Students, Staff Enjoy Award-Winning 2018-19

  • The Olathe School District is proud of its award-winning students and staff. Students are regularly recognized for their achievements in academics and athletics. Our highly qualified instructors have been honored by their peers locally and nationwide for a variety of accomplishments.

    Schools and Programs of Distinction

    • The Green Tech Academy, located at Olathe West High School, was awarded a $5,000 grant by Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency for the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education to establish a network of green feeder schools that will establish green teams pushing forward environmental and energy efficiency initiatives.
    • photo of the Hermes Awards for communication For the fourth consecutive year, Olathe Public Schools and its English Language Learners (ELL) are the beneficiary of a grant from the Hispanic Development Fund. This $10,000 will provide and promote college readiness programming, a Hispanic Family College Fair, mentorship program and tutoring for ELL students.
    • The Olathe School District recommended 34 students to receive the Seal of Biliteracy based on their academic achievement in English and a foreign language.
    • The Olathe School District had 11 National Merit Finalists.
    • Students in the Olathe School District scored a composite score of 23.9 on the ACT exam, which is the third highest in the district’s history. The scores were well above state and national peers, 21.6 and 20.8 respectively.
    • Olathe Public Schools’ Impact Olathe program received the UCS Excellence in Community Service Award from the United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS).
    • Olathe Public Schools was the beneficiary of an $18,750 grant from the Baptist-Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation which modifies the way vision screenings are conducted.
    • A total of 18 Olathe North High School students were named KC Scholars for traditional students. This program annually awards 250 traditional students scholarships for up to $10,000 a year, for up to five years.
    • The Communications Division of the Olathe Public Schools recently received international recognition from the Hermes Creative Awards. The Olathe Public Schools received a Platinum Award for the #MyOlatheSchools social media campaign; a Gold Award for “Welcome Home,” an internal human relations video shown to prospective employees as a recruitment tool; and a Gold Award for the Olathe Public Schools Facebook page.
    • Olathe Public Schools was named as one of America’s Best Midsize Employers by Forbes. In collaboration with analytics from Statista, Forbes selects America’s Best Employers based on an independent survey from a vast sample of more than 50,000 U.S. employees for companies employing at least 1,000 people in their U.S. operations.
    • The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), in partnership with and Smoky Hill Education Service Center, recognized Central Elementary with a Shifting School Culture Recognition.
    • The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has named 185 schools in 98 Kansas public school districts, including Olathe Public Schools, as recipients of the 2018 Challenge Awards. Six Olathe Public Schools were named 2018 Challenge Award recipients: Central Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Ridgeview Elementary, Washington Elementary, Westview Elementary and Indian Trail Middle School.
    • Ten Olathe high school students were named 2019 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholars by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). There are 39 students across Kansas who receive this honor.
    • Fairview Elementary was selected to receive the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAHPERD) Model School Gold Award for their continued excellence in physical education.
    • Four Olathe high schools were named to the top-25 in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best Kansas High Schools. Olathe Northwest High School was ranked seventh, Olathe South High School was ranked 18th, Olathe East High School was ranked 21st and Olathe North High School was ranked 25th.

