April 2, 2022

Five distinguished alumni will be inducted into the Lee’s Summit High School Hall of Fame on April 9 at Lee’s Summit High School. Alumni being honored for the 2021-2022 school year are Kaysie Brown – Class of 1997, Michael S. Dodig – Class of 1982, Sue Ficken Hart – Class of 1965, Dr. Toni Picerno Kilts – Class of 2004, and Dr. William (Bill) S. Richardson, Class of 1988.

The distinguished alumni will be recognized at the LSHS Hall of Fame banquet to be held at 6 p.m. on April 9, 2022 at LSHS. Cost per person is $25, and reservations are required. For more information, please contact the high school at 816-986-2107 or email to melodye.wehmhoener@lsr7.net.

Lee’s Summit High School has inducted distinguished graduates into the school’s Hall of Fame for 25 years. Alumni are inducted each year during a dinner ceremony. Plaques featuring the honorees will be displayed in the new entry of Lee’s Summit High School.

The LSHS Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee of graduates and staff. Alumni are eligible for this honor 10 years after graduation. Nomination forms for the 2022-2023 school year are available on the LSHS website. Nomination forms & supporting materials should be submitted to the high school at 400 SE Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO, 64063 no later than November 15, 2022. Submit electronically to melodye.wehmhoener@lsr7.net no later than November 15, 2022.

Kaysie Brown, Class of 1997
Kaysie Brown is a Senior Advisor in the Biden-Harris Administration, focusing on global COVID diplomacy and pandemic preparedness and response at the Department of State. She was previously Vice President for Planning and Strategic Initiatives at the United Nations Foundation, leading policy planning and development. She also helped create high-impact initiatives focused on strengthening global cooperation, including the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, World Benchmarking Alliance, and the Local 2030 Islands Network. Kaysie has also worked at the Department of State as the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals and as a Senior Program Officer on policy development and program design on conflict prevention and response. Her prior experience includes serving as Deputy Director of the International Institutes and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Program Officer at the International Peace Institute and the Center for Global Development. She has written extensively on multilateralism, the intersection of security and development, the Sustainable Development Goals, and conflict manager. Kaysie has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a B.A. with honors in International Relations from Lewis & Clark College. She lives in Takoma Park, MD with her wonderful husband and two awesome children.

Michael S. Dodig, Class of 1982
Mike grew up in the Lake Lotawana and Lee’s Summit area. He attended Mason Elementary, Pleasant Lea Junior High, and Lee’s Summit High School, graduating in 1982.

In junior high and high school, Mike was active in theater. He performed in several plays and worked on the crew of several others, even serving as a student director on multiple productions. Mike met his future wife in the theater department of Lee’s Summit High School, and they have been together ever since.

Mike is an attorney, but he has focused much of his time and energy on public service. Upon graduating high school, Mike served his country as a paratrooper in the famous 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. As an infantryman, Mike trained throughout the world and was deployed to the island of Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury. Mike earned Master Parachutist Wings and the Combat Infantry Badge, as well as other medals and awards. During his last year of service, Mike was an instructor for the 82nd Airborne’s Advanced Airborne School.

Following his Army service, Mike attended college at UMKC and law school at the University of Chicago. During college, he was appointed by Governor Ashcroft to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators to represent the students of all four system universities. In law school, Mike was awarded the Tony Patino Fellowship for Public Service, and he taught Streetlaw classes to high school students in underprivileged areas of Chicago.

Mike returned to his hometown of Lee’s Summit to practice law and to begin his family. It was important to him to be active in the community. Mike has served on a wide variety of boards and commissions in Lee’s Summit including the City Council, the R-7 School Board (as member, Vice President, and President), the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Economic Development Council board of directors, the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street board of directors, the Lee’s Summit Historical Society board of directors, the Summit Theater Group board of directors, and many others. Mike has performed in local plays with the Summit Theater Group, and he edited a book of Lee’s Summit history with the Lee’s Summit Historical Society.

Mike and his wife, Susie, have raised two great children in Lee’s Summit, and Mike coached a variety of youth sports, as well as providing adult leadership for his son’s Cub Scouts den. Mike is also a small business owner, having run a law firm in Lee’s Summit for many years.

