Pastor and Public Health Board member Kevin Coronado files for election to Lawrence school board
photo by: contributed
Lawrence pastor and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Board member Kevin Coronado has filed for election to the Lawrence school board.
Coronado is the pastor at Revive Church, a former member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Equity Advisory Board and a current member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Board. Coronado, who moved with his family to Lawrence in 2019, said he wanted to get involved and make the public schools the best they can be, not just for his kids but for all students.
“It is a great experience so far, and they’ve loved all their teachers and all their classrooms, thankfully,” Coronado said. “But I know it could be even better.”
Coronado and his wife have four kids, the youngest a year old, and the oldest three all attend Lawrence public schools. His children attend the Kennedy Early Childhood Center and Cordley Elementary. Coronado, who was born in Guatemala and grew up in Texas, has his bachelor’s degree in international business and is currently working on his master’s degree in divinity from an online program at a seminary school in Texas.
Coronado said he believes the district needs to have student-centered classrooms, where every student gets the support that they need to thrive, especially students of color, Indigenous students, special education students, low-income students and LGBTQ+ students. He said parents should be welcome and respected partners in their student’s education, and students should be supported to do the activities that “make them feel human,” including art, music, physical education and academic subjects they are especially interested in.
“I believe that public schools across the state are losing students and teachers and staff, and we can see that here in Lawrence,” Coronado said. “And so we need to transform our schools into spaces that are nurturing the fullness, that are nurturing the complexity of every single student and family.”
Coronado said he wants Lawrence public schools to be a place where students of color are encouraged to thrive, which would take active efforts.
“Because of the historical and the current structure of white supremacy in the U.S., school staff and students need to be actively anti-racist in school curriculum and culture,” he said.
Regarding the district’s budget, Coronado said he thought there needs to be a fight from the local level on up to fix the state funding formula so that schools and students receive the money they deserve. He also said he really believes school board members are the representatives of the communities who elect them, so they should be accountable to students, parents, staff and the community and lift up those voices to make the district the best it can be.
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. So far, Cadue-Blackwood is the only incumbent to file for reelection. In addition to Coronado, newcomers Rachel Stumblingbear, Anne Costello, Yolanda Franklin, Ariel Miner and Edward (E.J.) Gonzales have filed for election.
In addition, Justine Burton has filed specifically for the vacated seat of former school board member Andrew Nussbaum, who resigned in 2022, less than seven months after being sworn in. The school board appointed GR Gordon-Ross to fill Nussbaum’s seat 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. Burton is the only candidate who has filed for that two-year term so far. She has also filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.
On Friday afternoon, school board member Kay Emerson, one of three school board members to vote against recent school closures, announced she was resigning her seat to pursue an opportunity in another community.
The filing deadline for the Lawrence school board race is noon on June 1. Candidates will have an Aug. 1 primary, if needed, and the general election will be on Nov. 7. Primaries will be scheduled only if the number of candidates who file is more than three times the number of open seats.