Shawnee Dispatch

Shawnee Mission school board member donates $100,000 to support STEM learning, instruction

Jim Hinson, superintendent of schools for the Shawnee Mission school district, speaks during a press conference today announcing a $100,000 donation made by school board member Craig Denny and his wife, Terry, for STEM initiatives in the school district. Pictured from left to right are Linda Roser, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation executive director, Rene Gillespie, SMEF board president, Sara Goodburn and Donna Bysfield, school board members, Hinson, and Denny and his wife, Terry, with their granddaughter Aislyn. Enlarge photo

January 21, 2014

Shawnee Mission Board of Education member Craig Denny and his wife, Terry, are the donors of $100,000 to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, initiatives in the school district.

The announcement was made today at Shawnee Mission West High School during a press conference with Jim Hinson, superintendent of schools, Deb Zila, school board president, Rene Gillespie, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation board president, and Linda Roser, SMEF executive director.

The gift from the Dennys will establish the Denny Family Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fund to support new instructional initiatives, professional development to support teachers in STEM-focused areas, opportunities for students to conduct specialized research, curriculum development, and specialized equipment.

“Terry and I graduated from Iowa State University of Science and Technology, where Terry earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and I earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in engineering,” Denny said. “We have benefited from our science-based education and we believe our support of STEM education throughout Shawnee Mission will help spark the interest of current and future students to pursue education and careers in engineering, science and many other technical fields yet to be discovered.”

The fund will be administered through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

“Every day in our classrooms, dreams are born and new futures begin. The Denny Family Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fund will spark the imaginations of children now and for generations to come,” Roser said. “Shawnee Mission students will be citizen leaders, innovators, discoverers and problem-solvers changing the world in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. It is a tremendous honor to steward the Denny's profound vision for Shawnee Mission students.”

Craig Denny has served on the Shawnee Mission Board of Education since 1997, serving as president for four terms and vice president twice. Terry Denny worked in the district from 1992 until retiring in 2008, serving first at Rising Star Elementary School and later at Apache Elementary School. The Dennys' three daughters, Amanda, Melissa and Melinda, graduated from Shawnee Mission West.

“We cannot adequately express our deep gratitude to Craig and Terry Denny for their generous gift that will provide unparalleled opportunities for our students and staff in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” Hinson said. “The generosity of donors, like the Denny family, through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is vital to ensuring our students will be competitive on every level. If we are going to remain competitive and continue to be innovative, expanding these subjects must be a priority.”

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