Splurge!’s list of 12 people to meet in the next year includes notables ranging from a high school basketball coach to the commander at McConnell Air Force Base. The people were selected to demonstrate Wichita’s rich variety of leaders and all of those selected have exciting challenges waiting for them in 2012. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Donald Reinhold
New director of Wichita Symphony Orchestra Reinhold grew up in New Jersey and has lived in many places in the United States, but he never before has lived in the Midwest. He started his music career at the University of Maryland and he came to Kansas from Fresno, Calif., where he served as executive director of the Fresno Philharmonic since 2006.
“Wichita impressed me… and that’s been reinforced by people I’ve met or talked with since I took this job,” he said.
Reinhold looks forward to working with Wichita Symphony Orchestra conductor Daniel Hege, who he has worked with as a guest conductor previously.
“I think his reputation and the wonderful way he has of communicating with audiences, this was what I was looking for as a conductor,” Reinhold said.
Why You Should Meet Him: He’s enthusiastic about music, Wichita and gourmet cooking – so ask him to cook you a meal.
What’s Coming in 2012: Reinhold’s two goals are to build connections between the symphony’s audience and the music and to broaden the symphony’s audience. “We need to be bringing in more people to experience the wonderful resources Wichita has,” he said. growth at the end of the organization’s current projects. Why You Should Meet Him: He heads an organization that positively benefits children you know and he does not stop seeking solutions to better serve them.
2. Dennis Schoenebeck
General executive of Greater Wichita YMCA Shoenebeck has served as general executive since 1990. At the time, the YMCA in Wichita served 20,000 people per year. In 2011, the YMCA served more than 20,000 children and adults a day, serving more than 265,000 people – including two- thirds of all area children. Greater Wichita YMCA is now the largest provider in the region for childcare, summer day camp, youth sports, swim lessons, health and wellness and after-school programs.
“To see the opportunity for these folks to participate in a variety of programs that ultimately improve people and benefit them (is the best part of my job),” Schoenebeck said.
Schoenebeck will have overseen more than $140 million in capital growth at the end of the organization’s current projects.
Why You Should Meet Him: He heads an organization that positively benefits children you know and he does not stop seeking solutions to better serve them.
What’s Coming in 2012: The YMCA will finish construction on Central Family YMCA location at 402 N. Market, replacing the current downtown facility.
“I think it’s really going to change the area and serve a lot of people,” Schoenebeck said. “It’s a great facility.”
In addition, the YMCA announced in December it had raised enough funds to double the size of the Farha Sports Center in south Wichita. “We’ve really seen an increase in the number of youth participating in basketball and especially volleyball,” Schoenebeck said. “As the need has grown, expanding will allow us to serve more people and do a quality job.”
Finally, by spring 2012 the second phase of the Camp Hyde facility in Viola will be complete, which will include the addition of an outdoor pool and equestrian area.
3. Clare Vanderpool
Newberry Medal-winning author Vanderpool grew up in Wichita and lives in College Hill. She received her degree in English and elementary education and she and her husband have four children. Vanderpool’s first novel, “Moon Over Manifest,” is about a young girl named Abilene whose father sends her to live in a fictional town called Manifest, Kan. The novel tells the story of how Abilene learns her father’s history and how she makes the town her home. The book was named the Newberry Medal winner in January 2011.
“That’s something I felt really was a gift,” Vanderpool said. “It’s not something you can necessarily aspire to, I don’t think.”
Vanderpool’s Kansas roots influenced the way she developed the characters in “Manifest.”
“I am from Kansas as well,and I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on Midwestern and Kansas sensibilities, like strong work ethic, frugality and appreciation,” she said. “I think it all came through in my characters.”
Why You Should Meet Her: She tells really good stories, but she is extremely down-to-earth. “We as a family talked about how this is a wonderful opportunity and we want to appreciate it, but, at same time, we want to keep life pretty normal,” she said.
What’s Coming in 2012: Vanderpool sent Random House a second book last month called “Middle-Grade.” It is the story of a 1940s Kansas boy who is uprooted from his home and sent to a boarding school in Maine. The novel details two boys’ journey on the Appalachian Trail. Vanderpool will spend the first part of 2012 editing that novel, which is set to come out in spring 2013.
