Area teachers and principals complete School of Education’s first character education program

The UMKC School of Education earlier this year launched a Character Education program for Kansas City-area teachers. The program is graduating its first cohort of participants today.


According to Stephanie Prichard, interim director of the School of Education’s Regional Professional Development Center, character education “is about transforming school culture by making schools places where students and staff feel safe and have a sense of belonging.  When schools take this approach they see discipline referrals decline, attendance for both students and staff increase, and ultimately student achievement increases.”


Prichard said the RPDC has developed a Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE) program based on the pioneering work done by Marvin Berkowitz, Ph.D., a professor of character education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Over the past two decades, character education has become a mainstay concept in many St. Louis area school districts, and UMKC’s Regional Professional Development Center has launched a LACE program to help the concept gain traction in the Kansas City region.


The first LACE training program in Kansas City involved teachers working in the Belton, Fort Osage, Leavenworth and North Kansas City school districts, and KIPP Academy Charter School.  The program is a rigorous year-long experience that included a series of monthly full-day workshops, site visits to exemplary schools, monthly written assignments and the writing of site-specific implementation plans.


The new graduates of the 2017 Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE) include:

  • Alisa Seidelman – Principal, Belton School District
  • Amanda Spight – Principal, Belton School District
  • Pat Denney – Principal, Belton School District
  • Denise Rangel – Assistant Principal, Belton School District
  • George Shrum – Assistant Principal, Belton School District
  • Jill Brown – Principal, Belton School District
  • Kelly Crumley – Principal, Belton School District
  • Kimberly Mauck – Principal, Belton School District
  • Lesley Morey – Counselor, Leavenworth School District
  • Michelle Biondo – Principal, Belton School District
  • Roxanne Pearson – Principal, Belton School District
  • Tim Dial-Scruggs – Teacher, Fort Osage School District

A new cohort in the LACE program begins in January. Area educators interested in learning more should contact Stephanie Prichard at or 816-235-5486.