Fred was one of 17 in his graduating class. During his time at Belton High School, he played trumpet in the band/marching band and equipment manager for the football team. He also served as football reporter to the Kansas City Star. After high school, Fred went on to earn a BS in Physics from Central Missouri State and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the MU of Science and Technology. He would later go on to receive his Master’s degree in Science from Iowa State University.
In 1957, Fred began working for McDonnell Aircraft Company in St. Louis. During his tenure at McDonnell, Fred developed hydraulic systems for the F3, F4, and Model 119 aircraft and played integral roles in the development of the Mercury spacecraft project. He was also on the in-chamber rescue teams for Gemini 3 through 5 and was in charge of the rescue teams for Gemini 6 through 12. Fred spent the next 15 years developing industrial microwave/vacuum drying systems for foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals, for which he was awarded nine patents. He continues to work for Boeing Corp. (formally McDonnell) today.
Fred currently lives in St. Louis, MO with Sharon, his wife of 54 years. Together, they have three sons, Craig, Brian, and Keith. He is very active in his church, where he is the Trustee of the Endowment Fund and has served as Sunday School Teacher for 50 years. He has also traveled on 11 mission trips, which included El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Lebanon.
Elmer’s family has been in Belton since the 1890’s. As a boy, he spent a lot of time on Main Street, shining shoes to earn money. In high school, he lettered in four sports: football, basketball, track and baseball.
After graduation, Elmer worked for Western Electric before going on to work for the Kansas City Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks to Captain and was awarded Firefighter of the Year in 1974. After leaving the fire department in 1978, Elmer worked as a cabinet installer for Quality Wood Products until he retired in 2009.
After retirement, Elmer served as Present of the Belton Main Street Association and was named Belton Man of the Year by the Lion’s Club in 2007. Currently, Elmer serves as the President of the Belton Cemetery Association, where he led the effort to build the new stone office and works tirelessly to ensure people’s loved ones are well looked after.
Elmer lives in Belton with his wife of 54 years, Judith. Together they have four sons: Jeffry, Michael, Gregory and Norman.
Renee spent 20 years in banking before completing her degree in Business Administration from DeVry University in 1997, where she graduated as class valedictorian. After graduation, Renee assumed the role as President of her family business, Rudroff Heating and Air Conditioning. Under her leadership, the company was named a ‘Best of Belton’ business in 2008, Business of the Month by the Raymore Chamber of Commerce, as well as named one of the ’30 under 30’ businesses by Small Business Monthly of Kansas City. She and her business were also mentioned twice on the floor of the U.S. Senate during debates on health insurance costs and inheritance taxes for small business. In 2010, she sold the business to its current owners.
Currently, Renee is the President of the Raymore Historical Society, Treasurer of the Ray-Pec Optimist Club, and board member of the Belton Historical Society. She is also past president of the Bi-County United Way and former member of the Belton Educational Foundation. She is an active member of both the Raymore and Belton Chambers of Commerce, and remains active in other areas of service in the community.
Renee and her husband, Pete, currently live in Raymore, MO where she manages their rental properties and consults with small businesses. They have two daughters, Danielle and Brittany.
Dr. Clutter has played a large role in the Belton community for many years. She lived in and around Belton most of her life, attending Belton schools from 1959 through 1966. She then moved to Peculiar and graduated from Ray-Pec High School in 1971. After graduation, she earned a BA in Education from Avila University and a Master’s in Reading from SW Missouri State. In 1997, she received a Doctorate in Special Education from KU.
Sandy has devoted the majority of her career to special education. She joined the Belton School District in 1981 serving as special education teacher for ten years before moving to the Central Office as the District SpEd. Coordinator/Asst. Director, and then Assistant Superintendent of Special Service from 1998-2011. Under her leadership, she helped develop the Sheryl Johnson Life Center (SJLC), which addresses the needs for the 18-21 age group to assist in their transition to independent living. She also played an integral part in bringing the Special Olympics basketball competition to Belton and expanding the Special Olympics program in the district. She has won 12 awards over the years for her excellence in education and service.
Sandy retired from Belton School District in 2011 but remains very involved in the community, currently serving as the Executive Director of Belton CARES and Board President of Hope Haven.
The Belton Educational Foundation Board of Trustees is pleased to announce its new Executive Director, Krista Watkins. Watkins is a graduate of Missouri State University, receiving a BS in Business Management before going on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 2009. She spent the last few years in the education field, teaching secondary level business education classes and working for the Ozarks Writing Project, a grant-funded, collaborative program between Missouri State University and the National Writing Project. Prior to her career in education, she served over 10 years in corporate insurance litigation.
Growing up in a small town in Southwest Missouri, Watkins is an avid proponent of public education. She is committed to taking the Foundation to the next level and looks forward to this next chapter in her career.
“This opportunity was a perfect fit for me personally and professionally,” said Watkins. “Not only does it allow me to work with an esteemed school district, but also gives me the opportunity to become a part of, and make a difference in, a community that is passionate about their school district.”
As a teacher, Watkins understands the challenges educators face today. “The Foundation embraces teachers and students, which is an ideal that is very close to my heart,” she said. “ I am honored to be a part of an organization that is very unique with boundless vision.”
Watkins currently lives in Kansas City, MO and has two daughters, Kassie (23) and Kallie (18).
