Services. For example, monthly fees for next year will range from $239 for December to $387 for April.

Other changes include the following.

  • Families that do not use BASS on non-school days will not be charged for child care on these days. The rates for non-school days have decreased to $25 a day.
  • The spring break tuition fee has been reduced.
  • BASS will no longer offer a part-time tuition rate for families needing care just a few days a week. Although this rate has been eliminated, the cost for full-time care in 2018-19 is just $44 more per month than the part-time rate this school year.  

With the changes, BASS will be on the lower end of costs when compared to before- and after-school programs in the Lee’s Summit area. BASS will continue to be a self-supporting program as required by the Board of Education.

For more information about the tuition reductions for Before- and After-School Services, visit and select “2018-19 Bass Enrollment Flyer.” BASS offers Kids Country at all elementary schools, 3LYNX for middle-school students and KC Cubbies for preschool students as well as SummitRise, a free service for elementary students on late-start Wednesdays.  

Jon Ellis receives Missouri Business Leader Advocate Award from state alliance

Jon Ellis was recently selected to receive the Business Leader Advocate Award from the Missouri Alliance for Children, Youth and Families. Mr. Ellis will receive the award at the 36th annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day, scheduled for April 3 in Jefferson City.

Mr. Ellis has been a supporter of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for several decades. He was nominated by Kerry Boehm, principal of the Great Beginnings Early Education Center, who praised Mr. Ellis for his positive impact on children and families involved in the district’s early childhood programs.

His partnership with the early education program began when his children were enrolled in Parents As Teachers. Both Jon and his wife, Juli, have made numerous donations to the early childhood program ranging from a copy machine to funding for a speech/language pathologist to better serve children. The speech/language pathologist funded through the Ellis family has benefitted close to 3,600 children and their families since 2002.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellis served as co-chairpersons for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation’s capital campaign that raised approximately one third of the funding for Great Beginning Early Education Center. One-third of the cost of the center came as a matching grant challenge from an anonymous donor with the remaining third funded through a voter-approved no-tax-increase bond issue. This charitable capital campaign for a school district facility is unique among public school districts.

Currently, Mr. Ellis serves on the Community Advisory Board for Great Beginnings and has served as a Lee’s Summit R-7 School District business partner for more than 20 years. Through Paradise Park, Mr. Ellis frequently hosts professional development opportunities for school staff while allowing Lee’s Summit R-7 early childhood programs access to Paradise Park at a reduced or no-cost rate.

“Jon’s continued connectedness brings our early education community grant and advocacy opportunities on a very regular basis,” said Mrs. Boehm in the nomination. “ We believe his knowledge, passion and dedication to early education has and does significantly impact families and children in our community.”

A Lee’s Summit resident, Mr. Ellis is the owner of Paradise Park. He has also been active in the community for many years including serving as an officer and member of numerous civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, Rotary Club, Commerce Bank Advisory Board, Lee’s Summit R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, City of Lee’s Summit strategic planning committee and Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Roundtable. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis are also active members of the Lee’s Summit Optimist Club and participate in numerous organization efforts designed to assist schools and students.

Jon Ellis is pictured with Tracy Halphin, Lee’s Summit R-7 lead parent educator, following the state presentation.

PLMS selects April High 5 Award winners

The Practical Arts Department at Pleasant Lea Middle School selected the High 5 winners for April. Winners are (from left) Ethan Solognier, Most Improved Seventh-grader, Maggie Emerson, Outstanding Seventh-grader; Landon Clouse, Most Improved Eighth-grader; and Makayla Clark, Outstanding Eighth-grader.

The school’s Partners in Education, Lee’s Summit Medical Center and Mazuma Credit Union, sponsor the award. The High 5 Award was designed to promote academic excellence among students of PLMS. Mazuma Credit Union presents the students with a gift card for Chipotle, and Lee’s Summit Medical Center provides an Andy’s Custard gift card.

Pleasant Lea Elementary, LSHS collaborate on art and sculpture project

Art students from Lee’s Summit High School recently worked together with Pleasant Lea Elementary students to present a Collaborative Art and Sculpture Project.

High-school advanced art students in Manning Williams’ and Melissa Woody’s classrooms created a list of 40 different animals. Students in Trish Williams third-grade class at Pleasant Lea Elementary pulled the names of animals from a bag, choosing two animals per student.

Using the animals selected, the third-graders drew a picture combining them. Once the pictures were complete, the advanced art students added their own artistic interpretations to create sculptures based on the younger students’ drawings.

School staff members plan to continue the collaborative project annually.

Lee’s Summit R-7 students receive Missouri Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award

Students are among seven recognized by state

Maggie O’Connor of Lee’s Summit West High School and Cara Cha of Lee’s Summit High School were recently selected to receive the Missouri Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award. They are among seven high-school students being honored this spring by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The winners will be recognized at an April 16 banquet in Jefferson City. As part of the nomination process, Maggie wrote about an individual who exemplified exceptional civic engagement and duty. Her award-winning essay featured Matt Good, Lee’s Summit West debate and forensics teacher. Cara wrote about Paul Chapa, the founder of the Friends in Service of Heroes program, otherwise known as FISH. Her writing highlighted the accomplishments of the veteran-assisting organization and the quality citizenship exhibited by the featured individual.

Dr. Tressa Wright named Greater KC Assistant Principal of the Year

Dr. Tressa Wright, assistant principal at Bernard Campbell Middle School, recently received the Greater Kansas City Missouri Principals Association’s Dr. Dan Kahler Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

The regional award recognizes secondary school administrators for their dedication to helping students and staff. Dr. Wright was selected from among the many metropolitan area assistant principals. As the metro-area winner, she will compete against other regional winners for the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals Association Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

In nomination forms, Dr. Wright was praised for her ability to connect with students, provide support for staff members and involve parents and community members in the school.

Tressa ensures each day that the school is a positive place where students and staff are proud to attend,” said a colleague. “Dr. Wright is willing to take risks to improve student learning and she is a driven to develop inspiring programs for her students. She involves the community in the life of the school and uses community resources for students.”

Colleagues added that Dr. Wright demonstrates creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change.  

“She has even been known to sing, dance and wear a banana costume in order to support her school,” added a co-worker.

Dr. Wright has served as the BCMS assistant principal for five years and been a Lee’s Summit R-7 employee for 19 years. Before becoming assistant principal, she worked as a math teacher and math LABS instructor at BCMS including serving as mathematics lead teacher and implementing the Campbell Academy, a program for at-risk students. In addition to her experience in Lee’s Summit R-7, Dr. Wright previously worked as a math teacher for both the Raytown and Mountain View-Birch Tree School Districts and is an adjunct instructor for the University of Central Missouri.

Within the R-7 School District, she has served on the Teacher of the Year Selection Team, the Insurance Committee and the Destination 2021 strategic planning team. She also coordinated the 2017 Lee’s Summit R-7/China student exchange program.

Dr. Wright earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University, her middle school certification from the University of Missouri-Rolla, master’s degree in teaching from Webster University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Baker University.

Campbell students participating in the school’s WEB leader program celebrate Dr. Wright’s regional award with her at the school.

Get Social









District Newsletter Signup


Other News Publications