Dr. Valdenia C. Winn (Persley) is a member of USD 500 Board of Education, the 34th District Kansas State House of Representative, a Kansas City Kansas Community College history professor and a community volunteer.
In April 2015, Dr. Winn was elected to the USD 500 Board of Education, Kansas City, Kansas for a four-year term. Dr. Winn works tirelessly to promote, support and strengthen K-12 education for all students. Furthermore, she is also committed to helping the Administration, faculty and staff navigate the Kansas School finance formula.
Since earning her PhD in History and International Relations from the University of Kansas in 1993, Dr. Winn has been involved in the Greater Kansas City community serving on numerous community neighborhood associations and until recently coordinated an after-school computer/tutorial lab for K-12 students residing in northeast Kansas City, Kansas. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus.
Dr. Winn has been a Professor of history at Kansas City Kansas Community College for over four decades. Her specialty is Twentieth-Century United States History and African American History.
In 1999, she received the prestigious Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Study Abroad Award sponsored by the United States Department of Education. As director of 16 secondary education/university faculty, she led the curriculum development team as they conducted research for six weeks at the universities in Dakar, Senegal and St. Louis, Senegal (West Africa). Upon return to Kansas City, each member presented workshops throughout the Kansas City metro area and developed curriculum that infused concepts of West African history and culture into the core curriculum in their respective disciplines.
Currently, Representative Winn is completing her 10th term in the Kansas House of Representatives, serving the citizens of the 34th District, Kansas City, Kansas. Rep. Winn serves as Assistant Minority Leader of the House Democrats, the Ranking Democrat on K-12 Education Budget Committee, a member of the Capital Preservation Committee; and a member of the Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. One of her legislative successes was securing the passage of SB 54. SB 54 (2011 session) commissioned a mural commemorating Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al. for the walls of the newly remodeled Kansas State Capital. The House leadership objected, and the bill was stalled. It was only because of Rep. Winn’s tenacity and knowledge of House rules that SB 54 passed the House and was later signed into law. When appointed as chairperson of the Capital Preservation Committee by then Governor Mark Parkinson, Rep. Winn became the first African American female member of the Minority Party (Democrat) to serve as chairperson of a Legislative Committee. While no longer the chairperson, Rep. Winn still serves as a member of the Capital Preservation Committee. Since May 2018 the mural commemorating Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, et al is showcased on the 3rd floor of the Kansas State Capital.
In 2017, Rep. Winn, along with a fellow representative, designed curriculum for a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Summer Seminar, held at Washburn University. Focused on “teaching the trainer,” 2019 marked the second year that the Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Seminar was offered to K-12 teachers of Kansas. The Seminar is sanctioned by the Kansas State Board of Education as well as the Kansas State Department of Education. Upon completion of the seminar the participants will be certified to facilitate training of other K-12 teachers in culturally relevant pedagogy.
In her spare time, Valdenia and her husband Keith Persley enjoy sporting events and traveling throughout the United States and internationally.