    Outstanding Students

    • Olathe South High School junior Rebecca Porter was named Dean’s List winner by the Greater Kansas City Regional for FIRST Robotics.
    • Sara Stroup, 2018 graduate of Olathe Northwest High School, and Marissa Lux, 2018 graduate of Olathe North High School, were selected to receive the Governor’s Community Service Award for their commitment in giving back to their communities.
    • Emily Martin, senior at Olathe North High School, was elected to serve as an International Thespian Officer. Martin is one of six students who will represent the International Thespian Society for the upcoming school year.
    • photo of Khadija CeesayLyLena Estabine, junior at Olathe Northwest High School, was selected to be a member of The Coterie’s annual Young Playwrights’ Roundtable.
    • Three Olathe East High School students were named to the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) 2018 All-National Honor Ensemble: Nolan Ralph, senior, was named to the All-National Honor Ensembles Concert Band. Cora Miller, senior, was named to the All-National Honor Ensembles Mixed Choir. Evan Kappelman, senior, was named to the All-National Ensembles Jazz Ensemble.
    • Akerth Jain, freshman at Olathe North High School, was selected among the 100 students nationwide to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy.
    • The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), NetApp of Wichita and Northwest Missouri State University recognized two Olathe students: Riley Delancy, senior at Olathe East High School, named Honorable Mention recipient and Emily Hemsath, senior at Olathe Northwest High School, named Rising Star recipient.
    • The Olathe North High School Scholars Bowl team earned the Kansas 6A state championship.
    • Manu Sripathi, a fourth-grade student from Regency Place Elementary, won the Olathe Spelling Bee.
    • The Olathe North High School Science Bowl team won the Kansas regional Science Bowl competition.
    • Three students at Olathe North High School received medals in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Renee Born, junior, received a silver medal for short story. Katelyn Gillette, junior, received a gold medal for flash fiction and Paiton Stith, junior, received a silver medal for a sci-fi/fantasty story, a silver medal for flash fiction and a gold medal for another sci-fi/fantasy story.
    • Eddie Dai, Olathe North High School junior, earned second place in the life sciences, cellular and molecular biology category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
    • Megan Li, sophomore at Olathe East High School, was awarded an all-expense paid summer study trip to Germany. Li was selected as one of 34 national winners of this study trip from the American Association of Teachers of German after scoring in the 97th percentile on the Level 2 National German Exam for High School Students.
    • At the 22nd Annual Shooting Stars Gala, the Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) awarded scholarships to seven Olathe seniors.
    • Sixty-two Olathe students competed and accounted for nearly 20 awards and certificates of achievement at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair.
    • Eddie Dai, Olathe North High School junior, received one of three Grand Awards which were presented to the top three high school projects that meet the stringent requirements for entering the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair.
    • Carnegie Hall announced the names of the 22 young musicians from across the country participating in the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) Jazz program. Olathe East High School senior Evan Kappelman was selected for tenor saxophone.
    • Eleven students from the Olathe Advanced Technical Center (OATC) have earned the right to compete in the SkillsUSA national conference by placing first in state competitions: Adiedra Cullors, Olathe North High School; Jaxon Harris, Olathe South High School; and TJ Kinkade, Olathe Northwest High School placed first in community service team. Caleb Frazier, Olathe Northwest; Luke Robinson, Olathe South; and Damian Tolbert, Olathe South placed first in chapter display team. Bryan Ibarra-Ortiz, Olathe South placed first in job skill demonstration. Dakota Broers, Olathe South; Will Eagan, Olathe East High School; Gauge Kellogg, Olathe West High School; and Joshua Musick, Olathe East placed first in teamworks.
    • Khadija Ceesay, senior at Olathe South High School, was one of nine finalists in the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud Finals. (pictured)
    • Five students earned a perfect score on the ACT Exam: Cory Zink, senior at Olathe Northwest High School; Dallin Armstrong, junior at Olathe Northwest; Eddie Dai, junior at Olathe North High School; Arjun Garapaty, sophomore at Olathe North; and Savindu Buluwana, sophomore at Olathe North.

