Kansas City school board has another write-in candidate

Natalie Lewis
Natalie Lewis

The list of write-in candidates for the Kansas City school board is growing.

On Wednesday, Kansas City businesswoman Natalie Lewis tossed her name into the election arena. She is seeking the Subdistrict 1 seat on the school board.

That seat is currently held by board president Jon Hile, who is not seeking re-election.

Subdistrict 1 includes most of downtown, the Crossroads area, midtown Kansas City and north Brookside down to 55th Street over to State Line Road. It is the third most populous in the public school system.

Lewis is the second to announce a write-in candidacy in the April 5 school board election. John Fierro, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Mattie Rhodes Center, on Monday announced he would run as a write-in candidate for the Subdistrict 3 seat.

Only one person met the Jan. 19 filing deadline for the election. Jennifer Wolfsie will fill Airick Leonard West’s at-large seat, since he is not running again.

Wolfsie, a parent leader in the district, was the only candidate to obtain enough qualified signatures. She is unopposed.

Neither Bryan Dial, who filed for the Subdistrict 5 seat, nor Jessica Piedra, who filed for the Subdistrict 3 seat, collected the 250 qualified signatures to appear on the ballot. But they could seek those seats as write-in candidates.

Until Lewis, no one had taken a shot at the seat for Subdistrict 1.

“There is a special place in my heart for the students and parents of the Kansas City Public School District,” Lewis said in a statement.

A former educator who worked in the school district for 12 years, Lewis said she decided to run after learning there were three school board seats with no one on the ballot.

Lewis has taught at Southeast Middle School and Derrick Thomas Academy. She has held management positions at Sprint and Hallmark and most recently a seven-year assignment at the Kauffman Foundation working with Kansas City public school parents, students and community partners to prepare first-generation college students for college and career readiness.

Kansas City Public Schools has a nine-member board. Three subdistrict seats and one at-large seat come up for election in the spring. The five other seats — Subdistricts 2, 4 and 6 and two at-large, will come up for election in 2019.

Whoever ends up in the three-year term on the board will be working with a new superintendent. The current board has picked Mark Bedell, an assistant superintendent with Baltimore County schools, as its preferred candidate for superintendent.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc