Lawrence school board’s current leader files for reelection; former special education teacher also joins the race

photo by: Journal-World

Lawrence Public Schools district offices pictured in April 2021.

The Lawrence school board’s current leader has filed for reelection, and a former special education teacher for the district has also entered the school board race.

Board President Kelly Jones and Andrew Nussbaum, who recently resigned from his teaching position in the district, both filed this week, bringing the total number of candidates in the race to seven.

Jones, 48, was originally elected to the board in 2017 and has been serving as the board’s leader since July 2020. Her seat is one of three up for election this fall.

She told the Journal-World on Friday that she is seeking reelection because she is still focused on improving equity in the district. She said she also believes the district needs an experienced board member to help it recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

photo by: Contributed photo

Kelly Jones

During the pandemic, Jones said she saw innovation and collaboration that positioned the district for community partnerships that would improve education in Lawrence.

“That’s the kind of critical foundational work that inspires me to run again,” she said in an email.

Jones has two children; one is currently a student at Lawrence High School, and another has already graduated from the district. She works as the field education director for the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare.

Until recently, Nussbaum, 38, worked as a special education teacher for the district’s secondary therapeutic classroom. His resignation was approved by the school board on Monday and became effective on Friday, according to a personnel report.

Nussbaum told the Journal-World Friday he resigned from the position so he could run for the school board. While teachers may serve on school boards, state law prohibits them from serving on the board for the district they teach in. He said he does not have a new job lined up yet, but that he would like to work in community advocacy.

photo by: Contributed photo

Andrew Nussbaum

Nussbaum, who is a foster parent of two recent graduates of the school district, said that he would be focused on equity issues if he’s elected. He’s particularly interested in problems that affect students of color.

“(I want to be) an advocate for all of the young people who have been pushed out, displaced, harmed or tokenized,” he said.

He said he also wanted to push for better conditions for district staff and support the district’s paraprofessionals and other staff who recently unionized.

Three seats on the seven-member school board are up for election this fall. Along with Jones and Nussbaum, incumbent candidate G.R. Gordon-Ross and four newcomers — Melissa Clissold, Douglas Redding, Travis Tozer and Nate Morsches — have also filed to run.

The filing deadline for the election is noon June 1. The general election is Nov. 2. Deputy County Clerk R.J. Wilson said a primary election would be necessary only if 10 candidates filed to run.

Related coverage:

• May 27, 2021 — Fifth candidate files to run for Lawrence school board; RPG owner says he’s passionate about education options, mental health issues

• May 24, 2021 — 3 newcomers file to run for Lawrence school board election

• April 6, 2021 — Ronald ‘G.R.’ Gordon-Ross files to run for reelection to Lawrence school board

Contact Dylan Lysen

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