Grace Kertz
Northeast News

Meet Mrs. Mayes

James Elementary welcomes Mrs. Majorie Mayes to fill the role as principal. Prior to this position, Mayes served in a variety of roles at Trailwoods Elementary School as vice principal, an instructional coach, first and third grade teacher, and art teacher. Mayes also taught art at James Elementary School and the Foreign Language Academy. Mayes said her professional experience helps her to know how to “get back to basics and train teachers in providing the best possible instruction.”

Mayes has lived in Kansas City since 2012, and considers it home.

“I think we’re uniquely poised and situated in a time where our neighborhood recognizes that James is a really valuable asset,” Mayes said. 

She plans to increase parent involvement through activities like their Block Party to pass information out to parents and have parent involvement meetings to help plan parties and events. Mayes has creative ideas for these meetings.

“One of the things we’re talking about doing is having a monthly Posada for parents where we share food as a vehicle for talking about school and the things that parents want to be able to do, and plan those things,” Mayes said.

This is part of the staff’s intention to “find multiple ways to bring students’ individual experiences and identity from home to school.”

Beyond events, Mayes is excited about the many services that the Kansas City Public School (KCPS) district provides, such as free before and after school care, free tutoring and full-time counselors in every school.

“We’re on the cutting edge of developing all the systems and structures for student support,” Mayes said.

This includes fine arts experiences like band and orchestra. Although band and orchestra are scheduled to be implemented during the 2024-2025 school year, shows will be put on through the music program this school year. 

Keep a look out for developments at James Elementary School, parent involvement meetings, and the array of services the District provides.

“We’re going to work hard, but we’re going to play hard and we’re going to make school – our school – a place where everybody experiences joy,” Mayes said, looking forward to the new school year.

Meet Mr. Talboy

Mr. Geoffrey Talboy brings 20 years of education experience to East High School, where he will serve as principal. This experience is supported with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education English/Language Arts, a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Emporia State University.

Talboy has taught a variety of grade levels in different places. He taught language arts at Gardner Edgerton High School, language arts at a high school in Torreon, Mexico, and General Education Development preparation courses and adult English as a Second Language (ESL) at Kansas City, Kan., Community College. After receiving his master’s in Educational Leadership, Talboy worked in Instructional Support at East High School as his first job in the KCPS district. From there, he taught ESL at Northeast High School, and served as assistant principal at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.

Talboy plans to serve at East High School for many years.

“I’ve always wanted to be a head principal,” Talboy said. “East is one of those places that… I have a special place for in my heart.”

This is created by the diversity of languages, student backgrounds and cultures, and the warmth of the building.

“As the kids are moving around and everything, you feel that energy… that’s always been something that I’ve wanted,” Talboy said.

Talboy’s mission is “to get every student to achieve whatever their goals are.” 

This goal may be to attend college, a trade school, join the military or go directly to the work force.

“As long as you’re contributing, that’s your choice,” Talboy affirmed.

 He supports each individual’s decision and wants to ensure that students have the opportunity to choose whichever option they aspire to.

Talboy looks forward to presenting opportunities through the new Cherokee language class, as well as seeing students flourish in sports and activities.

“Our boys’ soccer team made it to state last year, so I’m excited to see that happen again,” he added.

Talboy hopes to increase community involvement through opportunities such as the School Advisory Committee and the alumni association.

“The important thing with the alumni is [that] it’s not just being a representative of the past, but it’s also how do you push for the future and… what changes need to be made,” he said.

According to Talboy, serving at the high school level is, “where I thought I fit best.”

“My hope is that… I will be able to be that kind of consistent figure [in the school],” Talboy said.

Meet Mrs. Thurman

Mrs. Christina Thurman brings an array of experiences to her role as principal at Northeast Middle School. Thurman started her career as an assistant for students with emotional disabilities, then worked as a family case manager in the Department of Child Services. 

“But after doing that for a couple of years, I realized… I wanted to be back in education,” Thurman said.

She returned to school to earn her bachelor’s degree in Education, and went on to teach elementary at traditional and nontraditional schools, with the nontraditional approach using “modalities that were centered around rhythm, music and performing art strategies.”

Thurman pursued her master’s in Educational Leadership, and has since worked in administration at elementary, middle and alternative schools. She’s currently in her last year of her doctoral program in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

She believes that her background equips her well to be principal because she recognizes that human needs “just mature and evolve as we get older,” so “a lot of things that I did with my students really worked well at an administration level.”

Thurman is excited about the cultural diversity of Northeast Middle School and hopes to offer a greater appreciation for the celebration of different and unique cultures, as well as a better and more succinct worldview when it comes to education.

“My biggest job right now is to listen and learn the context of the school,” Thurman said, as the newest addition to Northeast Middle School.

She plans to use a “team-based approach,” and get to know the history of the school, the students and the other administrators.

Thurman believes that middle school is that time where children decide if they truly want to fully invest in education or not. Once she gets to know the unique students, she wants to engage them in their education and provide resources to prepare them for high school. She hopes to increase parent engagement, and to honor cultures and customs.

Ultimately, Thurman strives to “bring an education to you that matters to you.”