Beyond the mayoral race: A look at who’s running for school boards in the metro

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For eight years, Mayor Sly James has served the city of Kansas City, and for the past few months, 11 people have been vying for your attention to take over his position in June.

With primaries less than a week away, many Kansas Citians may be having trouble figuring out who to pick for their initial vote.

But beyond that, did you know there are a number of metro school board seats up for grabs? Some may be looking at their ballots not knowing who any of these people are — and maybe even leaving it blank.

It’s a lot, and if you know everyone you plan to vote for, you’ve definitely done your research.

Public affairs consultant Jason Grill said voter fatigue is real, and he believes citywide elections create more change than who you’re sending to Washington D.C. or Jefferson City.

“City council, mayors, they get most of the stuff done in our country right now in terms of impacting your life,” Grill said. “More than what happens at the state level, more than what happens in congress right now, so it’s kind of important.”

Some school board seats may only have one candidate running unopposed, but others have up to eight candidates vying for one seat. We’re focusing on seats and positions where there’s opposition to help you make your decision.

School District of Kansas City, Missouri Sub-District One, term expires 2021

Rita Marie Corte

Rita Marie Cortes

Matthew Oates

Matthew Steven Oates

  • Current KCPS board director and treasurer
  • Electrical engineer with Burns & McDonnell
  • Focus on: Academic achievement, fiscal responsibility
  • Website

School District of Kansas City, Missouri Sub-District Five, term expires 2021

Mark Wasserstrom

Mark Wasserstrom

  • Lawyer in his private practice
  • Focus on: Education in the Southwest Corridor
  • No website information

D. Jensen (Adams)

D. Jensen (Adams)

  • Former senior facility manager with KCPS
  • Inclusive education, maintaining accreditation
  • Website

Hickman Mills C-1 School District, three year term (vote for two)

John Carmichael

John Charles Charmichael

  • Professor Emeritus of Music Education at University of South Florida's School of Music
  • Focus on: Elevation of performance and expectation, stabilize and increase enrollment
  • No website information

Tramise Carter

Tramise Carter

  • Parent of second-grader at Ingles Elementary
  • Focus on: Maintaining accreditation, salary increases for teachers
  • No website information

Cecil Elliot Wattree

  • Works as a social worker
  • Focus on: Staffing, fiscal responsibility, attendance, racial equality, family engagement
  • Website

Regina A. Landry

  • No information available

Hickman Mills C-1 School District, one year term

Luther Chandler

Luther Chandler

Richard Abram

Richard Abram II

  • Behavioral interventionist with Raytown Schools
  • Focus on: Academics, achievement, advocacy
  • Website

Raytown Consolidated School District, three year term (vote for two)

Bobbie Saulsberry

Bobbie Saulsberry

Lashonda Orkes

Lashonda Orkes

  • Served as PTA Council President
  • Focus on: High quality education, college preparedness, safety
  • Website

Rick Thode

Rick Thode

  • Certified public accountant
  • No website information

Grandview Consolidated School District, three year term (vote for two)

Don Kessinger

Don Kessinger

  • Lifelong Grandview resident
  • Focus on: Letting kids be kids while getting a strong education
  • Website

Dawn Foy

Dawn Foy

  • Teacher for Grandview for more than 20 years
  • Focus on: Working with the board to give the best education to students
  • No website information

Amy Blankenship

Amy Blankenship

  • Grandview resident for almost 20 years
  • Focus on: Continuing progressive momentum for the school board

Tyrone Watson

Tyrone A. Watson-Ferguson

  • No information available

Center School District No. 58, one year term

Stephen Stricklin

Stephen G. Stricklin

  • Current  director in the Center School board
  • Focus on: The ability for all students to succeed, extra-curricular activities
  • No website information

Johnathan Decker

  • Current masters student in accounting at UMKC
  • Focus on: Student achievement, fiscal responsibility, community engagement
  • No website information

Danielle Charise Quinn

  • Active PTA Member
  • Focus on: Policies to help shape students success, a fresh voice on the board
  • No website information

Center School District No. 58, three year term (vote for two)

Ronald Fritz

Ronald Fritz

  • Retired teacher of nearly 40 years in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas
  • Focus on: Relevant, rigorous education in a safe environment
  • Website

Beverly Cunningham

  • Current director on Center school board
  • Focus on: Quality education, supporting teachers
  • No website information

Cecelia M. Ball

Cecelia M. Ball

  • Current director on Center school board
  • Focus on: Academic achievement and engagement
  • No website information

Sam Cook

Sam Cook

  • Area Director with Code Ninjas
  • Focus on: Lifelong learning, investment protection, STEM
  • Website

Lee's Summit Reorganized District No. 7, three year term (vote for two)

Michael McMenus

  • Sr. process specialist, water technology with Kiewit Power Engineers
  • Focus on: School expansion, longer school days
  • Website

Michael Allen

Michael D. Allen

  • Registered representative with John Hancock Financial Network
  • Focus on: Class sizes, fiscal responsibility
  • No website information

Paul Dornon

Paul Dornon

  • Works in sales & management with Sears
  • Focus on: Best interest for students, forward thinking and future growth
  • No website information

Billy Wayne "Bill" Birmingham Jr.

  • Mentor, engineer, coach
  • Focus on: Higher achievement, hiring and maintaining educators
  • Website

Amy Turgon

Amy Turgon

  • Accountant with C&H Healthcare
  • Focus on: Fiscal responsibility, vision and innovation for the district
  • No website information

Donald R. Olson, Jr.

  • No information available

Judith "Judy" C. Hendrick

  • No information available

Kathy Campbell

Katheryn "Kathy" Campbell

  • Sr. project manager with Cerner
  • Working together with the community, focus on the future and create a plan
  • Website
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