A new class of educators was inducted into the Kansas Black Educators Hall of Fame during a banquet held Feb. 25 at the Rhatigan Student Center on Wichita State University’s campus.
This year’s class includes:
Frankie Conley – B.A .(Education) and MEd.(Educational Psychology), who taught Pre-K, 2nd and 3rd grade before retiring from Wichita Public Schools
Regina K. Foust – B.A. (English/Education) and MEd.(Counseling) who taught English and later became a guidance counselor before retiring from Wichita Public Schools. Her induction was presented posthumously.
Sheila J. Kinnard – B.A. (Elementary Education) taught drama in Wichita Public Schools before retiring.
Robert Love – B.A. (Therapeutic Recreation) provided technical support, often working with some of the Wichita Public Schools’ more troubled students, before retiring.
Rhonda K. Lewis – Ph.D. (Developmental and Child Psychology) M.P.H.(Master of Public Health), is currently a professor and graduate coordinator, in the Psychology Dept. at Wichita State University.
James Arnold McAlpine – B.A. (Education) taught History and Social Studies, retired from the Wichita Catholic Schools (deceased).
Dawn E. Pleas – M.S. (Adult Education), Ed.D. (Higher Education Management), Vice President of Strategic Projects and Planning, Southwestern College.
Robert E. Weems Jr. – M.A. ( Afro-American Studies), M.A. (History), Ph.D. (History), is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.
The Kansas Black Teachers Hall of Fame, founded in 2017, now has 54 members, most of them from Wichita. Members of the hall, a project of the nonprofit Art That Touches You Heart, are selected through a community-led nomination and voting process.
Many of the original members were legacy educators from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, many of whom started their careers in fairly segregated schools. Now, as reflected by this class of honorees, a number of the newest members are recent retirees, who, while working in integrated schools, connected well with and inspired African-American students.
This year’s induction program included an art display by students from Holy Savior, Gordon Parks and Jefferson Elementary schools.
Janice Thacker, founder and CEO of Art That Touches Your Heart, gives special thanks for their support to The Community Voice and members of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta, who provided decorations for the event.