    Outstanding Staff

    • Olathe North High School math teacher Terry Link was selected as a Jedel Excellence in Mathematics Education award winner. Link is one of 16 educators in the Kansas City metro area to receive the honor. (pictured)
    • Olathe Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations John Hutchison was selected to receive the International Eagle Award from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). This award is the highest honor in school business.
    • photo of Terry Link and his colleagues Matthew Peterie, Engineering Academy facilitator at Olathe Northwest High School, and Andrew Edmondson, science teacher at Olathe Northwest, both were selected to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) 2018-19 Master Teacher Policy Fellowship class which brings together K-12 physics and physical science teachers from across the United States.
    • Bruce Wellman, chemistry and engineering teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, was selected to be a member of the STEM Education Advisory Panel.
    • Nancy Smith, Bentwood Elementary School first-grade teacher, was named the 2019 Janet Sims Memorial Kansas Agriculture Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC).
    • Ohio Northern University, in collaboration with The Ohio State University and Olathe Northwest High School, has received a substantial grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to implement engineering design activities into high school science classrooms.
    • The Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals recognized Frontier Trail Middle School Principal Rod Smith with the Middle School Principal of the Year award.
    • Olathe South High School theater director David Hastings was elected to serve on the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) Board of Directors.
    • Three Olathe music educators earned honors from the East Central Kansas Music Educators Association (ECKMEA). Frontier Trail Middle School band director Sara Smitko was selected as the Middle Level Band Teacher of the Year. J.J. Wallace, Olathe West High School orchestra director, was selected as the High School Orchestra Teacher of the Year and Olathe West assistant band director John Wickersham was selected as the High School Band Teacher of the Year.
    • Melinda Waldron, communications teacher at Olathe North High School, received the innaugural First Class Teacher Award presented by 99.7 The Point and First National Bank.
    • The Olathe National Education Association (ONEA) recognized  Erik Erazo, Olathe Public Schools migrant director/Hispanic student services, as its first Racial and Social Justice Advocate of the Month winner.
    • Olathe Northwest High School English teacher LuAnn Fox was selected  as the inaugural recipient of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE) Outstanding High School ELA Educator award.
    • Alicia Jackson, counselor at Olathe West High School, was named Kansas School Counselor of the Year by the Kansas School Counselor Association.
    • Manchester Park Elementary Principal Sean Bohon was named the 2018 Kansas School Counselor Principal Advocate of the Year by the Kansas School Counselor Association.
    • Olathe Public Schools Distinguished Scholars Academy facilitator Deirdre Zongker was named one of 10 grand prize winners of the Crayola Thank a Teacher Sweepstakes. As a grand prize winner, Zongker received a $1,000 cash prize, Olathe North High School received a year’s worth of Crayola products, $9,000 for professional development and $10,000 for classroom makeovers.
    • Briarwood Elementary fourth-grade teacher Ariel Jankord received the Making IT Happen award from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
    • California Trail Middle School center-based resource teacher Jess Petrie was named a Community Champion through the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City.
    • Olathe Northwest High School history teacher Jon Krug was named Outstanding Teacher of American History by the Olathe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
    • Custodians at Bentwood Elementary, Frontier Trail Middle School and Olathe West High School received building assessment awards through SupplyWorks. The building assessment is based on cleaning procedures, safety procedures and LEED recommendations for education. Each school had the highest assessment score for their respective school level with Bentwood Elementary earning the top district building with a score of 97 out of a possible 100.
    • Olathe West High School science teacher Kelly Kluthe was awarded a $2,000 classroom grant by the Kansas City Chapter of the Association for Learning Environments.
    • Jennifer Cullen, counselor at Regency Place Elementary, was selected as the Kansas School Counselor Association (KSCA) Promise Award winner.
    • Woodland Elementary center-based resource teacher Jamie Van Scyoc was awarded a Read to Achieve award from the Kansas chapter of the National Education Association (KNEA) and KCTV5.
    • Frontier Trail Middle School Principal Rod Smith was named to the Baker University Education Wall of Honor.
    • Chisholm Trail Middle School math teacher and boys basketball coach Zach Reed was named the Kansas Middle School Coach of the Year by the Kansas Coaches Association.

    Outstanding Athletes – 6A Championship Teams & Individuals

    • The Olathe School District’s five high school junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams banded together for a good cause raising $10,395 for the Side Out Foundation.
    • The Olathe East High School gymnastics team earned the 6A Kansas state title in gymnastics.
    • Liz Wasinger, Olathe East High School junior, earned first place and won an individual state title in the balance beam.
    • The Olathe North High School boys cross country team earned the Kansas 6A state title.
    • photo of the Olathe East boys soccer team The Olathe East High School boys soccer team earned the Kansas 6A state title. (pictured)
    • The Olathe East High School Talons dance team earned the Junior Varsity Pom National Champions title.
    • The Olathe North High School Eaglettes dance team earned the Large Varsity Pom National Champions title.
    • The Olathe Northwest High School Raven Dance Team won three national championships in the large varsity team competition at the National Dance Alliance Championships.
    • The Olathe East High School boys swim team earned the Kansas 6A state championship in the 200-Yard Medley Relay.
    • Olathe West High School freshman bowler Mike Anderson earned the Kansas 6A bowling state title.
    • Phillip Costello, Olathe East High School Swimming Relay Team, earned the Kansas 6A state championship in the 100-Yard Breaststroke.
    • Olathe North High School wrestler Keegan Slyter earned the Kansas 6A state title in the 126-pound weight class.
    • Emily Bachelor, Olathe East High School, earned the Kansas Diving 6A state championship.
    • Madeline Righter, Olathe Northwest High School, won the Girls High Jump state title.
    • Jacob Vermillion, Olathe East High School, won the Boys 800-Meter Run state title.
    • Cade Heikes, Olathe North High School, won the Boys 1600-Meter Run state title.
    • Jaleesa McWashington, Olathe Northwest High School, won the Girls 300-Meter Hurdles and the Girls Long Jump state titles.
    • Olathe Northwest Boys 4x800 Meter Relay team of Braeden Beard, Bret Beard, Andrew Tracy and Cole Morris won the Kansas 6A state title.

    Read about prior student awards

    Read about prior staff awards

    Read about prior district awards

    Read about prior athletic championships