How long have you served on your local school board and why did you decide to become a board member?
As of January 2020, I am starting my second four-year term on the Olathe School Board. I have been serving as vice president since July of 2019. When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we moved from Chicago, Illinois to Olathe, Kansas, and one of the main reasons was our admiration for the school district. I ran for school board as someone who felt the district did so many things well and I wanted to support the district as we help students prepare for their future.
What do you do outside of being a board member?
My wife, Jill, and I have three children in the school district and we spend much of our time with them and their activities. I also own an environmental consulting company, Solid Ground Environmental, which provides environmental consulting services to local and regional banks and developers.
What experiences or skills do you bring to the table that will help improve your local school district?
I love public policy and budgets. My favorite time of year is budget time as we get deep dives into our finances at the school district. Politics is a passion of mine and I follow events in Topeka and Washington D.C. closely and how decisions made can and will affect our school district.
What is the top goal you have this year for your local board and what would you like to focus on as a member of the KASB Board of Directors?
I am most excited about our dual language immersion program Olathe will be starting up in the fall of 2020 at two of our elementary schools. I would like to see this program succeed and grow so that every child in our school district has the opportunity to learn two languages during their primary education. As a KASB Board member, I would like to continue to focus on legislative issues, making sure we do not slip backwards on state funding and continue to share our stories of success with Kansas legislators.
When you were growing up, who was an adult you looked up to and why?
The easy and best answer is my parents; I wouldn’t be where I am without them. But I’d also like to say as I get older I so appreciate my Grandpa Ed. Like so many in his generation, he worked hard, didn’t need any accolades, never complained, and he always had a smile on his face every time I saw him.
Who was your favorite teacher or school staff member and why?
My favorite teacher was Mr. Osborne, my high school biology teacher. He is the reason I graduated with a degree in biology at KU. He made biology interesting and always kept us on our toes with his sense of humor.
If you had a chance to speak to your 18-year-old self, what would you say?
Find books you like and read more. As an adult, I love to read, but I didn’t know that at the time because I didn’t take time to figure out what types of books and subjects I like. Now I’m playing catch-up on all the books I should have read in high school and college.
What is a saying or quote that you live by?
It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.