I am a Merriam resident, SMSD graduate and parent, active PTA member, lunch lady at Hocker Grove Middle School, and current candidate for the SM North Member 1 school board seat.
Graduate of SMSD, University of Kansas Graduate
SMSD certified district volunteer and active PTA member involved in chairing events, fundraising, serving on grant committees, and outreach.
9609 W 53rd St
Merriam, Ks 66203
Administrative Accountability, Valuing Community Voice, and Creating a Positive District Culture.
Serving our students to the best of our ability and preparing them to be informed and engaged community members must be a priority that our district expresses through its daily interactions with students, staff, and support community. I want to help SMSD operate to its fullest potential by directly addressing the needs of our students, empowering educators, parents, employees, and community members invested in students’ educational and developmental success, and holding district administration—especially the SMSD Board of Education—accountable to foster a collaborative, inclusive climate which supports, values, and respects the talents of staff, students, parents, and community members.
My history is rooted in a passion for advocacy, first in my career as a public benefits specialist, then as a parent representing my child’s educational needs, and most recently fighting for fairness for all Shawnee Mission students and district employees. As a former student and current district parent and employee, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with administrators to achieve goals around policy, curriculum, accountability, and respect for the rights of students and district employees. Navigating district systems can be a challenging process; I have personally experienced district successes and failures, often at the expense of the true spirit of education, but continue to move forward. Being part of the Hocker Grove Food Service team has been a privilege, reinforcing the importance of utilizing an asset-based approach. We have several dynamic variables affecting our work and work cooperatively to maximize our available resources to meet the needs of all students, every day.
The district first needs to clearly and specifically identify and articulate what those issues are. To-date, this has not been done. We need honest conversations, respectful interactions and productive collaboration to set, and achieve, measurable goals. These conversations must be inclusive, and the process must be transparent—something district leadership has struggled with in the recent past. The entire SMSD system, from administration to students, should participate in appropriate (role & age), effective learning activities which expand awareness and frame conversations around equity, inclusion, and cultural relevance —of which there are many versions, tailored to specific needs and facilitated by external groups who have deep knowledge and expertise in this field, e.g., National Equity Project, Pacific Educational Group, WestEd.
I am a SMSD graduate as well as a graduate of the University of Kansas. I have lived within the Shawnee Mission School District boundaries for over 50 years and in the North area attendance area for 29 years. My husband, Kelly and I have two sons – Kyle and Corey – who are both recent graduates of Shawnee Mission North.
Shawnee Mission South High School – Class of 1982
B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas – 1986
I have served on the SMSD Board of Education for over eight years, two-terms. I was elected Vice-President of the Board for two terms (2013-2015) and President of the Board for two terms (2015-2017). I have served as the SMAC liaison, an ex-officio member of SMEF for two years and a member of KASB Nominations Committee (2018-2019). Currently, I am a member of the Constituent Services Task Force as well as the chair of the Policy Review Committee. I also served on the policy committee previously during our 2014 comprehensive policy audit. Prior to the board, I served two different terms as Roesland Elementary PTA President (2004-2005 and 2008-2009). I served in leadership positions at both Indians Hills and Hocker Grove. I have been a member of the SMN Booster Club since 2007, serving as President from 2009-2016. I continue to volunteer for the Booster Club, organizing the annual golf tournament from 2007-2019. I served on the SMSD Middle Schools Facility Task Force in 2010 which resulted in the expansion and renovation of all five district middle schools. As for the community, I am a longtime board member of the Baptist Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation, currently serving as board chair. I have also volunteered for RMHC-KC for a number of different capacities, most notably organizing the Tons of Tabs program for schools. I also was a member of the City of Roeland Park’s Strategic Planning Committee in 2015.
1. Support of our new Strategic Plan - SMSD worked most of last school year on a new, five-year Strategic Plan, engaging students, staff and parents in the process and giving the board and district clear, concise direction for student learning for the next five years.
2. Student/Staff Wellness - mental health, physical health, vaping, smart phones, screen time, homelessness, nutrition, food insecurity, bullying, stress, social media, workload, etc.... all of these effect a student’s ability to learn and a teacher's ability to teach.
