Bielefield to Replace Thompson as Superintendent


Kelly Bielefeld and Alicia Thompson enjoying a drink from Starbuffs and talking.

Ana Peralta, Reporter

Kelly Bielefeld will be the new USD 259 superintendent next year. He’ll be replacing Dr. Alicia Thompson who has been working in the district for 31 years and who in November announced her decision to step down at the end of this year.

“I was actually a student in the Wichita public schools all the way from kindergarten to when I graduated from Heights High School many years ago so I will always be a part of the Wichita Public Schools. I will come back, of course I will always volunteer reading in classrooms and go to basketball games… plus I have a daughter that’s still in school so ill be volunteering and spending time with her at her school as well,” Thompson said.

Bielefeld, the current head of the Career and Technical Education department, has been working hard throughout his career to be able to become the next right person to become superintendent.

“The reason why I wanted to become superintendent is because I feel like I’ve had different experiences across my career that have lead me to be able to able to support all the schools in Wichita so I have been a part of rural and suburban and urban schools across the county,” Bielefeld said. “That experience I think lends me to be ready for the job.”

While Bielefeld knows that there are many challenges, he will have to face leading USD 259 schools, he is prepared to take on those challenges. “Some of our students struggle coming out of COVID so some of the things that continue to be issues are chronic absences – we have students missing a lot of school – and mental health issues, with kids from even young ages but all the way up to high school. And then we also have challenges ahead when it comes to budget and making decisions about the future of the district,” Bielefeld said.

Despite those challenges, Bielefeld says there are many good things going on in the district.

“We have such a wide array of different types of kids and families and it just makes our community stronger because we have all of those diverse points of view,” Bielefeld said. “So I think one of the things I would love to continue … or improve is our CT programs and expanding those CT programs. The Future Ready Center that we’ve created and allowing more kids to attend that and really try to find innovative ways to meet kids needs.”

Thompson and Bielefield will continue to work together for the rest of the year and Bielefeld says he will continue to learn from Thompson before she leaves.

“I count it as an honor and privilege to have been able to serve Wichita Public Schools in many capacities from being a teacher all the way to the superintendency,” Thompson said. “I have been able to do many cool things and I hope that the strategic plan will continue to empower kids and staff to dream believe and achieve.”