Then, she will begin work on her third novel, which she already has sold to Random House. “I’m just trying to enjoy the process and fall in love with the new characters,” she said.
4. Anne Corriston
New director of Inter-Faith Ministries Corriston began her new position in early December, just in time to witness the behind-the- scenes of Operation Holiday, an annual fund-raiser that provides needed supplies to Wichitans living below the poverty level. Inter-Faith has operated in Wichita for 125 years and throughout the year it provides those in need many services, including assisting them with inexpensive housing options.
Corriston arrives at her position after years working for Wichita non-profits, including the Knight Foundation and, most recently, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.
After funding for Corriston’s position at Workforce Alliance discontinued, she spent time assisting her daughter with two adopted grandchildren. When the Inter-Faith position opened, it seemed like good timing.
Why You Should Meet Her: She’s familiar with the Wichita community’s needs and she is committed to improving the community.
What’s Coming in 2012: “In the future, I hope to do some things we’ve done in the past with inter-faith dialogue, like presentations by people of different faiths, brown bag lunches, things like that,” Corriston said. “I’d like to focus on how we can bring people of faith together who share a common goal of good for this community.”
In addition, Corriston hopes to identify new revenue sources for the charity.
“If I can help others have same stability and peace through my work,” she said, “then I’ve achieved what I’ve set out to do.”
5. Joe Auer
Wichita Heights High School head men’s basketball coach and social studies teacher. Auer has served as Heights men’s basketball coach since the 1995 season, making the current season his 17th. Auer’s team has won three consecutive Kansas 6A state men’s basketball championships. In addition, under Auer the team is on a 48-game winning streak, which currently is the longest winning streak in high school basketball in the country.
“Every day is a very unique experience in this business,” Auer said. “I’m really just having the time of my life in my profession.”
Auer’s team includes University of Kansas signee senior Perry Ellis, who was named second team All-USA by the USA Today last year.
Auer also teaches senior government. “I love seniors,” he said. “I’m very blessed I’m getting to teach what I really have a passion for.”
As Heights’ former head baseball coach, Auer is a sports lover. He, his wife, Kay, and his two teenage sons play golf together.
Why You Should Meet Him: Not only is Auer a successful coach, but he truly cares about the students he works with each day.
What’s Coming in 2012: Auer and his players hope Heights will play for a fourth consecutive state championship. However, Auer said, the team plans to focus on the remainder of the season one game at a time.
“You’ve got to take it on a day-by-day basis and worry about what is in front of you,” Auer said. “In coaching and sports, you have to stay focused on the moment and not worry about how the season is going to end.” However, it’s fair to say state basketball play is a goal for the coach. “Hopefully,” Auer said, “we’ll be a big part of March Madness.”
6. Kim Nussbaum
President and publisher of The Wichita Eagle Nussbaum began at The Eagle in August, after 28 years of experience in the newspaper industry. She came to Wichita from Abilene, Texas, where she had served as publisher since 2007. Nussbaum, her husband, Steve, and eighth grade daughter, Katie, are enjoying Wichita.
“I would define the community as friendly and loyal. Wichitans aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves to help advance the city,” she said. Nussbaum believes the city’s newspaper plays a big part in city improvement. “I believe strongly in the newspaper’s role as a community leader and I take pride in knowing we’re making a difference in people’s lives through powerful stories and advertising campaigns that work for our advertisers,” she said.
Why You Should Meet Her: Nussbaum served as Abilene’s Junior League president in 2007, proving she is interested in being an active part of her community.
What’s Coming in 2012: The Eagle’s readership is at an all-time high. “When you combine our print and online audience, our integrated audience is growing by leaps and bounds and we need to do a better job of letting people know we are growing,” Nussbaum said.
What can readers expect to see in 2012: “Broad and deep coverage of local, state and national elections in a major election year; focus on news and analysis from the new legislative session, with key policy and budget issues to be decided,” Nussbaum said. “Strong investigative reporting in local and state issues; continued attention to mobile news for a rapidly growing audience.”