Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kaiser, Longtime Counselor at Topeka West High School, Remembered Fondly ; Counselor: 'We Lost a Good Friend and a Colleague'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kaiser, Longtime Counselor at Topeka West High School, Remembered Fondly ; Counselor: 'We Lost a Good Friend and a Colleague'

Article excerpt

Gail Kaiser is being remembered as a tireless advocate for students who always said what was on her mind.

"She didn't mince words," said Lila Bartel, who retired in 2013 after working with Kaiser for 10 years at Topeka West High School. "There were times you needed someone to say, 'You need to look at it this way.' That's what we needed to hear. I never saw her lie down on anything. She took the high road on everything."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Kaiser, 62, was found unresponsive in her vehicle parked outside of Topeka West where she had been a counselor since 1995. She died Tuesday night, according to a news release from Topeka Unified School District 501.

A post on the school's Facebook page on Wednesday said efforts to revive Kaiser were unsuccessful. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Facebook post about Kaiser had more than 30 comments and had been shared more than 100 times. Many of the comments from parents, former students and others ranged from how much Kaiser will be missed to how she touched many lives.

According to information provided by USD 501, Kaiser began her teaching career in 1975 as a business teacher at Jardine Middle School. She later taught business at Topeka High School and was also a counselor at Jardine and French middle schools before she moved to Topeka West, where she had been for the past 20 years.

On another Facebook page, Henry Reed, a 2011 Topeka West graduate and whose father, Brian, had Kaiser as his keyboarding teacher when he attended Jardine, said the news of Kaiser's passing was difficult for him to process. The younger Reed wrote that he was a proctor for Kaiser his sophomore year. He said that position was usually attained only by upperclassmen, but he said Kaiser made the decision after Reed had injured his knee during a weight training class and couldn't find him a suitable replacement class.

"Sure enough she had talked with the principal," he wrote, "and there I was, working side by side with her every day."

In just his second year as principal at Topeka West, Dustin Dick said Kaiser was someone staff and students looked forward to seeing daily. …

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