Foundation manager, advocate for health equity files for Lawrence school board

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo

The Lawrence Board of Education meeting room at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive, is pictured in this file photo from Feb. 25, 2019.

A local proponent of equity in the field of health care has filed to run for the Lawrence school board.

Erica Hill, 39, is finance and operations manager for the LMH Health Foundation and health equity advocate with LMH Health. She said she wants to address district issues and policies through a lens of equity and to ensure successful implementation of the district’s strategic plan. She also said she wants to help build a healthy community through collaboration.

Hill, originally from Hutchinson, first came to Lawrence to get her undergraduate degree in human biology from the University of Kansas, and she returned in 2012. She got her master’s in health care leadership from Friends University.

photo by: Contributed Photo

Erica Hill

Hill lives with her husband, Jeffrey Skar, their 17-month-old daughter and her 14-year-old son. Skar also has a son, 20, and daughter, 24.

Running for school board is “a great opportunity to really invest in the youth of our community,” Hill said. It’s also a personal investment for her, as her son is about to enter high school, she said.

Hill noted that she wouldn’t be a “single-issue board member,” but her main concerns would be narrowing the district’s achievement gap, improving graduation rates and ensuring that the district’s first five-year strategic plan, which is currently in progress, is implemented successfully.

“I want to have more of a broad approach, but the achievement gap specifically is something that I have an interest in,” she said.

Hill said she believes her experience in various community leadership positions will be beneficial to the district and the board. Her role with LMH Health’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity strategic plan leadership team focuses specifically on community partnerships and health equity.

Hill is also a member of the District Equity Leadership Team Advisory, or DELTA. She has been a member of PASS, or Partnership for Academically Successful Students, and Parents of Color at West Middle School.

She said she was “very fortunate and excited” to be invited in February to a half-day design team meeting, where she and various district stakeholders helped to determine long-term priority student outcomes and themes for the district’s strategic plan.

Hill is also the creator and program director of LMH Health’s Summer Leadership Academy, a partnership with Lawrence Public Schools. The program, which prioritizes applicants of color and those from low-income families, this summer will allow three rising seniors from Lawrence high schools to shadow senior management at the hospital and receive professional development training, as the Journal-World reported this week.

Collaboration is Hill’s main approach, she said.

“There’s a need there, and addressing this issue, it’s not just the school district’s problem,” Hill said. “It takes everyone. We’re all in this together.”

Four at-large positions on the Lawrence school board are up for election this year, and a primary will only be necessary if more than 12 candidates file. The deadline to file or withdraw from the race is noon Monday, June 3.

The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 5. Advance voting will start Wednesday, Oct. 16, and the last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Lawrence Board of Education 2019 candidates

• Carole Cadue-Blackwood — May 23, 2019: Woman behind campaign to change Lawrence middle school’s name files for school board

• Shannon Kimball — May 24, 2019: Lawrence school board member with background in education law files for reelection

• Thea Perry — May 26, 2019: Advocate for education, equity files for Lawrence school board

• Paula Smith — May 31, 2019: Community engagement director files for Lawrence school board

• Erica Hill — June 2, 2019: Foundation manager, advocate for health equity files for Lawrence school board

Contact Mackenzie Clark

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact schools, health and county reporter Mackenzie Clark:

  • • 785-832-7198
  • Facebook/Facebook messenger: mclarkljw
  • Twitter: @mclark_ljw

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