Sue Ficken Hart, Class of 1965
Sue started kindergarten in Greenwood. Sue then attended Lee’s Summit Elementary from grades 1-6, followed by junior high (located at 6th and Miller) and graduated from LSHS in 1965.

She began a twenty year career with AT&T Long Lines in Kansas City in the fall of 1965. Sue worked her way around Europe with temporary jobs in London, England; Kaiserslautern, Germany; and Florence, Italy. She visited seventeen countries that year, while working and visiting friends.

Returning to the USA, she continued to pursue her bachelor’s degree with evening classes while working for an insurance company before returning to AT&T. She was regularly promoted and recognized throughout her career at AT&T with two significant national awards, The Eagle Award program was for outstanding leaders. In 1986, she was selected to participate in a national Horizons Program, mentoring a team of high potential managers from throughout the country. This year-long program was in addition to her second level management responsibilities.

She completed her Bachelor of Science degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Park College, in 1990.

Sue then joined Twentieth Century Investments (now American Century), where she was hired as Assistant Director, promoted to Director, and finished her eleven-year career there as a Vice President of Account Services, with approximately 400 people reporting to her in Denver and Kansas City. In 1993, she was honored to receive the Leadership Award at American Century. At that time, that was the company’s highest management recognition.

Sue retired from American Century in 2002 and began another distinguished career of community service to Lee’s Summit. Her work embodies the extraordinary example of giving back to the community in which she was raised and educated. Her community service includes working on various church committees, serving on her neighborhood homeowners’ association, supporting Lee’s Summit Social Services, and directing and volunteering at the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit. She has held leadership positions in each of these groups. Sue is the heart and soul of the Historical Society of Lee’s Summit. She works tirelessly to preserve the history of the community in which she was raised. She currently serves as the secretary of the board for the museum. She is also the chairperson of the membership and volunteer committee.

Dr. Toni Picerno Kilts, Class of 2004
Toni Picerno Kilts is a graduate of Lee’s Summit High School Class of 2004. While at LSHS, Toni was a member of the cross country, basketball and track teams. She was a member of 2000 state cross country team champions. In 2004 she was named KC Star Scholar Athlete of the Year. Toni also served as president of the National Honor Society. Following high school, Toni attended Webster University and later transferred to Maryville University. While at both universities, Toni played basketball and participated in three NCAA tournaments. After graduation, Toni spent one year coaching high school girls’ basketball at Parkway West High School.

Toni then attended and graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences with her Doctorate of Osteopathy. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Christiana Care Health Systems in Newark, DE and spent time at MD Anderson Cancer Center for oncologic training. After residency, Toni completed a gynecologic oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and also obtained a Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Science. Toni has presented at numerous regional and national conferences and has published her work in leading peer-reviewed publications. Following completion of fellowship, Toni started her job as a gynecologic oncologist dedicated to the treatment of women with gynecologic malignancies at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. She is a founding member of the Jellison Cancer Institute and currently serves as adjunct faculty for Florida State College of Medicine. She and her husband Matt have two daughters, Mia and Layla.

Dr. William (Bill) S. Richardson, Class of 1988
Dr. William (Bill) S. Richardson directs the jazz ensemble and teaches trumpet at Northwest Missouri State University, where he has taught since 1999. He was named “Dennis C. Dau Endowed Professor of Music” (the first appointment to an endowed professorship in the institution’s history) from 2018-2021. A 2010 Fulbright Scholar, Richardson was Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the Jazeps Vitois Latvian Academy of Music in Riga, Latvia. Richardson holds degrees from Central Missouri State University (BME), Florida State University (MM-Trumpet), and the University of Texas at Austin (DMA-Trumpet).

Dr. Richardson says this about his time at LSHS, “My time at LSHS was crucial in my development as a musician, student and person. There was a culture of excellence and positivity that “infected” the Performing Arts Center hallways, and this led to a unique experience for students and faculty. Truth be told, I might not have graduated from high school without the artistic activities provided by the band, choir, orchestra and theater areas. The positive relationships with students and faculty will remain with me forever, and I am grateful to LSHS for these experiences.” Bill lives in Maryville, MO with his wife Niki (LSHS class of 1989) and daughters Sarah and Leah.