Belton, MO (April 9, 2016) – At the March 2016 Board of Trustees meeting, Belton Educational Foundation Executive Director, Heather McFarland, announced her resignation effective May 31, citing her family’s relocation to San Antonio, Texas, where her husband recently accepted a new position.
McFarland has served as the Foundation’s executive director since October of 2007. During her tenure, the organization’s annual impact to the Belton School District has grown from $60,000 to over $500,000, helping to fund new initiatives such as the new technology, new teacher gifts, the BackSnack and Pirate Pantry programs, the establishment of the Jon S. Ferguson Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as the ACCESS Program, which provides mental services to students and grow existing programs.
“It has been my privilege to serve with a wonderful group of board members, alumni, donors, and volunteers,” said McFarland. “I am very proud of the difference we have made in the lives of students in this district. I know this is just the beginning of the great things the Belton Educational Foundation will continue to do in the months and years to come.”
The Board of Trustees has begun the process of finding a successor and, with McFarland’s help, plans to ensure a smooth transition. “As much as we are saddened to see Heather go, we wish her and her family the best of luck in all their future endeavors,” said Dr. Kenny Southwick, Foundation President, “We thank her for her passion, dedication, and leadership to this organization and for leaving it in a better position than ever to fulfill its mission to the students of the Belton School District.”
Jim, along with his wife and 5 children, has been a Belton resident since he was nine years old and has volunteered with the Belton School District since approximately 2010. He began by offering to park cars at high school games, helping out the FCCLA, and helping to build floats for the parades. For the last three years he has delivered food for the district’s BackSnack program and the Pirate Pantries at the Belton Middle School and Freshman Center and Belton High School. Each week throughout the school year, Jim comes to the Belton Educational Foundation offices, picks up food delivered by Harvesters, and takes it to Mill Creek Upper Elementary. He also helps ensure the program continues through the summer by delivering food to all schools and is always available should any need arise.
When asked what makes him continue to volunteer he replied, “I do it for the kids. I like helping give back to the community. As a kid, I saw first hand how giving back can have an impact and it made me want to pay it forward as an adult. For me, it is fun and rewarding.” His greatest reward is getting thank-you cards or a simple handshake from students.
Outside of volunteering for the Belton School District, Jim also adopts a family each Christmas and helps build bicycles for Bikes for Tikes. He makes giving back a family affair, often bringing his teenage kids along to help out. “They now tell me how they want to pay-it-forward,” says Ward. “And that makes me a proud Dad.”
Jim is one of our most dedicated volunteers and we thank him for giving his time and resources to our students.
If you know a volunteer who you would like to see in our spotlights, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In January, the Belton Educational Foundation (BEF) welcomed its newest member, Amber Branson, to the 2016 Board of Trustees. She and her husband, Lonnie Branson, have been long-time area residents and owners of a local real estate company as well as a number of local rental properties. Amber is also owner of Amber Branson Designs, specializing in home staging and interior décor. She is a staunch supporter of public education and friend of the Foundation, volunteering her time over the last few years to help plan the annual Back-to-School Gala. Amber joins the Foundation with a strong desire to see it grow and continue to support the children in our community.
Amber is a member of the Belton-Raymore Rotary Club, Keller Williams Culture and Fundraising Committee and former board member of Hope Haven in Cass County.
Scholarship applications for the Belton Educational Foundation Scholarship Fund, Current and Past Employee Scholarship Fund, and the Sandy Hamilton Memorial Scholarship Fund are now available online. Over $15,000 will be awarded this year.
Scholarships are open to all Belton High School Seniors. Please note: you must have a valid student email to be able to access applications.
Deadline for applications is April 1.
To apply, visit the Belton Senior webpage at http://beltonseniors.weebly.com and scroll down to the Belton School District section. For questions, please contact Heather McFarland at 816-348-1151 or email@example.com.
The Belton Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) is awarding the Belton School District a $34,168 grant in continued support of the district’s Early ACCESS program.
Early ACCESS employs Kim Knipp, LCSW of Pathways, who works with students and their families to improve life skills to be successful in the classroom and at home. Ms. Knipp provides individual and family therapy on site at Grace Early Childhood Center. The Early ACCESS program provides early intervention and is an extension of the ACCESS program which provides similar services to students in all K-12 schools in the Belton School District.
“We are very pleased to have the continued support of HCF for this vital program that has made such a positive impact on the lives of our students and their families,” said Heather McFarland, Belton Educational Foundation Executive Director.
Services provided by Early ACCESS is open to all students attending Grace as well as students participating in the Parents as Teachers program.
About Belton Educational Foundation
The Belton Educational Foundation (BEF) is a non-profit organization that advocates and supports public education by providing funds that enrich educational opportunities and encourage innovation to maximize the learning potential for every student in the Belton School District. Since 2002, the BEF has proudly given more than $3.5 million to help fund programs and initiatives district-wide. For more information, visit www.beltonfoundation.org.
The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City provides leadership, advocacy and resources that eliminate barriers to quality health for the uninsured and underserved in Kansas City, Missouri, Cass, Jackson, and Lafayette counties in Missouri and Allen, Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. Since it began grantmaking in 2005, HCF has awarded more than $210 million to agencies addressing health needs in the community. For more information, visit www.hfcgkc.org.