A husband-wife team in education has also been a husband-wife team in economic development.
Tamara Slane completed her term last year and rotated out of the Chanute Regional Development Authority board after five years, while her husband, Steve, is in his fifth and final year on the board.
Steve is now the director of the Chanute Recreation Commission after retiring as coach and teacher, while Tamara is board clerk and business agent for Chanute USD 413 school district.
Both are Chanute natives and graduated from Chanute High School, Steve in 1976 and Tamara in 1980, before attending Neosho County Community College.
After two years playing junior college baseball, Steve finished his degree at Pittsburg State University. He initially taught sixth grade at Hutton and Lincoln elementary schools then at Royster Middle School, where he later taught seventh and eighth grade science and social studies.
He was principal in Erie for one year after obtaining an administration degree, then returned to teach at Royster. He also was principal at Alcott before the elementary schools were consolidated. He retired in 2013 after 34 years in education, including coaching high school junior varsity basketball, baseball, golf and middle school football and track.
Tamara went into banking after receiving her associate degree, including five years at Home Savings Bank. She then went to work at NCCC as Registrar, and was there for five years.
Steve has been CRC director for five years and Tamara has been with the school district for 20 years. They met on the American Legion baseball field, where Steve played on Tamara’s father’s team. She said they dated for three months before she found out they lived three blocks from each other.
They have a son, a daughter and one grandchild.
Besides their involvement with CRDA, Tamara is recreation leader for the Awana group at First United Methodist Church and is chair of the evangelism committee, which has held a walk-through Nativity scene and provided a community-wide swim party. She said they plan to hold the party twice this year.
Steve said he works with many local organizations through the CRC, which has an ex-officio spot on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. They also try to attend annual fundraising galas and other events.
They said they want to do new things that keep the community vital.
“My main interest is for the community,” Steve said. “It’s been my home.”
Tamara said her activity growing up in 4-H instilled in her a support for the community.
They said they have tried to do different things than other towns have done. Steve said he has not heard of other towns doing events like the Highland Games, and there aren’t communities that have as many things in one spot that can be a draw.
He said it is exciting to build momentum and see younger families move back to Chanute.
“That’s how our community will sustain itself,” he said.