Kaw Area Technical School appoints Roxanne Kelly as new dean

James Ahrens

Kaw Area Technical School has appointed Roxanne Kelly as its new dean, a decision that will be effective Feb. 1.

Kelly is currently working in preparation for her new position, where she will be overseeing all internal affairs of faculty members and staff. Kelly has served on the Kansas Board of Regents and was previously dean of instruction for Flint Hills Technical College in Emporia. External work will include interaction between school districts, businesses and industry in the greater Topeka area as well as connecting these groups.

“[I will work] to make sure that the institution runs efficiently and effectively so that we provide the kind of employee that our businesses and industries need,” said Kelly.

One significant change Kelly will be dealing with is the combination of resources between Washburn University and KATS. Kelly said the affiliation with Washburn is so new that everyone is still learning how the two institutions work together. Kelly has been working with superintendents of Topeka area school districts, the finance departments of both Washburn and KATS and other entities to help get familiarized with things so she is prepared.

At the outset, Kelly will not be working directly with counselors, but her previous career experience has given her the opportunity to work with students. She says this work is important to her.

“If we don’t have the students, we don’t have a reason to exist,” said Kelly.

In a way, the interaction between the two universities is one of joining forces.

“Washburn and KATS both have always been dedicated to serving the needs of this community and the greater Topeka area,” said Kelly. “This affiliation just strengthens that resolve to serve the needs of this area. Workforce development is something that is very important to our area. Business and industry…need to have workforce that is ready to go to work when they walk out of our doors.”

Kelly said Kaw has been doing this on their own for some time, but the affiliation with Washburn has never been formalized. As a result of this affiliation, Kaw Area Technical School will now be a unit administered by Washburn and will be governed by the Washburn University Board of Regents. The partnership will provide the best educational opportunities for students

“Students have a means to go from a technical certificate or a single course all the way through to a masters degree at Washburn or greater, should they choose to,” said Kelly, “and that opportunity is something that many students never thought they would have before, that they have now.”