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Kauffman Museum board appoints interim director

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The board of Kauffman Museum has appointed a retired educator and museum administrator to be the interim director of Bethel College’s museum.

Linda Rostine Schmitt, Hutchinson, begins Jan. 2, 2018, and will continue until a new director is named. Annette LeZotte served as Kauffman Museum director for three years before resigning this past October.

“The Kauffman Museum has a stellar reputation in the museum community, and I’m thrilled to be chosen as its interim director,” Schmitt said. “I very much look forward to working with the board, staff and Bethel College community in the coming months.”

Schmitt retired in 2015 as executive director of the Reno County Historical Society, where she served for nine years.

In that position, Schmitt oversaw both the Reno County Historical Museum and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, including leading the 2012 re-branding campaign of the latter, now called Strataca.

Schmitt is a graduate of Hutchinson Community College and the University of Kansas, where she received a B.S. in social studies education. She studied at the University of Denver and completed a master’s degree in education in student personnel and guidance from Wichita State University. She also has a certificate in nonprofit management from WSU.

Schmitt has served as executive director of Visions of Hope Inc., Reno County’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, program; as the student and family support specialist and crisis team coordinator for Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas, or ESSDACK; and as a teacher, recruiter and trainer for Promise for All Cyber School based in Baltimore, in addition to her position with the Reno County Historical Society.

Since LeZotte’s departure at the end of October, long-time Kauffman Museum Curator of Education Andi Schmidt Andres has been providing guidance for staff and program coordination as transition operations manager.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the special exhibit, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War,” along with the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its website, www.bethelks.edu/kauffman/, or Facebook page.

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.