NEA-Shawnee Mission makes dual endorsement in SM East race, picks Ousley for at-large seat, Guy for SM West seat

The Shawnee Mission chapter of the National Education Association has released its endorsements in the general elections for the Shawnee Mission Board of Education, saying it supports both candidates running for the SM East area seat, former teacher James Lockard and education advocate Mary Sinclair.

In the at-large seat, the teachers union PAC again endorsed Heather Ousley, who had received its sole endorsement in the primary. For the SM West seat, NEA-Shawnee Mission’s PAC is supporting Laura Guy over incumbent Craig Denny. In the primary election, the group endorsed Chris White.

The full endorsement message posted on the group’s Facebook page is below:

We are happy to announce our endorsements for the Shawnee Mission School Board general election.

At-Large Position – Heather Ousley
West Area Position – Laura Guy
East Area Position – Both Jim Lockard and Mary Sinclair

We endorse Heather Ousley for the At-Large position. Heather Ousley is a parent and attorney who has devoted large amounts of time to advocate for our public schools. She has organized annual walks to Topeka to highlight the need for increased public school funding. She has testified before legislators and District board members and regularly attends Board and Negotiations meetings. She has visibly demonstrated her commitment to transparency, community engagement, and evidence-based policy.

We endorse Laura Guy for the West Area position. Laura Guy has an elementary education degree from UMKC and she taught for several years in the Olathe district as a third-grade teacher and a substitute teacher. As a teacher, she was a member of Olathe NEA. She is currently a pastor in Parkville, MO. Both of her children grew up in Shawnee Mission schools and graduated from SM West. Laura has been an active parent volunteer at many school events and in the classroom, leading Chat ‘n Chew groups and tutoring. She is committed to increasing transparency in the board, ensuring equitable treatment of all our students and boosting the morale of teachers and staff in our district. NEA-SM is proud to endorse her for school board candidate in the SM West area.

We dual endorse James Lockard and Mary Sinclair for the SM East position. This race has a November 7 election.

We celebrate James Lockard’s 43 years of commitment to our students as an environmental science teacher at SM East, his four terms as an East Area Advisory Board member and long-time NEA membership. As a recently-retired District teacher, Mr. Lockard would bring a valuable perspective to the board about the impact of class sizes and facilities on student success as well as insight into recruiting and retaining staff.

We admire Mary Sinclair’s advocacy for public education through her extensive PTA and legislative efforts. She is a parent and a District MVP volunteer. With a Ph.D. in Special Education and experience in education research, Ms. Sinclair is committed to student success, improving the professional learning environment for staff as well as increased transparency and public discussion.
We encourage NEA members and others to get involved in these campaigns. We urge everyone to get registered to vote and request an Advance Ballot if you will be away for the August 1 primary or November 7 elections. Go to for voting information. Your vote matters!