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USD 512 Shawnee Mission District 2 BOE

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  • Zach Roberts

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    Mary Sinclair

Biographical Information

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

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

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

With the recent pandemic, what technology or innovative changes do you envision for the district?

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Personal Biography My family include ten SMSD alumni, including me and my kids. I am a longtime advocate of public education. I have Ph.D. and Master’s in education and was part of a Research I team for 15 years focused on dropout prevention. I taught graduate courses in educational research at KU and UMKC. I currently serve as the School Board Vice President and member of the Governor’s Council on Education. I volunteer with the district’s MVP program and active with the Kansas PTA and Game On for Kansas Schools.
Campaign Phone (913) 515-3126
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Education Ph.D. Special Education - University of Minnesota, Master's in Education - Harvard University, Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Georgetown University
Community/Public Service Governor's Council on Education - member, Kansas PTA - advocacy team, Game on for Kansas Schools - leadership team, School Board Vice President - Shawnee Mission School District, MVP Volunteer - Shawnee Mission School District, Kansas Association of School Boards - Legislative Committee Representative
As an advocate for public education and school board member, my top three education policy issues begin with the state's school finance formula. I encourage the legislature to remain committed to the Gannon school finance agreement. Multi-year state funding, along with adequacy, is restoring critical capacity to local districts including the assurance to plan for more than one year ahead. Secondly, equitable opportunity for every child to become college and career ready depends on keeping public dollars directed to public education. Public schools accept and serve all students. Private schools accept only those they choose and can drop students who fail to perform. Third, full funding for IDEA and special education services at the federal and state level could secure resources for students with disabilities and allow districts to re-allocate operational funds towards other needs such as mental health, at-risk learners, preK and real world learning opportunities for all students.
My family and I have been a part of Shawnee Mission since the 1970s. I have expertise in educational research at a Research I university and an informed understanding of legislative policy, district budgets and school finance. I bring an academic perspective to the school board, with a Ph.D. in Special Education. As a principal investigator, I managed federal and state research grants, oversaw budgets, daily operations and published in peer reviewed journals. I taught graduate courses in educational research as adjunct faculty at KU and UMKC. As an active member of non-partisan grassroot groups like the Kansas PTA and Game On for Kansas Schools, I have been advocating for adequate school funding and pro-public education policies for nearly two decades. I help to inform, alert and testify on policies that impact district budgets, equitable access, graduation requirements, and such. I currently serve on the Governor’s Council on Education and volunteer with the district’s MVP program.
SMSD approved a Strategic Plan in June 2019 that embeds diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at its core. These values begin with the Strategic Plan Belief and Mission statements and are encompassed in all five Strategies – see The plan, which has become a living document, is driven toward three inter-related outcomes: every student will be college and career ready, with the needed interpersonal skills, developed through a student-driven personalized learning plan. Multiple components of the plan have been put in motion in the 2 years since its adoption and include: Deep Equity training, hiring DEI and Professional Development Coordinators, passing non-discrimination/school mascots policies, forming SMSD Recruit, revising the discipline code, Kauffman Equity Cohort, Panorama climate survey, posting open leadership positions, interactive dashboards. Progress will take time and persistent, intentional efforts will get us there.
The primary driver of SMSD progress and momentum is the district’s Strategic Plan. While the global pandemic slowed the pace on implementation of some strategies, it also accelerated other aspects of district work. The pandemic, for example, demanded a new level of reliance on remote learning and digital devices, which resulted in a new level of technical competencies among staff and student. The circumstances also accelerated the purchase of several new software tools to improve home-school communication around student assignments, attendance and grades. In addition, the pandemic prioritized expenditures on air quality improvements that are potentially sustainable. The high schools are continuing with the four-day block schedule, given feedback from last year. The use of WebEx/Zoom meeting format is now just one more tool in the box that school staff can use comfortably for cross building meetings and such to minimize time spent in travel. The lessons learned continue to emerge.