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School District 512 Shawnee Mission BOE 3

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Brian S. Brown (N)

Biographical Information

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

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What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

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How would you suggest your school district address diversity issues for the most positive outcome?

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Jessica Hembree (N) Nonprofit Consultant

Biographical Information

Personal Biography I was born in Kansas City, Kan. and raised in Wichita, Kan. I am a fifth generation Kansan and settled in Overland Park eleven years ago. I am married to my high school sweetheart and the mother to three sons, ages 9, 6, and 2.
Campaign Phone (913) 229-6139
Campaign Email jessicaforsmsd@gmail.com
Campaign Web Site http://www.jessicaforsmsd.com
Education I attended Kansas State University where I received the Harry S Truman Scholarship, awarded annually to one Kansas college student with a demonstrated commitment to public service. Using these scholarship funds, I was able to earn my Master’s degree at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs.
Community/Public Service Education Advocacy Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2018 to 2019 Participant in inaugural cohort of parents and professionals co-learning about education policy. Tobacco Action Committee Chair, HealthyKC, 2013 to 2017 Collaborative effort raised the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 in 24 area communities. NextGen Leader, Kansas City Business Journal, 2016 Selected as one of 25 emerging leaders influencing KC. Health Equity Champion, Black Health Care Coalition, 2016 Awarded annually to someone who has advanced the health of KC’s African-American residents. Drug and Alcoholism Council of Johnson County, 2015 to 2017 Reviews and approves funding from the Johnson County, KS Special Alcohol Tax Fund. Centurions Leadership Program, KC Chamber, 2011 to 2013 Two-year program focused on service, leadership, and continual education. Emerging Leader in Health Philanthropy, Grantmakers in Health, 2014 Nominated and selected for professional development institute of national association.
Address Jessica Hembree 9625 Linden St Overland Park, KS 66207
Web Site www.jessicaforsmsd.com
CampaignPhone 913-229-6139
Champaign Phone 913-229-6139

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

If elected to the school board, I will work to ensure the long-term success of our district by focusing on: whole child outcomes, including academic achievement and social-emotional well being; supporting teachers; and working to embrace our district’s growing diversity and ensuring we achieve strong outcomes for every student. These are the fundamental ingredients of an excellent educational experience. I’m concerned that over the last few years, we have strayed from these basics. I hope to keep my focus on the student experience in the classroom which is, ultimately, the most important predictor of student outcomes.

What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

I spent the last eleven years at a local health foundation as their policy director. In this role, I managed multiple children's health efforts, one of which was about school-based behavioral health. This piqued my interest in the intersection of health and education and I completed a nine-month Education Policy Fellowship, which ended May 2019. Having developed a deeper body of expertise around education policy and a passion for advancing educational equity, I am eager to put my knowledge and skills into action to advance educational success in my community. I have three children, ages 9, 6, and 2, so I am invested in our schools. I have a track record of advocating on behalf of children, having previously worked at the Children’s Defense Fund and the National League of Cities’ Institute of Youth, Education and Families. Children don’t have votes and they rely on adults to put their interests first. That’s what I intend to do as a School Board Member.

How would you suggest your school district address diversity issues for the most positive outcome?

Racial and ethnic disparities exist in the Shawnee Mission School District. All students deserve a quality education and it would be my priority to ensure that all students, regardless of race, gender, country of origin, or special education status, receive the education that they deserve.

The first step to addressing these disparities is to develop and use a robust tracking system to better understand these disparities as they manifest in the Shawnee Mission School District, both at the district level and school-by-school. Ensuring educational equity for all SMSD students is complex and requires an array of strategies, including:

Representation: Teachers of color are underrepresented in SMSD. Having same-race teachers for students of color has significant impacts on educational outcomes.

Culturally Responsive Environments: We have an obligation to provide culturally responsive school environments, which will in turn attract diverse teachers to our community.