Tamara Allen-Williams, 2nd Grade Teacher

Tamara Allen-Williams, 2nd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Tamara Allen-Williams grew up right here in Kansas City, Missouri.  Her love for education began with her start in private education.  One of the 8th grade graduation requirements was to write an autobiography, and she stated then that she was going to be a teacher.  Her 34 years of teaching experience is proof of her non-wavering determination.  “Active learning is the foundation for student empowerment.  That’s why I am a lifelong learner.”  She enjoys visits from previous students.  “One of the greatest feelings is to teach a student that is the child of a former student.  That’s how I know I made a difference in that student’s life.” Mrs. Allen-Williams lives in the Kansas City area and has 2 adult sons.

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Brenda Boyles, 2nd Grade Teacher

Brenda Boyles will be teaching second grade at Gordon Parks. Brenda grew up in Michigan and upon graduation from High School she moved to Greenville, South Carolina to attend Bob Jones University. Brenda graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in English. She then moved to the Kansas City area to teach second grade. She has taught for over fifteen years, most recently focusing on Pre-K before returning to elementary education.

 

Mrs. Boyles and her husband have five children and one granddaughter. In her free time she enjoys gardening and returning to Michigan to visit family.

Jennifer Hagemaster, Academic Officer / Principal

Jennifer Hagemaster, Academic Officer / Principal

Mrs. Jennifer Hagemaster has spent the past 16 years in education.  She has taught almost every grade level from Kindergarten through 7th grade and was an instructional coach for 5 years. She has spent her time in Raytown, Buffalo, Missouri, and the past 9 years in Liberty.

Mrs. Hagemaster graduated from Southwest Baptist University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Middle School Education with emphasis in the areas of Language Arts and Social Studies.  She earned her Master's Degree from Webster University in Curriculum and Instruction again with an added emphasis in Communication Arts.  Mrs. Hagemaster is eager to work with the teachers, students, and families of Gordon Parks Elementary.

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Kirsten Lipari-Braman, Operations Officer

Kirsten Lipari-Braman, Operations Officer

Kirsten Lipari-Braman is the Coordinator of the Federal School Improvement Grant. Previously she served as the Director of Federal Programs for the Kansas City, Missouri School District, assisting with the coordination and implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compliance mandates as well as the analysis and evaluation of their effectiveness.  Mrs. Braman participated in developing administrative guidelines and policies for federal programs, and implementation of Title I Choice and Supplemental Education Services, working with transportation and service providers, and acting as liaison to parents ensuring federal regulations were followed. Prior to working in Federal Programs at the state and local level, Mrs. Braman was a Reading Specialist serving teachers and students in preschool through 6th grade, including gifted and talented.

She has taught science and mathematics at various grade levels, provided special education direct instruction to seventh and eighth graders in communication arts and math, and was a reading specialist for grades preschool through sixth.  Mrs. Braman received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Avila University and Masters of Education in Reading from Northwest Missouri State University. She is a certified Reading Specialist and Elementary Teacher for Grades 1-6.

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Leslie Gasser, Chief Development Officer

Leslie joined the staff in 2017 and is responsible for annual fundraising, major gifts, and community awareness.

Leslie attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.   She is active in the community and in her profession, serving on the Board of Connecting for Good and as an active member of Rotary Club 13 and the Mid-America Chapter of AFP.  She and her husband Pete live in Roeland Park and are busy raising a family of 4 active boys.

Cherelle Curley, Curriculum & Instruction Director

Cherelle Curley, Curriculum & Instruction Director

Mrs. Curley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from The University of Iowa, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Baker University. She has 18 years of classroom teaching experience, 4 years at Gordon Parks, 7 years in Raytown and 8 years in Liberty.

When not teaching, Mrs. Curley enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also loves to read, cook, exercise and shop! Mrs. Curley lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband and 2 boys.

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Ali Bunten, Director of Professional Development

Ali Bunten, Director of Professional Development

Ali Bunten believes a good teacher never stops learning.  She aims to help the teachers of Gordon Parks continue to be learners, and grow in their profession.  By doing this, the teachers can provide the best educational experience to the students of Gordon Parks.

Mrs. Bunten received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, and Masters of Education Degree from Baker University.  Her education career has been filled with wonderful experiences as a third-grade teacher for 10 years, and an Instructional Coach for five years.

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Tina Monks, Technology Coordinator

Tina Monks, Technology Coordinator

Tina Monks is excited to be at Gordon Parks as the Instructional Technology Coordinator and Technology Teacher.  She has been in education for 16 years, starting as a 3rd grade teacher in a technology rich classroom which sparked her interest for technology in education.  She loves to help teachers and students use technology to expand and enrich their learning. 

Mrs. Monks graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a dual major in elementary and early childhood education and received her master’s degree from Webster University in teaching.  She has also completed a graduate certificate program in online teaching and learning, and in December of 2015 she recieved her Education Specialist Degree in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri.

Mrs. Monks and her husband have 3 children.  In their free time they enjoy going to the lake and traveling to new places.

Classroom Website: http://gpeslinks.weebly.com/

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Michael Turner, Security / Facilities

Michael Turner, Security / Facilities

Michael Turner was no stranger to Gordon Parks when he joined the facility staff. 

"Four of my children went to school here," he said proudly.  "I know what this school offers--small class sizes and lots of encouragement. This job is a good fit for me," Mr. Turner said. "I feel strongly about the teamwork and positive reinforcement that is fostered at Gordon Parks.  There is nothing else like it."

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Daniela Torres, Kindergarten Teacher

Daniela Torres, Kindergarten Teacher

Daniela Torres was born and raised in Texas. She moved to Missouri in 2011. Daniela received her Bachelors Degree of Elementary Education in 2015 and is wrapping up her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She expects to continue her studies in education in order to fulfill her purpose as an educator, leader, and role model. 

Daniela believes to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. Becoming apart of the Gordon Parks team, she's eager to grow as a professional. 

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Deborah Moore, Paraprofessional

Deborah Moore, Paraprofessional

Ms. Deb Moore started her career with children as a Juvenile Probation Office after graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in Early Childhood and Community Services. Ms. Moore has also worked at the Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services in Wyandotte County, as a teacher in the pilot program for Parents as Teachers in Kansas City, MO, and finally as a teacher at Operation Breakthrough. Today, Ms. Moore works in the kindergarten classroom.

Ms. Moore has two grown children. Her daughter is a senior prosector working for the State of Missouri and her son is working on furthering his career in Los Angeles, CA. In her spare time, Ms. Moore spends time with family, friends, books and the occasional workout.

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Virginia Hall, Paraprofessional

Virginia Hall, Paraprofessional

Virginia Hall moved to Kansas City from Louisiana. She worked at Center School District as a Behavior Interventionist Specialist for nine years, In-School Suspension Specialist for two years and tutor in Louisiana with a focus in Math and Science. Ms. Hall was a substitute teacher at Gordon Parks prior to starting full-time in the kindergarten classroom.  Ms. Hall also enjoys spending time with her two daughters and family.

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Meryci Diaz, Administrative Assistant

Meryci Diaz, Administrative Assistant

Meryci D. Diaz-Quezada was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She and her family moved to the United States when she was 13 years old to give her siblings and herself a better life.

Merycimoved to Kansas City from New York 10 years ago. She is the proud mother of two wonderful children, Wennely, who has a passion for singing and Michael, who loves basketball. She attended Penn Valley Community College and worked as an Administrative Assistant at a previous school for two years. S

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