Max & Dale: Decades of positive impact

Max & Dale: Decades of positive impact

One hundred years ago, the first recorded meeting of the The Council of Administration of the Kansas Teacher’s Association held its first meeting. The group that would eventually become the Kansas Association of School Boards’ earliest recorded program is from 1923, and among the topics on the agenda were: 

  • “Necessary Requirements for and a Definite Program for Physical Education” by Dr. Light, President of the Chanute Board of Education
  • “The Duties and Restrictions of the School Superintendent From the Point of View of the Board of Education” by Dr. Brewer of the Beloit Board of Education 
  • “The Progress of Vocational and Industrial Education in Kansas” by CM Miller of the State Department of Education 

The program itself was printed by the Pittsburg High School Printing Department. It could be a program from 2017.

If we fast forward to 1934, a gentleman from Frederick, Kansas, Frank Murphy, was in his eighth year as President of the Association. That is the same year that Max Heim was born in Hays, Kansas. So that old fellow has been around for 80 percent of KASB’s 100 years. Max had a long and storied career in Kansas education, and his picture is on the wall of the Kansas Teacher’s Hall of Fame.

When I was in third or fourth grade, we lived in Manhattan, Kansas, where Max was an assistant superintendent. I have a vague memory of him returning from a meeting and retelling a joke he had heard from someone named Dale Dennis. The reason I remember this joke is because it was just off-color enough for my mom to have said “Max” which was a common admonishment. Remember, this was the late 60s, so it was tame by today’s standards. I can still remember the punch-line. Message me for it!

Why would I remember this?  Maybe it is an interesting name for an interesting man. Born three years later than Max, in 1937, Dale, too, has been around for 80 percent of KASB’s history. Both men have had a considerable effect on the lives of thousands of Kansas children, including me. Naturally, I know more about Max than Dale. Max started his career in Gorham, Kansas as a teacher and coach. He moved through many positions and finished his career working at KASB until another Heim arrived at 1420 Arrowhead in 2010. (Family rumors circulate about a wrongful termination suit, but it is probably just talk instigated by my brother).

But enough about them, back to me. Recently, my mom has been working on organizing papers and mementos from our childhoods. For example, I recently discovered that I was an Honorable Mention State Award Winner in Social Studies while at Santa Fe Trail Junior High school, and was given the name “Mad Dog” by some smart aleck coach who wrote it on my eighth grade football letter at Independence Junior High. (The coach actually called me Baby Robin. Again, message me). Another classic find was from 1973 or `74, a picture of me and my trombone marching with the IHS band for the Neewollah Parade. On the back of the picture from the Independence Daily Reporter is an article about a man named, yep, Dale Dennis. Dennis was quoted in the story about a lawsuit filed by a local district against the state. No need to message me for the content of the suit — underfunding of education.

If it seems like these guys have been around forever, it is because in terms of the history of Kansas Education, they have. Both men have careers that started in the late 50s and have been having a positive impact on Kansas kids ever since. Max retired seven years ago for the last time, but is still a source of advice and inspiration for me, and many others who know him. Dale recently celebrated his 80th birthday and still puts in the hours of a man half his age. How many superintendents, board members, and legislators have relied on his advice over his career?

And KASB, we are still here too, and will be celebrating 100 years of service. I would say we have been in good company for 80 percent of those years.