Gov. Laura Kelly appoints 5 from Johnson County to sit on Governor’s Council on Education

Leah Wankum - February 18, 2019 11:36 am
Gov. Laura Kelly at the Overland Park Fall Festival Parade in 2018. Photo credit Andrew Poland.

Gov. Laura Kelly has selected five local educators and advocates to sit on the Governor’s Council on Education.

The new council includes former Fairway Rep. Melissa Rooker, who was recently appointed by Kelly as the new executive director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, and John Allison, superintendent of Olathe Public Schools.

Other members of the board who hail from Johnson County include:

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  • Dan Whisler, a Lenexa resident who serves as an education consultant with TRANE
  • Dana Nelson, one of the designees of the Kansas National Education Association who serves as a special education teacher at Olathe Public Schools
  • Dan Thomas, a Mission Hills resident who serves on the Kansas Board of Regents
Former Rep. Melissa Rooker who now serves as the new executive director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund

Rooker said the committee will be charged with more than just continuing and improving the quality of K-12 education across the state; it will also focus on seamless transition to whatever opportunities await graduating seniors, such as higher education or a technical career.

“This cabinet will be at the heart of the work being done to make sure that, from prenatal right through adult success in post-education, there is a continuum of services that is aligned so that we are leveraging precious resources in the most effective way possible,” Rooker said. “To make sure that we are delivering appropriate, effective services to as many children in Kansas as possible and not duplicating effort because we have silos that are protecting their turf.”

The Kansas Association of Community College Trustees — of which Johnson County Community College is a member — is also represented on the new council.

Education First Shawnee Mission, an advocacy group for the Shawnee Mission School District that endorsed Rooker in the November election, is pleased with Rooker’s appointment to the commission.

“…Governor Kelly and Melissa Rooker (a member of the council, a Shawnee Mission resident and parent as well and the newly appointed Executive Director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund) both have long histories in advocating for public school students in the state of Kansas,” said Megan Peters with Education First Shawnee Mission in a released statement. “We look forward to hearing the ideas and recommendations the group will bring forward and have confidence in Governor Kelly’s leadership and committee selections.”