Ten people have filed for four positions on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees.
They seek to fill seats currently held by board chair Shirley Brown VanArsdale, Benjamin Hodge and Melody Rayl and an additional seat added by the board in November.
The candidates who will appear on the April 7 general election ballot are:
- Jerry Cook, Overland Park, president of the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau. Cook served as superintendent of schools in Harrisonville, Mo., director of elementary education and principal in Wyoming, and an elementary school teacher in North Dakota. “Johnson County Community College is a foundational pillar of our county and a valuable resource to our region and state,” Cook said. “It maintains a reputation of excellence throughout the country. I have been extremely blessed to experience diverse career opportunities. I believe it is time for me to apply such, so as to sustain the excellent programs at the college. And at the same time, work with all constituencies to establish policy, which will assist the college in becoming what it is yet to be, for students of all ages.”
- Robert Drummond, Olathe, president and CEO of TLC for Children and Families in Olathe. Drummond served as vice president for campus life from 1989 to 2001 at MidAmerica Nazarene University. He also served as their director of admissions and financial aid and director of counseling services. Drummond served on the Olathe school board from 1989 to 2007. “Johnson County Community College is one of the crown jewels of our county,” Drummond said. “As much as any entity in our county, JCCC ‘s educational and economic impact is nearly unequaled. My intent in becoming a trustee of JCCC is to further enhance the college’s educational excellence, its strong faculty, financial strength, local and national reputation, and service to our community.”
- Benjamin B. Hodge, incumbent, was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2005. Hodge is a resident of Overland Park. He served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 2006 to 2008. “I am running to protect and increase the freedom: the freedom of consumers to choose where to receive educational services, the freedom for taxpayers to keep as much of their money as possible, the freedom for taxpayers to know where their money is going, the freedom for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves with force, the freedom for taxpayers to not have their own money used against them (as is the case of taxpayer-funded lobbying),” Hodge said.
- Peter A. Jouras Jr., Overland Park, is an adjunct professor at the college and has his own law practice in Fairway. Jouras is a past president and a foundation trustee for the Johnson County Bar Association. “I am running for the Board of Trustees because I have been involved with Johnson County Community College off and on for the last 18 years as an adjunct teacher and would like to take on a more involved role,” Jouras said. “I am devoted to the success of the college and to its academic excellence.”
- John Kanaga, Shawnee, is pursuing a law degree at the University of Kansas School of Law. He is employed with the law firm of Skepnek, Fagan, Meyer and Davis. He served as coalitions director for the Ahner for Congress campaign and worked in the conversions department for Midland Loan Services. “Johnson County Community College is one of the greatest resources we have in Johnson County,” Kanaga said. “We must ensure that quality, affordable education is accessible to all citizens of our county.”
- Miguel Morales, Olathe, is a JCCC student and an employee in the college’s Billington Library. He also attends classes at Emporia State University. Morales serves on the JCCC diversity committee. “With local control comes the responsibility of maintaining transparency and open communication,” Morales said. “For students who attend JCCC and for its employees, JCCC isn’t just where we go to school or where we work – it is our home. “I intend to keep our college fiscally responsible while preserving the quality of education and our institutional integrity. I’m constantly aware that this home is provided by the taxpayers of Johnson County.”
- Stephanie Sharp, Lenexa, is a public relations officer at Community America Credit Union. She served three terms in the Kansas Legislature. “I’m running to ensure the quality of education, programming and administration at Johnson County Community College continues long into the future,” Sharp said. “It is crucial to elect people to this board whose focus is on quality education and increasing access to dynamic programs, not cutting opportunities for economic and intellectual growth because they do not meet a narrow personal agenda.”
- David Weeks, Overland Park, is a certified public accountant and the president of Wiley Investments LLC. He has more than 20 years’ experience in various corporate tax management positions, he said. “(I am running) to ensure that the education at JCCC remains affordable and relevant,” Weeks said. “To research and pursue new courses of instruction which will prepare students for immediate, rewarding employment without requiring that they incur huge debts and student loan obligations, and to provide the perspective of an experienced accountant and CPA in the evaluation of budgets and other financial issues.
- Melody Rayl, Olathe, and John Papazafiropoulos, Overland Park, have filed, but could not be reached by press time. The terms of office will begin July 1. Trustees members serve four-year terms.