Michael Roane has built and led human resources functions for small and large, public and private companies. He is passionate about education, from cradle to career. He serves on the Boards of the Metropolitan Community College Foundation, Operation Breakthrough, KU Edwards Workforce Advisory Council, KC Teacher Residency, and PrincipalsConnect.
Q: Why did you join PrincipalsConnect as an adviser?
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have parents who knew education was important. They made sure we were in good schools with good teachers and administration. I recognize that not all kids have that same opportunity. It was important to me when I retired to do something to give something back. I thought that this was a great way to relieve the administration of some of the things they deal with in urban schools, so they can focus more on the kids than anything else.
Q: On which PC projects have you worked? Which has been the most gratifying?
I’ve worked on two projects so far. The first was at Longfellow. The principal there was having difficulty identifying a kindergarten teacher and because of my background in HR, I was able to put a few good candidates in front of her. It gave her the opportunity to look at a few folks that she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. She welcomed me with open arms, which was certainly gratifying.
The project that I’m currently working on is at East High School, one of the largest urban high schools in Kansas City, Missouri. They have an unspeakable weight room for their students. A lot of the school athletes are leaders in the school and when I looked at their weight room with their vice principal, it was just embarrassing. I’ve reffed basketball in some suburban school districts and the difference is night and day. I’ve been working to raise money for some basic weights so student athletes at East will be better able to compete on the field, and in the classroom. That’s been gratifying for me because I’m kind of an “over-the-hill jock.” I know how important it is to be in shape when you compete in basketball, football, track, etc. When you don’t have the proper weights in the off-season, you aren’t able to compete at the highest level. So, this project has been very validating for me.
“Kids shouldn’t have to suffer just because of the zip code they live in.”
Q: How has your perception of Kansas City schools changed due to your involvement with PrincipalsConnect? You just look at the disparities between the haves and have-nots and it’s just incredible. I don’t know if it’s the fault of the school district, the administration, or politics, but Kansas City schools just aren’t where they need to be. I know they are working very hard, but kids are still suffering. They can’t compete with other districts, hence they can’t compete to get into college, hence they won’t be able to compete for jobs. Volunteering has really opened my eyes to the needs of Kansas City schools – from teachers, to books, to facilities, to everything, really. It’s really put a spotlight on the disparities. Kids shouldn’t have to suffer just because of the zip code they live in.
Q: What else should we know? What are some of your personal hobbies?
I’m an avid golfer. I golf all over the city and the country. Golf is my number one and I play tennis to stay in shape. I’m married to a great wife and we have a 34-year-old son who is getting married in a couple of weeks. I spend a lot of time in the community serving on several boards (MCC Foundation, Operation Breakthrough, KU Edwards Workforce Advisory Council, KC Teacher Residency and PrincipalsConnect). As you can see, they all center around education. Everything from early education all the way up to career.