Lawrence school board member with background in education law files for reelection

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.

Shannon Kimball is seeking her third term as a member of the Lawrence school board — an office she’d like to hold alongside her upcoming role as president of the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Kimball began her first term in July 2011. She said some of her proudest accomplishments as a member of the Lawrence school board include the “transformation” of the district’s facilities into ones that will meet educators’ and students’ 21st-century needs; creating and implementing a districtwide strategic plan; and managing the search process that led to hiring Superintendent Anthony Lewis.

Originally from the small town of Atwood in northwestern Kansas, Kimball, 45, first came to Lawrence in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree — a double major in Spanish and political science from the University of Kansas. She went on to law school at the University of Michigan.

photo by: Contributed photo

Shannon Kimball

Kimball said she knew she wanted to focus on education law-related issues in her practice, and she found that opportunity at a firm in Atlanta. She later held a job that offered “a mix of law and policy working with public schools” at the Georgia Department of Education, she said.

That experience has been beneficial as a school board member, Kimball said.

“The work that I did policywise really touched on the whole range of issues that relate to public school — school finance, facilities, curriculum and instruction, special education,” she said.

She returned to Lawrence in 2008 with her family, which now includes her husband, Dr. Jason Kimball, and their two sons and a daughter.

Her first school board term came shortly after she served a roughly eight-month stint on a special elementary school facilities taskforce for the district, starting in 2010.

Kimball said some of the key issues facing the board are goals that the community has articulated through the district’s ongoing strategic planning process related to staffing, class sizes, issues of equity, and gaps in data on achievement and discipline for some district students of color. She said it will take strategic, creative thinking to handle those challenges with the resources available.

“We need experienced voices around the table to help us make progress on those issues,” Kimball said.

Her term as president of KASB will start July 1.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to both share about our school district and also learn best practices from other districts and be able to bring that knowledge and experience back to Lawrence, and use that to help us improve our own policies and practices,” Kimball said.

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:

  • mclark@ljworld.com
  • • 785-832-7198
  • Facebook/Facebook messenger: mclarkljw
  • Twitter: @mclark_ljw
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