10-25-19 — Latest Wall of Honor Inductees Include Former Superintendent
Oct. 25, 2019 ~ A fall tradition for more than a dozen years, the Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association Wall of Honor banquet recognizes individuals who are outstanding because of their lifetime achievements. The 2019 banquet, held Oct. 2, recognized four alums and one Distinguished Person of Honor.
Candidates for the alumni recognition must be Olathe Public Schools graduates, must have graduated at least 20 years prior to the nomination, and must have attained a high level of achievement in at least one of the following areas: personal and/or professional life; community/ humanitarian service; or lifelong commitment to educational excellence.
Candidates for the Distinguished Person of Honor recognition must be current or former employees of the Olathe Public Schools; and must have made a positive impact and/or great achievement in at least one of the following areas: personal and/or professional life; community/ humanitarian service; or commitment to educational excellence in the Olathe Public Schools.
In addition to this special event, the inductees were recognized at the Oct. 3 Olathe Board of Education meeting.
Michael Boehm, Olathe High School Class of 1978. Boehm’s commitment to community includes his career in the banking industry and service on several boards in Lenexa and Johnson County. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and later became senior vice president of the Lenexa branch of Commerce Bank. He served on the Kansas Chamber Board of Directors, Lenexa Economic Development Council, Johnson County Community College Foundation Board of Directors and League of Kansas Municipalities Board of Directors among other organizations. Former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves appointed Boehm to serve on the Kansas Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations. Colleagues comment on his ability to bring consensus and understanding to myriad topics. Boehm was elected mayor of Lenexa in 2003. Those who worked with Boehm praise his ability to mentor others, both professionally and civically. Lenexa experienced unprecedented growth during Boehm’s tenure as mayor, and he has been referred to as a visionary leader in the community.
Melissa Harness Flores, Olathe North High School Class of 1998. From her recognition as valedictorian of the Class of 1998 to her commission as a U.S. Naval officer aboard the USS Constitution, Flores has displayed the skills of self-motivation, resourcefulness and reliability. She attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Naval ROTC full scholarship, and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ocean engineering. Flores deployed in 2004 and served more than five years in the U.S. Navy, including combat systems division officer onboard the USS Preble and deployment to the Middle East. She was selected as unmanned underwater vehicle officer in charge of testing new drone systems for the Navy, and received two medals from the Navy before being honorably discharged. In 2007, Flores became a civil servant for the NASA where she worked on the Orion spacecraft as safety and mission assurance engineer. She serves as safety lead for the Orion crew and service modules and works with teams across the nation and in partnership with the European Space Agency on human spaceflight standards, design and testing. Flores’ career honors include the Space Flight Awareness Award presented at NASA’s 60th anniversary event.
Kim Bowen Harbur, Olathe High School Class of 1975. Prior to her current life’s passion, for 23 years Harbur owned and operated a dance studio in Olathe where she made an impact on young women’s lives by building their poise and self-confidence. Since the birth of a son with liver failure, Harbur and her husband, Nate, have dedicated their lives to educating the public about the importance of organ and tissue donation. In 1998, they founded the nonprofit Gift of Life. Harbur’s passion to educate the public about the importance of donation began in three Kansas City high schools. As of 2019, Gift of Life has educated 375,000 high school students and their family members in 115 area high schools. The Life Savers classroom presentation educates students about the question “Do you want to be a donor?” so they can make an informed decision. The students are encouraged to share their decision with a loved one because the conversation matters.
Sam Perkins, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1949. A career banker is just one phrase to describe Perkins, who graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree and went on to earn his juris doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Between earning his degrees, Perkins served two years in the United States Army. Once in the banking industry, Perkins rose to the position of chairman and president of Bank IV of Olathe before his retirement. His community involvement through the years is varied and includes president of the Olathe Area Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of the Olathe Community Hospital Board of Directors, president of the Olathe Rotary, and president/chairman of the Baker University Executive Committee. Perkins is a member of banking associations, Mensa, and the Kansas Bar Association. He and his wife, Connie, have supported advanced healthcare in the community, and he was a founding member of the Olathe Health Charitable Foundation. His philanthropy ranges from patronage of the arts to financial assistance for health services.
Distinguished Person of Honor Ron Wimmer. From teacher in the 1960s to school district superintendent in the 1990s, Wimmer always believed in putting children first. He joined the Olathe School District in 1965 as a Spanish teacher and moved into a leadership role four years later as assistant principal and another four as principal. His track through the district led to the Education Center where he was director of personnel, then assistant superintendent before being named superintendent of schools in 1991. During the next decade-plus, Wimmer was honored as Olathe Citizen of the Year by the Olathe Area Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas Association of School Administrators, Distinguished Community Service Award by MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Outstanding Service Award by the United School Administrators of Kansas. During his term as superintendent, the district started a senior adult volunteer program and Project HOPE, an alternative education program for students in long-term suspension or expelled from the district. At his retirement in 2005, the district started the Wimmer Student Care Fund to provide financial assistance for students and families in extreme need in order to keep the student in school.