A record of success and Commitment to public education


Shannon is deeply committed to public education and engaged in our schools as a parent:

  • Her children are Lawrence Public Schools students; over the past decade she has seen, at multiple levels, how board decisions impact classroom instruction and the experience that her children--and all children--have in our schools
  • Shannon has volunteered as a PTO member, classroom helper, and site council liaison for almost a decade at numerous schools throughout the district
  • Shannon is a proud graduate of public schools (K-12, undergraduate, and law degrees), and has experienced the vital importance of public schools as a means to a brighter future for our students and our communities

Shannon's board leadership over the last 8 years has led to measurable improvements:

  • Since 2012, she has led the board's work on the district's successful implementation of $179.5 million in bond improvements to our schools--creating high-functioning, equitable, secure, and modernized learning spaces for our students and staff
  • As board president in 2017-18, Shannon led the board's work to hire the current superintendent, Dr. Anthony Lewis
  • Shannon successfully advocated for creation of a district strategic plan in the 2018-19 school year
  • As part of the 2013 bond issue, she led the board's involvement in the construction and founding of the Lawrence College & Career Center
  • As part of the 2017 bond issue, she led the board's involvement in a partnership with Boys & Girls Club to construct the Don & Beverly Gardner Center for Great Futures at the Lawrence College & Career Center
  • Shannon has been a leader and staunch supporter of the district's equity work, including creation of the DELTA parent group and the Equity Advisory Committee; adoption of recommendations from a task force of community, parents, students, and staff members to better support our LGBTQ students;  renaming and rededication of Billy Mills Middle School in 2018; and drafting and adoption of revisions to board policies on harassment,  discrimination, and complaints, to streamline how complaints are initiated and investigated.  As a member of the board's policy committee, she is currently working on researching and drafting an equity policy for the district
  • Shannon has supported and advocated for expansion of social and emotional supports for students, including the WRAP program in partnership with Bert Nash, and has herself completed the district's Youth Mental Health First Aid training

Shannon is a committed advocate for public schools at the local, state, and national levels:

  • Shannon is currently the President of the Kansas Association of School Boards, the statewide organization that represents and supports school board members
  • Shannon was appointed in September 2019 to serve on Governor Laura Kelly's Council on Tax Reform.  The council will meet over the next 18 months to make recommendations on changes to state law for a more balanced and fair tax code, one that supports our state's priorities such as public education
  • Shannon is a member of the National School Boards Association's Policies and Resolutions committee, the body charged with making policy recommendations to the national membership of the NSBA
  • She has twice led the USD 497 board as president (2014-15, 2017-18), and twice as vice-president (2013-14, 2016-17)
  • Shannon has frequently represented USD 497 at advocacy events at the Kansas Legislature, submitted testimony on behalf the board on proposed legislation, and has led the board's drafting of its legislative positions
  • For the past two years, Shannon has represented the state of Kansas at the NSBA's advocacy institute, meeting with members of the Kansas Congressional delegation to advocate for improvements to federal law and policy on public schools

Why I am Running

Every Student Deserves a Great Education

Opportunity gaps still exist for our students, even at this point in our district's decade-long equity journey.  I am committed to continuing and improving our district's equity work--closing the achievement gap, eliminating disparities in discipline and participation in activities and advanced classes, and ensuring that all students feel supported, welcomed, and encouraged in our schools.

Thoughtful Planning Is Essential to Student Success

As board president during last year's superintendent search, I made creating a strategic plan a focus of the board's direction to our new leadership,  Now that the district has adopted a strategic plan, our board needs experienced, dedicated leadership to oversee implementation of and accountability to that plan.   By focusing on implementing the strategic plan, we will enhance the opportunities for success for our students.

Meeting Our Students' Social & Emotional Needs

The social and emotional needs of our students continue to grow.  Teachers need supports outside their classrooms to ensure students can learn in the classroom.  I have been a long-term supporter of our district's WRAP partnership with Bert Nash, and will continue to advocate for  students' mental health and other social/emotional needs.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

One of the greatest challenges facing public education is the looming shortage of talented teachers.  By some accounts, between the beginning of the Great Recession and the end of 2016, the number of students entering teacher preparation programs dropped between 20 to 40%, and nearly 8% of the teaching workforce leaves the profession each year.  

Mentoring and professional development, leadership opportunities, compensation, and "grow-your-own" programs all have to be part of the set of tools we use to address both recruiting and retaining the teachers we need and the talented staff we already have in USD 497.  I will continue to support steps to address these issues, as I have throughout my board service.

Transforming Our Facilities

I have worked tirelessly to  help Lawrence Public Schools deliver on two highly successful bond issues in 2013 and 2017, totaling $179.5 million in investments in our school facilities.  My work on the board's facilities committee, since it began planning in 2012, has helped guide the district through upgrading aging facilities, addressing extensive deferred maintenance, creating equity among our 21 school buildings, founding the College & Career Center, expanding the district's partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence to construct its teen center on the College & Career Center campus, and relocation and expansion of our Facilities & Operations facility to better support their work for USD 497.  I will continue to lead on facilities planning to ensure a successful implementation of the construction plans for transforming Lawrence High School over the next three years, completing a vision for improving the district's facilities that sprang from my volunteer work on the elementary facility task force back in 2010.

Improving Students' Health

Vaping has become an epidemic among youth across the nation, and it is definitely a growing issue in our schools.  I am calling on the City Commission to take up the Tobacco 21 proposal again as soon as possible. A recent article in the paper about the prevalence of vaping in our high schools reconfirms for me that this is a crisis happening right in front of us and not being adequately addressed from a public health perspective.  Our district needs a plan to address this in our schools, and needs to incorporate recommendations and best practices that are currently being developed by the State Board of Education's vaping task force, which expects to issue recommendations ahead of the start of this school year.  

Candidate Questionnaires

League of Women Voters Vote 411 (pdf)