KANS Founders


KANS Founders

In 1970, Vince DeCoursey, Robert Eggold, and James Thiessen joined together to form the Kansas Association of Non-Public Schools (KANS). The organization was formed to promote the passage of legislation that would provide acceptable governmental aid to non-public schools and a spirit of cooperation among nonpublic schools, the State Legislature and Kansas State Department of Education.

Together, these three men would sit on the KANS executive board for the next two decades and work for the betterment of non-public schools in Kansas.

Vince DeCoursey – KANS Founder

HOF_KANS_decoursey2 Vincent DeCoursey (1917-1991) was a businessman in the dairy industry for most of his career. When he retired in the late 1960s, he became a founder and Executive Director of Kansas Catholic Conference and dedicated much of the remainder of his life to a highly important personal issue: education. He was a past president of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors and a former member of the U.S. Catholic Conference Committee. Mr. DeCoursey received his B.S. (1939) in finance from the University of Notre Dame. He and he wife, Helen, were married for 50 years and had six boys, all of whom graduated from Notre Dame. In a testimony to the emphasis Mr. DeCoursey placed on education, all his children obtained advanced degrees.


Robert (Bob) Eggold – KANS Founder

HOF_KANS_eggold2Robert (Bob) Eggold was a vital Lutheran educational administrator and teacher for more than 40 years. He served the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in Kansas for the final 20 of those years as executive director for education and youth ministry. During the first part of his career, he worked as teacher and principal and was responsible for organizing five Lutheran elementary schools in Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. He was the KANS chairman for 20 years, 1969-89. Mr. Eggold received his B.S. in education (1951) from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois and a master’s degree in educational administration (1958) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His wife, Elaine, and he have three sons.


James Theissen – KANS Founder

HOF_KANS_theissen2James Thiessen has been a faithful and outstanding Christian educator for more than 40 years. He began his career in 1960 as a Bible academy principal and teacher, but Mr. Thiessen spent the majority of his career, from 1966 to 1994, as superintendent of Berean Academy in Elbing. As a founder of KANS, he served as secretary on the KANS executive board for 20 years, 1970-1990. Mr. Thiessen graduated with a B.S. from Grace University in Omaha, NE in 1953. He earned a second B.A. (1956) and his M.A. (1958) from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He is married to Gladys and they have five children.