The Community Resource for STEAM Education

Welcome to the Dan & Cassidy Towriss IDEA Space, where science, technology, engineering, arts and math are the conduits that spark children’s creativity, imagination and innovation. 
Through consistent and ongoing STEAM  experiences, students of all ages and backgrounds learn to create, communicate and collaborate.

In our thoughtfully-designed learning center, K-12 students learn to use the technology and tools that will power tomorrow's workforce. Educators connect for meaningful professional development. And community partners have access to specialized spaces and equipment that turn regular lessons into real-world products and projects. Here, anything is possible. So what's your idea?

Cassie Banka, Director

“We recognize how important STEAM skills are for the future. Providing meaningful, hands-on opportunities for every child to apply these skills will shape future generations of innovators.”

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  • Our Mission

    IDEA Space KC provides a mutually supportive space in south Kansas City where students and educators explore Innovation, Discovery, Entrepreneurship and Arts through consistent, ongoing learning experiences.

Our Vision

IDEA Space empowers learners and educators today to create the Kansas City of tomorrow, a community resource where students in preschool-grade 12 engage in STEAM learning through hands-on activities and experiences. Through collaboration with regional private, public and home school programs, students acquire important 21st century skills: creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving.

IDEA Space will broaden and diversify pipelines into four key workforce development areas: skilled trades, engineering, advanced manufacturing and computer science. Students participate  through after school programs, summer courses, school and non-profit partnerships and receive increase their comfort and confidence in STEAM fields.



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  • Shane A. Foster

    Shane Foster has been an educator, school leader and advocate for innovative learning for more than 35 years. He is President of The Barstow School, and a longtime proponent of technology integration in education. Mr. Foster helped develop Barstow’s first online classes in 2013 and made STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) an educational priority for students in preschool-grade 12. IDEA Space is the result of his plan to make meaningful, hands-on STEAM education accessible to students throughout the region.
  • Cassie Banka '05

    Cassie Banka '05 brings more than a decade of classroom STEAM instruction and educational leadership to IDEA Space. After graduating from The Barstow School in 2005, Cassie earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Mathematics and a Master of Science in Curriculum from Kansas State University, and a Master of Science in School Leadership from Baker University. Her goal is to facilitate the development of impassioned problem solvers.
  • Jennifer L. Dreiling

    Vice President, Advancement
    Jennifer Dreiling has been in development, fundraising and finance in the Kansas City area for 20 years. Her expertise in major gift and capital campaign fundraising has been critical to IDEA Space’s development. Jennifer has raised millions of dollars through building key relationships and strategic development with individuals, foundations and corporations on a local and national level. She holds a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences from the University of Oklahoma.

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  • The Barstow School Board of Trustees

    Executive Committee
    Soni Patel, Chair
    Robert Rothhaas, Vice Chair
    Peter Vrooman '88, Treasurer
    Jason Press '90, Secretary
    Erin Garrison, Member at-Large, Advancement
    Greg Graves, Member at-Large, Building & Grounds
    Mira Mdivani, Member at-Large, International
    Srikala Subramanian, Member at-Large, Trustee Governance
    Cassidy Towriss '12, Member at-Large, EmpowerHer Committee

    Jennifer Gille Bacon
    Joel Brous '88
    Tim Cowden
    Michael Kulp
    Tiffany Simpson
    Jennifer Thiessen Waldeck '90
    Shane Foster, Ex-Officio
  • Facilitators & Staff

    Bree Pusey
    Computer Science Facilitator

    Bree Pusey comes to IDEA Space with several years of teaching experience, including Physical Science, Engineering and Computer Science courses. She is an alumni of Teach For America’s Milwaukee Corps and has focused on combating educational inequity throughout her career.

    Bree oversees the Technology Lab at IDEA Space and is responsible for computer science curriculum development. She attended high school at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. She received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Arts in Education from Alverno College. Her goal is to make computer science accessible to every learner — both teachers and students. Bree is also a lifelong athlete, and is particularly interested in the intersection of sports, science and technology.

    Bradley Evans
    IDEA Space Educator

    Brad Evans comes to IDEA Space KC with 12 years of teaching experience in South Korea and China. He brings experience teaching social studies, design, entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary learning experiences, utilizing project- and inquiry-based learning approaches to create engaging learning experiences. Brad is an alumni of Illinois State University and received his advanced degree from State University of New York.  
    Brad teaches a variety of middle and upper school STEAM courses, including robotics, entrepreneurship and architecture and interior design. Brad sees real-world and interdisciplinary connections as a cornerstone to modern learning and endeavors to make meaningful connections across subject areas. 

Join Our Team

Be part of something amazing! IDEA Space is seeking qualified volunteers who want to inspire and mentor the next generation of makers, doers and leaders. Email us for information.

Be a Volunteer

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  • Professional in Residence

    Put your expertise to work helping to grow and diversity the next generation in your field.
  • Mentor

    From leading global STEM companies to successful local start-ups, we invite you to share your expertise with today's students.
  • Community Learning Partner

    Support IDEA Space students and work with our partners and stakeholders on a variety of special projects.

Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

IDEA Space KC is committed to inclusion, diversity and equity for those who enter into our space, for our students, for our educators and for our community. Our staff is dedicated to offering a culturally competent curriculum and promoting workplace diversity. 

The Barstow School's Inclusion, Diversity and Equity department will oversee efforts to create a community that values and supports racial equity and justice and promotes equal opportunities for all.

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