2018 Pacesetter


Topeka, Kansas (October 21, 2019) – Community members, educators, and local leaders and decision-makers will join the Shawnee County Campaign for Grade- Level Reading (SNCO-CGLR) at the Kansas Capitol (2nd Floor North Wing) from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23rd to “Shine a Light on School Success”. This event will celebrate SNCO-CGLR’s fourth Pacesetter honor for making measurable progress in education and will recognize the multiple sectors that impact school success in Shawnee County.

The event is in conjunction with Lights on Afterschool, a national advocacy day promoting the positive impact of out-of-school (before, after, and summer) programming. Speakers representing a variety of sectors will share the impact of out-of-school programming for our schools, community, safety, and workforce. Representative Dr. Brenda Dietrich will close out the event sharing her reflection as a retired Superintendent and current Legislator.

“There are 10 different organizations speaking at this event, a very intentional design,” said Jillian Fisher, Community Lead for Shawnee County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We were recognized nationally for cross-sector collaboration and working together as a community in reducing the achievement gap and ensuring our students are successful. It only makes sense that we celebrate the same way.”

The Pacesetter Honor highlights communities making measurable progress on key indicators of early school success and building brighter futures for children. These communities serve as proof points and represent the “leading edge” of innovation, impact and improvement within the national Grade-Level Reading Network, currently comprised of over 400 communities. This year SNCO-CGLR was one of 38 communities to receive this honor.

SNCO-CGLR is comprised of more than 20 cross-sector organizations committed to student success. Led by United Way of Greater Topeka (UWGT), the local campaign was revitalized in 2016 and continued to strengthen collaboration and align promising programs in 2017 and 2018. This is the third consecutive year the local campaign has been recognized for eliminating barriers faced by children from low-income families on the path to becoming proficient readers.

Complete list of Speakers

  • Jillian Fisher, United Way of Greater Topeka
  • Michael Lemon, Kansas Enrichment Network
  • Melissa Mosher, Christ the King Early Education Center
  • Kathleen Marker, YWCA of NE Kansas
  • Veronica Byrd, Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers
  • Marlou Wegener, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Christina Ostmeyer, Kansas Appleseed
  • Marie Pyko, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
  • Nicole Johnson, Topeka Public Schools Meadows Elementary
  • Representative Dr. Brenda Dietrich, House Representative,
    Former Superintendent USD 437
  • Brandy Tofel, Communities In Schools


About the Shawnee County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

SNCO-CGLR is part of a national collaborative effort that works to ensure student success by focusing on an important predictor of high school graduation- reading proficiency by end of 3rd grade. Through a network of community organizations, the Campaign works to reduce the gaps in school readiness, chronic absenteeism, and summer learning loss for children in Shawnee County. The local campaign has received four Pacesetters, a national honor, for indicating measurable progress in our community. For more information about the Campaign, please visit www.unitedwaytopeka.org/cglr.