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Lawrence pastor and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Board member Kevin Coronado has applied for the Lawrence School Board.
Coronado is the pastor of Revive Church, a former member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Equity Advisory Council and a current member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Board of Public Health. Coronado, who moved with his family to Lawrence in 2019, said he wants to get involved and make public schools the best it can be, not just for his children but for all students.
“It’s been a great experience so far, and they’ve loved all of their teachers and all of their classrooms, luckily,” Coronado said. “But I know it could be even better.”
Coronado and his wife have four children, the youngest is one year old and the three oldest all attend public schools in Lawrence. Her children attend Kennedy Early Childhood Center and Cordley Elementary. Coronado, who was born in Guatemala and raised in Texas, has a bachelor’s degree in international business and is currently working on his master’s degree in divinity through an online program at a seminary in Texas.
Coronado said he believes the district needs to have student-centered classrooms, where every student receives the support they need to thrive, especially students of color, Indigenous students, students of special education, low-income students, and LGBTQ+ students. He said parents should be welcome and respected partners in their students’ education, and that students should be supported to do the activities that “make them feel human”, including art, music, physical education and academic subjects of particular interest to them.
“I believe public schools across the state are losing students, teachers and staff, and we can see that here in Lawrence,” Coronado said. “And so we need to transform our schools into spaces that nurture wholeness, that nurture complexity in every student and every family.”
Coronado said he wants Lawrence Public Schools to be a place where students of color are encouraged to thrive, which would take active effort.
“Due to the historical and current structure of white supremacy in the United States, school personnel and students must be actively anti-racist in the curriculum and culture,” he said.
Regarding the district budget, Coronado said he thinks there needs to be a fight at the local level to fix the state funding formula so that schools and students get the money they want. they deserve. He also said he truly believes that school board members are the representatives of the communities that elect them, so they should be accountable to students, parents, staff and the community and raise those voices to make the district the best possible.
The terms of school board president Shannon Kimball, vice-president Paula Vann, past president Erica Hill and board member Carole Cadue-Blackwood will expire at the end of this year. So far, Cadue-Blackwood is the only incumbent to win re-election. In addition to Coronado, newcomers Rachel Stumblingbear, Anne Costello, Yolanda Franklin, Ariel Miner and Edward (EJ) Gonzales have applied.
Additionally, Justine Burton filed a specific request for the vacant seat of former school board member Andrew Nussbaum, who stepped down in 2022, less than seven months after being sworn in. The school board nominated GR Gordon-Ross to fill Nussbaum’s seat until the end of this year, calling a special election as part of the November 2023 general election to determine who should hold the seat until January 2026. Burton is the only candidate to have filed for that two-year term so far. She also applied for the Lawrence City Commission.
On Friday afternoon, school board member Kay Emerson, one of three school board members to vote against recent school closings, announced she was stepping down from her seat to pursue an opportunity in another community.
The filing deadline for the Lawrence School Board race is noon on June 1. The candidates will have a primary on August 1, if necessary, and the general election will be held on November 7. The primaries will only be scheduled if the number of candidates filing is more than three times the number of open seats.