A Big IDEA Takes Shape

Welcome to the Dan & Cassidy Towriss IDEA Space KC, a collaborative center for STEAM education serving students throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Using science, technology, engineering, arts and math as conduits to spark children’s imaginations, IDEA Space seeks to create a bright future for Kansas City’s next generation of innovators. 

Through consistent and ongoing STEAM learning experiences, students of all ages and backgrounds learn to communicate, collaborate, and lead with confidence.

Ryan Weber, Former President & CEO, KC Tech Council

“What we love about IDEA Space – it is an innovative approach that will provide essential building blocks for our future workforce and offer students greater access to high-quality computer science and STEAM education. In essence, it is exactly what this region needs now to be a technology leader tomorrow.”

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  • Our Mission

    The mission of IDEA Space KC is to build 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 kindergarten-grade 12 engage in STEAM learning through hands-on activities and experiences. Through collaboration with regional private and public school districts and home school programs, students will 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 will participate  through after school programs, summer courses, school and non-profit partnerships and will receive consistent learning opportunities that 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.
  • 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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  • IDEA Space KC Advisory Board

    Rick Chambers, Executive Director, Center School District Foundation 
    David Disney, retired, JE Dunn Construction
    Nicki and Jeremy Fry, Owners, Fry Orthodontics 
    Tom Gray, CEO/Producer, Make48
    Kevin Jeffries ’74, President/CEO, Leawood Chamber of Commerce 
    Michael Kulp, President/CEO, KBP Foods 
    Scott Lippert, President, Artisan Technology Group 
    Melea McRae, President/Founder, Crux Marketing 
    Amanda Morgan ’94, Director, Morgan Family Legacy Foundation 
    David Neihart ’79, The Neihart Financial Group 
    Danny O’Neill, CEO/Founder, The Roasterie 
    Nancy Embry Thiessen ’66
    Jenny Thiessen Waldeck ’90
  • The Barstow School Board of Trustees

    Executive Committee
    Joel Brous '88, Chair
    Robert Rothhaas, Vice Chair
    Peter Vrooman '88
    Jason Press '90
    Jennifer Gille Bacon
    Michael Kulp
    Greg Graves
    Mira Mdivani

    Tim Cowden
    Erin Garrison
    Amanda Morgan '94
    Soni Patel
    Tiffany Simpson
    Rochelle B. Stringer
    Srikala Subramanian
    Cassidy Towriss '12
    Jennifer Thiessen Waldeck '90
    Shane Foster, Ex-Officio Member
  • Facilitators & Staff

    Cassie Banka '05
    Acting Director
    Engineering Department Chair

    Cassie Banka brings over a decade of classroom instruction, teacher professional development and mentorship experience to IDEA Space KC. She's taught middle and high school mathematics and engineering courses focused on design and fabrication. Her goal is to facilitate the development of impassioned problem solvers.

    In addition to her role as acting director, Cassie oversees our Makerspace, including digital fabrication, and is responsible for the engineering curriculum development. 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.

    Garrett Brown
    Design and Fabrication Facilitator

    Garrett Brown comes to IDEA Space KC with an art and design background and over 13 years of experience coordinating student-used shops and creative studio spaces. He has facilitated and taught traditional woodworking and metalworking techniques, digital fabrication, and fundamental principles and practices for three-dimensional and two-dimensional creative processes.

    Garrett oversees the Fabrication Workshop at IDEA Space, and develops and implements curriculum for students and teachers that combines new technology with traditional building techniques, explores materials, form, and function, and ensures safe working practice. Garrett holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art from the University of Kansas and a Master's Degree in Fine Art from Northern Illinois University.

    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.

    Lindsey Reid-Goff
    Administrative Assistant/Receptionist
    Lindsey Reid-Goff joined The Barstow School in 2022, having served as an administrative assistant within the Kansas City area non-profit sector for 7 years.
    Lindsey serves as administrative assistant and receptionist for IDEA Space. Students, teachers and visitors will notice Lindsey's positive demeanor and bright personality as soon as they arrive. Serving as point of contact & “mission control,” Lindsey helps coordinate students’ different experiences within IDEA Space. She has a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from Oakwood University, in Huntsville, Alabama.

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.
  • Alumni Mentor

    From leading global STEM companies to successful local start-ups, we invite Barstow alumni to share 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.

Ryann Tacha, Vice President, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

“IDEA Space is a place where all students have a seat at the table, where their voices are heard and their bright ideas honored.”

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