Keith Tatum (N)
Director of Training and Staff Development
Keith believes in the power of public education. Keith graduated from Topeka High School in 1989, and went on to receive a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Washburn University and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. Keith has more than 20 years of experience serving in roles of public service, public policy, and community leadership. Keith currently serves as the Training Director for KNI in Topeka and is an adjunct professor at Washburn University.
Bachelor's Degree (Psychology) - Washburn University, 2000.
Master's Degree (Public Administration) - University of Kansas, 2015.
Keith is the founding chairperson of both the USD 501 Equity Council and the Community Advocates for Social Enrichment (CASE). He also has served on the Sheldon Head Start policy council and the LULAC Senior Center board.
2719 SW McAlister Ave.
Topeka, KS 66614
What special strengths do you believe you will bring to the school board?
As a graduate of the USD 501 district, and a parent of children who attend (and have graduated) schools in the district, I am very much invested in the prosperity and effectiveness of this district. My 20-years of service in the public sector, and my educational and professional background, make me an ideal contributor to the school board in matters of public policy, budget, and personel development. Additionally, my experience on the 501 Equity Council and Sheldon Head Start policy council gives me a great working familiarity with district administration, teachers, and processes.
What is the most critical issue facing your school district, and what is your position on that issue?
Maintenance of adequate funding. School funding directly from the State has an immediate impact on the ability to put materials and resources directly into the classrooms where they will be most effectively utilized. While the Kansas Supreme Court's recent decision on the adequacy of school funding levels is positive, it's entirely dependent upon the will of the Legislature to maintain from year-to-year. We need to continue the fight to ensure the State is living up to its obligation to properly fund our district and to support the academic success of every student in the USD 501 school system.
How should a school board support its staff---classified, certificated, and administrative?
The 501 district has real challenges when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. We are an urban district with very modest means. In order to help ensure we attract and keep quality employees, we need to develop non-monetary, broad-based strategies and policies supporting our classified, certified, and administrative staff at a variety of levels. As KNI's Training Director, I am frequently faced with issues of staff recuitment and retention, and we've had to get creative in exploring new possibilities. Mentoring programs, tuition assistance, and employee-of-the-quarter awards are all innovations we've implemented to great effect. My plan is to bring this kind of innovation with me to the school board and utilize it for the benefit of all of our employees.
What additional school security is needed and how do you propose addressing that need?
The school resource officers do a fantastic job of keeping our buildings and campuses safe and secure. We need to ensure we are providing them with all the necessary resources in order to make this happen. Keeping schools safe while not turning them into police garrisons is crucial for maintaining the school building as a welcoming environment for children and teachers, and there is a reasonable method for ensuring both. Engaging with district police professionals, teachers, and parents to determine any additional needs will be key in addressing any possible security need.
What time commitment are you prepared to give the district?
I'll be giving it 100%. I'll need to be available to constituent, teacher, and student needs each and every day, and I am committed to hearing their needs and helping to address any potential issues they may have. Being on the school board is not paid work, but it's critically important for our community and I believe in its power to change our world for the better through education.