A current pastor and former teacher who spoke of rebuilding trust between school officials and the community.
A civil rights attorney who has walked to Topeka to advocate for Kansas schools.
A candidate with connections to education advocates and policymakers from serving as a legislative liaison for state and local PTAs.
Shawnee Mission voters sent a strong message at the polls on Tuesday night, overwhelmingly voting out the race’s only incumbent and electing three first-time candidates who have promised a new direction for the school district as it seeks a new superintendent.
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In the Shawnee Mission West race, pastor and former Olathe Schools teacher Laura Guy, took 60 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent Craig Denny.
Civil rights attorney and education advocate Heather Ousley defeated attorney Mandi Hunter with a 66 percent of the vote for an at-large seat.
Mary Sinclair, of the Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA and Kansas PTA, overpowered retired environmental science teacher James Lockard with 77 percent of the vote in the Shawnee Mission East race.
“I think (voters) are ready for new leadership and some new ideas and new decisions,” Guy said, shortly before receiving the final results Tuesday evening.
Concerns about changing curriculum, overworked staff and stagnant teacher pay coupled with former superintendent Jim Hinson’s retirement this June fueled competitive races this year in a district where uncontested elections are not out-of-the ordinary.
In August, Ousley and Hunter pushed longtime school board member Cindy Neighbor, who was first elected to the board in 1997, out of the running.
Donna Bysfield, who never faced an opponent during her 24 years representing Shawnee Mission East, did not run for reelection this year. Denny, who has been challenged only once before in 2005, will conclude his fifth term this year.
Guy said she felt that finding a superintendent that can address the district’s changing needs was foremost on voters’ minds.
“That person is key on setting the course for the district,” she said. “A new fresh course that’s going to be more collaborative, that will get teachers on board and get people working together instead of at odds.”
Here are winners from other school board races in Johnson and Wyandotte County:
Blue Valley: Michele Benjamin, Stacy Obringer-Varhall, Mike Seitz
De Soto: Rachele M. Zade, John Gaignat, Danielle Heikes
Gardner Edgerton: Lana Sutton, Rob Shippy, Shawn Carlisle
Olathe: Brent A. McCune, Amy Martin, Brian Geary
Spring Hill: Jason Christopher Winbolt, Sharon K. Mitchell, Eric Boyle
Kansas City, Kansas: Stacy Yeager, Maxine Drew, Wanda Brownlee Paige, Harold Brown, Janey Humphries