KASB School Board Member Profile: Steve Richards, Newton USD 373

Steve Richards
Newton USD 373

How long have you been a school board member?  Three years, since July 2015

Why did you decide to become a board member? I was surrounded by a family that placed a high value on learning and education. I’ve been very fortunate with teachers, mentors, and opportunities. Every child deserves support and encouragement to reach their fullest potential. Now, I want caring, competent people to serve the needs and future of my family and communities.

Who was an adult you looked up to when you were growing up and why? My father, George W. Richards, was a life-long learner with many interests and a balanced approach. He was a skilled communicator who gave and received respect and high expectations. He served on state and national boards of higher education, in addition to serving as a United Methodist pastor and district superintendent.

Who was your favorite teacher and why? So many! Mr. Neil Miller got us excited about laboratory science with both curiosity and humor. My high school class in Humanities was taught by an enthusiastic team of three: arts, literature and culture in a framework of history. I continue to use ideas and principals from that class!

What do you do outside of being a board member? I actively volunteer and lead in multiple efforts to build community.

  • Peace Connections & Circle of Hope connects volunteers to support and encourage families to build resources and improve their circumstances.
  • I am a board member of Health Ministries Clinic, providing integrated healthcare services to the entire community in the name and spirit of Christ.
  • I am president of the Kansas – Paraguay chapter of Partner of the Americas. Project-focused, volunteer diplomacy connects people across borders to serve and change lives.
  • I am retired from careers in clinical engineering (instrumentation and safety in medical care), and more recently, resource development for non-profit agencies.

What experience do you bring to the table that will improve your local school district?

  • Parenting school-age children in 5 cities and 3 states provides perspective.
  • Analyzing, maintaining, managing and interpreting systems in multidisciplinary environments.
  • Civic and professional experience in multicultural environments: ethnic, racial, socio-economic, and international.

As a board member, what is the top goal you have this year? Encourage and support district staff to improve communication with all constituencies, thereby increasing engagement and understanding.

What is a saying or quote that you live by? Living is learning and learning is living. Education is gaining skills and tools for learning.

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