Archive for Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New face in town diving in to school board race

March 18, 2009


Vanessa Sanburn

Age: 27 Address: 765 Ash Street Family: husband, Jake Lowen; daughter, Nadia, 6, is in kindergarten at Woodlawn School Occupation: graduate student in social work at Kansas University

One of the main reasons Vanessa Sanburn, her husband, Jake Lowen, and 6 year old daughter, Nadia, chose to move to Lawrence this summer from Wichita was the Lawrence public school system.

“The most compelling reason we had for moving up here to Lawrence was the caliber of ... public schools that they had,” Sanburn said. “The schools there weren’t good enough for us.”

Upon the family’s arrival to Lawrence, Nadia began kindergarten at Woodlawn School and Sanburn enrolled in the social work program at Kansas University part time to get her master’s degree.

“I’m really enjoying that program and she’s (Nadia) really enjoying her program,” Sanburn said.

Even though she is new to town, sitting on a school board is something she knew she wanted to do.

“It has always been a goal of mine,” Sanburn said.

And Nadia thinks her mom would be a great school board member.

“She’s very smart,” she said. “And pretty.”

Plus, Sanburn said once she has set a goal, she gets 100 percent involved.

“I’m extremely committed,” she said. “When I set my sights on something, I want to learn the ins and outs of all situations before I make a decision.”

“I’m hopeful”

Sanburn knows that budget woes are upon the school district, but she was optimistic that federal dollars would help ease the pain before the state said they would hold funding flat for the next two school years.

“I’m hopeful that we aren’t going to have to cut programs like they were anticipating,” Sanburn said.

But she wants to ensure the education for her daughter and all students is protected first and foremost.

“I want to make sure that if cuts are necessary, we don’t make cuts that affect academic achievement of any students.”

Sanburn also want to hear from parents, teachers and others involved in the education process

“(I want to) get great input from the public and great input from the teachers and the stakeholders and the people that know what programs their students need or what programs their children need in order to make the best possible decisions.”

Sanburn feels confident the district can use the money from the federal stimulus plan dollars to keep the schools at the level they are now.

“I’m hopeful that we can use that money wisely, as well as figure out other ways of making good decisions to where we don’t have a huge economic crisis with the funding of our schools,” she said.

Other issues

Sanburn spent two years as a health educator for Planned Parenthood in Wichita and sexual education is something she wants to broach with the board and the district as soon as possible.

“Currently, there is not a real clear guideline in the district for how to approach human sexuality and reproductive education,” Sanburn said. “That’s one issue that I’m interested in working on right away on getting good, clear guidelines on how educators need to approach that subject.”

During her time as a health educator, Sanburn said she was made aware of the “crisis that we currently have with sexuality education.”

Plus, her former job and current studies can help bring insight to the discussion of the topic.

“I feel like I have a whole lot to bring to the table,” Sanburn said. “That’s something I’m also doing a lot of research on.”

As a school board member, she is ready to have her ears open to parents and Lawrence residents.

“I’m very interested in knowing what solutions people have and what problems people are having that we need to work on,” Sanburn said. “I want to hear from the public.”


ksb 9 years, 1 month ago

She was very eloquent at the forum this evening.

mickey1454 9 years, 1 month ago

"Planned Parenthood" teacher = Pro Choice/Pro Abortion. That's enough to make up MY mind! No thanks. Who's next?

urthatguy66044 9 years, 1 month ago

How are you gonna title the article "new face in town" and not actually have a picture...? Who does the final editing on these articles, cause they should receive at least 3 lashings for the annoyance factor...

Other than that, welcome to Lawrence!!!

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

“Planned Parenthood” teacher = Pro Choice.

That's also helps me to make up my mind. She has my vote. Thankfully there are many more people in Lawrence that agree with me on this issue than mickey1454.

mickey1454, maybe you should move to Western Kansas. You'd fit right in out there.

LiberalDude 9 years, 1 month ago

“Planned Parenthood” teacher = Pro Choice.

That also helps me to make up my mind. She has my vote. Thankfully there are many more people in Lawrence that agree with me on this issue than mickey1454.

mickey1454, maybe you should move to Western Kansas. You'd fit right in out there.

pity2bu 9 years, 1 month ago

Oh no another bleeding heart social worker like we don't already have enough in this city...... Next Please.....

Matt Bowers 9 years, 1 month ago


Too many people don't even understand the basic principal behind Roe v. Wade. It has less to do with abortion and more to do a woman's right to her body. Up until 1973 a female was viewed as a possession of her husband or the state. Up until the 1960s the female anatomy wasn't even studied, they weren't considered for custody because the children were the possession of the father, men could not rape their wives, and so on. Try to keep in perspective that for only 36 years women have the right to their bodies. As far as pay and insurance coverage there is still a ways to go.

Save the judgment for Jesus, unless you want to die for our sins.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 1 month ago

I heard her speak at a coffee and she seemed articulate, informed and energetic. One of her concerns is to look at the food buying proceedures for the schools to see if they can use more local products and setting standards for heathier menus and snacks. Many school districts around the country are focusing on this to stem the growing tide of childhood obesity. You go girl!

freddyfrog87 9 years, 1 month ago


Unfortunately, the Supreme Court had to stretch it pretty far with a certain word that you cannot find anywhere in the writings (Federalist Papers) of the framers of the Constitution - penumbra - in Roe v. Wade. I'm not going to get involved with a bunch of flame commments. I am only speaking from a legal perspective. You are obviously going to offer the same old arguments and reasons for the decision. It comes down to one argument and that is the difference between true conservatives and true liberals. A conservative believes that the Constitution says what it says and believes that it was written for all times. If you want to change it the framers made it possible but difficult and that is the amendment ratification process. A liberal believes that it is a living document up to interpretation using such words as penumbra to make their determinations on what the Constitution REALLY meant. And, yes Jesus will be the final judge, but the Bible does tell us to judge our situations and determine right from wrong and using "penumbras" is a long way away from Jesus' intention in my view.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 1 month ago

nicely said Freddy.

she's too new to town. I don't trust people who move to town and immediately run for office. some who would support ms. sanburn opposed james bush on this point. how about consistancy?

and yes I agree with mickey. parenthood is just the other side of an abortion? the baby is either real or not.

vote for others.

ksb 9 years, 1 month ago

She's too new to serve the public? Local school board candidates don't get paid and aren't afforded a particularly extraordinary amount of power. Vote for the candidate(s) you think are best rather than letting misplaced paranoia make the decision for you.

twaldaisy 9 years, 1 month ago

Well I hope she is planning on helping the food service for schools to get more money to buy local and healthier foods. The food service dept is on a very tight budget and usually does not receive any of the monies earmarked for the school district.

Frank Smith 9 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence would be hard pressed to find a school board member who might be more committed to working to retain competent professionals in district schools. She understands the need for an effective mentoring process and continuity of staff. Wichita's loss is Lawrence's gain.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

This person is a practical thinker for which I am impressed.

She speaks deliberately and leaves nothing to your imagination. How refreshing. This person would be a healthy addition to USD 497 BOE.

Yes I will vote for Vanessa Sanburn

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