Lawrence school board member Kay Emerson announces plans to resign seat

photo by: Contributed photo

Kay Emerson

Lawrence school board member Kay Emerson has announced that she plans to resign her seat on the governing body.

Emerson made the announcement on her Facebook page Friday afternoon. Emerson, who is originally from Topeka but has lived in Lawrence since she moved here to attend the University of Kansas in 2004, wrote that she has chosen to “move on towards a new journey, a new opportunity, and a new community to call home.”

Emerson’s term began in 2022 and was scheduled to run through 2025. A newcomer in the November 2021 election, she took the top spot of the three candidates elected. Emerson was one of three school board members — along with Carole Cadue-Blackwood and Past President Erica Hill — to vote against the recently approved closures of Pinckney and Broken Arrow elementary schools. Those schools ceased operating at the end of this school year, which concluded Wednesday.

Emerson noted the recent closures in her brief announcement, saying she had chosen to move on as “amazing educators say farewell and two of our beloved school communities separate.” She thanked the Lawrence community and spoke to her time on the board.

“Lawrence, I want to say thank you for this time we had together,” Emerson wrote. “I believe that it was not wasted but a time which will guide us all in the future. As we go forward, start with kindness. Include diverse thoughts and give space for coexistence and opportunity for connectedness.”

She also urged the community to get involved and vote in the upcoming election.

“It does not matter how much or for how long,” she wrote. “It only matters what we do with our actions. It was and will always be an honor to serve this community. Lawrence USD 497 Public Schools future is in your hands. Choose wisely and vote.”

According to an email from the Lawrence school district on Friday, a special school board meeting regarding the resignation will be held on Wednesday, May 31.

Emerson will be the second school board member to resign in the past year. Lawrence school board member Andrew Nussbaum announced his resignation from the school board on July 18, 2022, effective immediately, following a decision to move out of state. The school board appointed GR Gordon-Ross to fill the seat that Nussbaum vacated through the end of this year, triggering a special election as part of the November 2023 general election to determine who should hold the seat through January 2026.

In addition to the special election to fill Nussbaum’s old seat, the terms of school board President Shannon Kimball, Vice President Paula Vann, Hill and Cadue-Blackwood will expire at the end of this year. So far, Cadue-Blackwood is the only incumbent to file for reelection.


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