Shannon Kimball is in her second term on the board of education for Lawrence USD 497 and was appointed to the KASB Board of Directors in July 2016 to fill the unexpired term of Dayna Miller, KASB president-elect.
“I was honored to be asked to fill the Region 1 vice-president position,” Kimball said. “I believe strongly in the work that KASB does to support school boards across our state, and to advocate for excellence in public schools for all Kansans.”
Kimball said broadening her perspective of the challenges districts face across the state will help her expand her work as a public school advocate. She also plans to apply what she learns to her work within her own school district.
“I look forward to opportunities to share KASB’s legislative and policy expertise within my own district and with districts in my region, and to advocate for public schools with the legislature,” Kimball said.
As a statewide association, Kimball believes KASB is uniquely positioned to be the voice of districts across the state, both in its legislative advocacy and in the sharing of data with districts and school communities.
“Now more than ever public schools need strong advocates who are empowered with the facts about the successes of and challenges facing Kansas schools. KASB plays a vital role in assisting school districts and other stakeholders to advocate for public education with a powerful, unified voice,” Kimball said.
As a native Kansan, Kimball and her husband returned to Kansas following several years out of state to pursue careers. Kimball is an attorney whose work focused on public schools for several years. She is currently raising their two sons and one daughter and focusing her time on volunteer work.
“Foremost among our reasons for coming back home was the desire for our children to have the opportunity to attend excellent public schools,” Kimball said.
She volunteered in 2010 to serve as a community member on the Lawrence USD 497 task force formed to study the district’s elementary school facilities. After working for over seven months as part of that group to make a recommendation to the board, Kimball decided to run for a board position.
“I wanted to give back to the community through sharing my professional background in school law and policy, as well as to continue working on the many issues raised by the work of the elementary school facility task force,” Kimball said.
Seeking a second term in 2015 gave her a way to stay involved as the district implements a $92.5 million 2013 bond issue. The project will transform all 14 of the district’s elementary facilities into flexible 21st century learning spaces, Kimball said. A new college and career center to serve the district’s two high schools will expand business, community, and higher education partnerships to give students relevant, career-oriented experiences.
Kimball said another major focus of her board service continues to be the district’s equity work, with the goal of closing achievement gaps.
“We have made great strides in the past six years, increasing our overall graduation rate to above 90 percent,” she said, “while at the same time markedly decreasing the graduation rate gap for our racial and socioeconomic subgroups.”
Kimball is a member of the League of Women Voters of Lawrence/Douglas County, and the Kansas, Georgia, and American bar associations. Her local service includes her children’s school PTO, work with the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association and the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, and serving on the board of her neighborhood association.
She is currently vice-president of her local board of education.
“I truly love the work I get to do as a local board of education member,” Kimball said. “Because I am a parent of young children in the district, I get to see the positive impact of my work reflected in the school experiences of my own children. But the rewards are much more far-reaching than that. The best part of our board meetings is the time that we use to recognize the amazing accomplishments of our students and staff. Those recognitions are an important reminder of why I volunteer to serve on the board.”
Published September 2016 Kansas Association of School Boards