Return to Headlines

1-19-21 — Late January 2021 Awards

Jan. 19, 2021

Peterson Earns State Honor

Elise Peterson, choir director at Olathe South High School, was named the 2020-21 Kansas Music Educators Association Teacher of the Year.

“Elise is truly a gifted music educator,” Olathe Public Schools Fine Arts Coordinator Martha Gabel said. “The high expectations she has set for herself and her students are not only evident in her classroom but also in the many successful performances she conducts each year. Elise is highly respected by her peers, her students and their families, and the Olathe community. We are excited that KMEA has recognized her with this award and very proud to have her as a part of our fine arts staff in Olathe.”

Olathe North Debaters Win Competition

Olathe North High School students Isobel Li and Menaka Garapaty won the open division of the Sunflower Novice Debate Championship. This competition is open to all first-year debate students in Kansas, regardless of high school classification.

“Menaka and Isobel really demonstrated winning work ethics this year,” Olathe North debate coach Larry Swanson said. “Not only did they carry a demanding class load in a difficult academic environment, but they also dedicated themselves to the networking and research required to achieve the highest results possible. While they are gifted speakers, it is that work ethic that allows them to distinguish themselves from their peers and we are very proud of what they have accomplished.”

Libal Named Principal Advocate of the Year

Santa Fe Trail Middle School Principal J.J. Libal was named the 2020 Kansas School Counselor Association Principal Advocate of the Year.

“Mr. Libal is an administrator who values the counselor role and supports school counseling programs,” Olathe Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Middle School Education Sarah Guerrero said. “His enthusiasm and appreciation for the work of school counseling is evident in his actions. Mr. Libal believes in the power of school counseling to improve the academic and social emotional growth of students.I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award.”