3. Experiential Learning - SMSD Signature programs continue to offer our students hands-on, experiential learning in specialized academic areas of interest and open doors to future career opportunity. I believe that experiential learning experiences are keys to making school real and relevant to learners and would welcome expansion of this program so that ALL of our students could have these experiences.
As the incumbent, I have eight years of experience on the school board so I possess a wealth of knowledge and history about the board, policy, the district and community. If the voters choose me to represent them, I will be the senior member of the board of education and can provide mentoring and advice to those newly elected to the board. I have proven leadership skills and have served in leadership roles in every organization I have been involved since college. And, I consider myself to be an independent, non-partisan, positive, and a proven consensus builder. I am well respected within the community and excited about the opportunity to continue to serve and represent our school district to the best of my ability. As a district graduate, life-long resident of JOCO and North area resident for 30+ years, I care deeply about this district, the students and families we serve.
I am pleased and have been supportive of our progress regarding diversity and inclusion, including the hiring of a new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as well as the board’s unanimous decision on hiring Corwin to administer district-wide “Deep Equity” diversity training as professional development for our administrators and staff. I am supportive of additional training opportunities for students, parents and community members if it could either be done “in-house” in a cost-effective manner or by an outside party. The new strategic plan includes many action steps under Strategy #2 that will be addressed in the months to come as well as progress towards goals included in the superintendent’s evaluation tool as well. Those include looking at calibrating consistency in data collection around student discipline, looking at adding inclusive language to current policy and district-wide, consistent administrative procedures for transgender students.
My wife and I moved to the Shawnee Mission North area almost 16 years ago, largely because of the high quality public schools. Since then we've had two children, a 3rd grader and a 5th grader, who both attend Crestview Elementary.
Blue Valley North High School
Johnson County Community College - professional certification in Law Enforcement (Johnson County Regional Police Academy, 74th Class)
University of Kansas
2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, I volunteered extensively in my children's classrooms. I became more interested in public education funding, or a lack thereof, when I saw firsthand how budget cuts negatively affected my childrens' classrooms. Subsequently, I was inspired to go to the Kansas Statehouse as a pro-public education lobbyist, to make arguments in support of public education and increasing funding for schools all across Kansas.
7315 w. 55th Pl.
Overland Park, KS 66202
Creating a sustainable lunch program for students in need - ensuring that students who come from families which are objectively low-income, but have too high an income to qualify for the Free/Reduce Lunch Program, can still eat a nutritious lunch and be available for learning all afternoon.
Closing the achievement gap - primarily, this is an issue of not having enough resources (support staff, teachers, etc.) getting to the classrooms. If properly supported, every student can achieve their own high expectations. Another part of this issue is making certain that SMSD is supporting students who don't come from families with an academic tradition, and preparing those students for the college admissions process.
Ensuring fair and effective discipline - based on the Propublica data for the district, it appears that SMSD needs cultural competency and other training. I was glad to see the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, but I want to see that office made independent.
Since 2014 I have been involved in local politics, helping to elect pro-public education Legislators to the statehouse. Informally, I was a citizen-lobbyist and became familiar with the issues and challenges that public education faces in Kansas. In 2016 I was formally appointed as the lobbyist for the pro-public education group Kansas Families for Education (KFE). I provided substantive testimony in support of public schools and against proposed bills that would have likely harmed educational outcomes in the state, including the special session in 2016 when I spoke against changes to the Kansas Constitution designed to neuter the Kansas Supreme Court's Constitutional checks and balances.
During those same years I began volunteering in my children's classrooms, and became well acquainted with challenges, and skills necessary, in modern classrooms. When I left my position as lobbyist at KFE, I found work as a classroom Aide in the Olathe School District, where I work today.
It is imperative that we adjust positively to our changing demographics and increasing diversity. The country is different today than it was twenty years ago, and so is SMSD. We need to change with the times, listen to parents, teachers, and students when they ask for new or additional supports, and "lean into" these changes with an eye to the best possible outcome. I want to see cultural competency training and empathy training, for all district employees. Additionally, we need to rigorously collect data about student achievement and disciplinary actions, and review our policies and actions on a constant and ongoing basis to work against unconscious bias.
Our growing diversity, both ethnically and socioeconomically, is the part that excites me the most about SMSD. I believe that if we embrace these changes and adjust accordingly, our students will be well prepared for the future.