Lawrence caregiver Tierra Teske files to run for Lawrence school board
Lawrence caregiver Tierra Teske has filed to run for the Lawrence school board.
Teske, who is originally from Wamego, moved to Lawrence about five years ago to attend the University of Kansas. She said she’s known since about then that she wanted to run for office, and it’s her desire to help people that underpins that goal.
“I knew I wanted to run for office about four or five years ago,” Teske said. “My dream is to be an elected U.S. House representative, and so I see myself there already. But I always knew I wanted to help people.”
She said she originally thought she would help people through social work. Teske was a student in the social work program at KU, and said she still has a goal to take the two classes she needs to complete that degree. However, she said as she moved through that program, she realized she wanted to help on a bigger level, bringing the social work perspective of needing to understand individuals and their environments to the political realm.
“I learned that I wanted to do it more on a macro level,” she said. “And so, I took my journey and figured out that I want to bring social work into politics.”
Teske is currently a caregiver at GoodLife, which provides services for people with disabilities. She previously interned with Adult Protective Services at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, was an organizer for the Kansas Coordinated Campaign with the state Democratic party, and has volunteered with the Lawrence League of Women Voters, among other volunteering in her hometown.
Top issues that Teske said she’d like to address are helping the queer and transgender community and pushing for an Indigenous curriculum in the district. She said given recently passed laws regarding transgender people, she wants to work as an ally to protect trans students.
Teske said her partner is Native American, and she also wants to see Lawrence public schools teach a complete and accurate history of Native Americans and all oppressed people, as well as their current issues. She said she supports the district’s ongoing effort to develop an Indigenous curriculum.
“I am really passionate about teaching the full history of the Native Americans because so much of it has been completely erased and attempting to be erased,” Teske said.
Teske said she sees the school board as a way to begin her goal of bringing social work into politics.
“My goals are very clear and I will do whatever I need to do to protect the oppressed people and in general improve the schools for everyone,” she said.
The terms of school board President Shannon Kimball, Vice President Paula Vann, Past President Erica Hill and board member Carole Cadue-Blackwood will expire at the end of this year.
Teske filed to run specifically for a seat vacated by former school board member Andrew Nussbaum, who was elected in 2021 but resigned less than seven months into his term. The board appointed Ronald “G.R.” Gordon-Ross to fill Nussbaum’s seat through the end of this year. Along with Teske, Ariel Miner, Justine O. Burton and Kimball have filed for that seat as part of a special election. Because the number of candidates who filed is more than three times the number of open seats, there will be a primary on Aug. 1.
Nine candidates have filed for the four, four-year terms: Rachel Stumblingbear, Anne Costello, Yolanda Franklin, Cadue-Blackwood, Kevin Coronado, Edward (E.J.) Gonzales, Brandon Moore, Jody Meyer and Gordon-Ross. The general election will take place Nov. 7.