Education has always been a focal point for Darren Dupriest. As the president and CEO of Validity Screening Solutions, he emphasizes education of employees and clients alike in order to provide a superior service. Along with his extremely “hands-on” wife, Noreen, the education of their four boys has been a focal point in the home. This passion for education led him to become a board member for the Blue Valley Educational Foundation in 2014. Since its inception, the organization has awarded over $4 million for grants, scholarships and special programs in support of educational excellence in the Blue Valley School District (KS). Through this involvement, Darren was introduced to the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, KS. This facility provided a new opportunity: expand its cultural and educational reach to more than the local community.
Museum at Prairiefire
The Museum at Prairiefire was founded in 2008 by Fred and Candy Merrill and opened its doors in 2014, with a strategically designed partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. Until recently, the American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, had not collaborated to this degree with another museum in the world. Because of this unique association, the Museum at Prairiefire has premiere access to the AMNH’s timely and scientifically-oriented exhibitions, phenomenal educational resources and some of the best scientists and researchers in the world. What attracted Darren to the museum was not solely this affiliation, but the vision of Fred and Candy for what it could provide patrons across the Midwest. The location was selected, in part, to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to the suburbs of Kansas City. Becoming established in the heart of Johnson County was the initial step in the process. Now it was time to branch out.
First Steps Towards a Greater Future
The Kansas City Urban Advantage (KCUA) is a dynamic program designed to improve science literacy for under-served students, their families, caregivers and educators. With the invaluable support of local donors, KCUA sponsors eight (8) Kansas City-area schools, which provides the opportunity for hundreds of children to visit the museum and experience all it has to offer. The program not only provides for transportation, lunch and a full-day of learning, but provides carefully designed curriculum for the teachers so that the education may extend beyond the museum’s walls. The schools and the teachers in the community provide that opportunity every day, but supporting an institution that enhances that progress is a passion that Darren, and others, will always embrace.
For any questions about the Museum at Prairiefire, Kansas City Urban Advantage, or if you have a passion for education and would like to get involved, please email Terri Thompson, director of community engagement, at [email protected] or [email protected] To learn about one of the passion of another director with our company click here to learn about Chris Feld’s bike ride through Iowa. For more great blogs and content please subscribe to our blogs here.