Shawnee Mission school board names Craig Denny, who’s facing reelection challenge, as president for 2017-18 school year

Craig Denny, PhD, has been elected Shawnee Mission school board president for the coming school year.
Craig Denny, PhD, has been elected Shawnee Mission school board president for the coming school year.

On a 4-3 vote Monday, the Shawnee Mission school board elected SM West area member Craig Denny, PhD, as board president for the 2017-18 school year, an important leadership role as the district seeks a full time replacement for departed Superintendent Jim Hinson.

It will be the fifth time Denny, who has been on the board of education since 1997, has served as president.

Denny edged at-large board member Brad Stratton, who was also nominated for the president role. Board members Denny, Donna Bysfield, Sara Goodburn and Deb Zila voted in favor of Denny as president. Stratton, Patty Mach and Cindy Neighbor voted in favor of Stratton.

Stratton was subsequently elected board vice-president as the only nominee for the position.

Monday’s election at the board’s annual organizational meeting marked a change in process that had been in the works for two years, in that it allowed more than one nomination to come before the board for consideration simultaneously. Stratton had been lobbying for the board to change its officer election procedure for two years.

Denny’s election also highlights one of the issues Stratton raised as part of his efforts to change and formalize the board officer election policies. Denny is currently running for reelection, and faces two active challengers in the August 1 primary race, with the two candidates who get the most votes in the primary advancing to November’s general election. Should Denny fall in the primary or the general election, he would not be able to serve out his full term as board president. Under board policy, Denny would continue to serve as president until he is no longer on the board, at which point the vice president would become president.

Denny replaces SM North area representative Sara Goodburn, who was board president for the past two years. Denny previously served as president in 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12.