There are 12 candidates for the Lansing Board of Education. Four positions on the board are up for election this year.

Candidates run for at-large positions instead of in specific districts. The election is Nov. 5.

The Leavenworth Times submitted questionnaires to the candidates asking them why they are running. Ten of the candidates responded. The Times did not receive responses from two candidates, Steve Buffo and Michelle McQuillan.


David Baragary

Age: 37

Occupation: Assistant field supervisor for Lan-Del Water Department

Political experience: Not provided


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

To be an advocate for our students and teachers. I want our students to have academic strengths, citizenship skills and employability when they graduate. Our students should be prepared for their futures no matter what postsecondary avenue they pursue. Kansans can.


Debbie Deere

Age: 55

Occupation: Early childhood education/administration

Political experience: USD 469 school board member since 2011, Kansas House of Representatives 2017-2018


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education?

I am running for reelection because I feel that I have the experience, leadership and commitment to continue making decisions in the best interests of the students and district. I believe in USD 469 and I will support the relationships between students, parents, district personnel and the community to continue offering a quality education to our children.


Tom Farris

Age: 50

Occupation: Self employed

Political experience: None

Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I believe I would be a good member of the Lansing school board because I am passionate about our children’s education and the community. The school district is where I feel I can meaningfully contribute to our community in an area that interests me.


Roy Foster

Age: 40

Occupation: Health care strategy consultant

Political experience: First time to run for an elected position


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I believe our district should have a five-year strategic plan. That plan should organize and direct all the great leaders in the district with targeted and trackable objectives. One example, we should have a goal to eliminate fees families are having to pay out of pocket.


Jay Irwin

Age: 50
Occupation: Simulations and training integrator, Fort Leavenworth
Political experience: Bachelor’s degree in education, assistant professor and program manager for U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I am asking for your vote. If elected, my priorities will be student academics, athletics, activities and safety; teacher professional development and accountability; administration support and accountability; respect alumni traditions and the community. My strategic vision is to hire a superintendent with like priorities and commitment to longevity. Areas to improve are transparency, public access, reduce class size. All my children graduated from Lansing. Have time and experience. Open minded. No hidden agenda.


Peter R. Robinson
Age: 56
Occupation: Department of the Army civilian employee, CAC G2
Political experience: N/A

Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I know that we only have 13 years to get a child ready to take on the world by themselves. There are no do-overs. We have one chance to get it right and that is what I want to do for the students attending Lansing schools. I want to help get it right.


Cheryl Runnebaum

Age: 43

Occupation: Dean of career and technical education, Kansas City Kansas Community College

Political experience: None, unless you count the interactions and projects I work on that are affiliated with legislative groups.


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

Because of my current experiences as a dean at KCKCC and 20-plus years in education, highly qualifies me for this role. I have three kids who have been a part of the Lansing school district. Education is my passion; it is all about the students and leading them to success. That path is different for everyone and requires a board member to be actively engaged at all levels of education, research best practices and trends in education, be transparent, strategically plan for the future, ask questions and support all persons engaged in the process.

Karen Vaughn

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Probation/parole officer

Political experience: None


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I am running for Lansing school board to make a difference for the students in our community. My goals are to retain and hire quality teachers, to have quality programming for the students and to be a wise spender of taxpayers’ money. I want to help put a diploma in the students’ hands, knowing they had a quality educational experience in and out of the classroom, inclusive for all.


Susie Jorgensen Werth

Age: 41

Occupation: Dealership relationship manager at JP Morgan Chase

Political experience: I am not a politician. I’m running for Lansing school board because I want to help the district. I believe that a school board is not a platform for politics. Objective decisions should be made in the best interests of the kids and not based on political affiliation.


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I’m running for school board because I want to give back to the community and our kids. I have experience in finance and budget analysis and I think my experience will be an asset to our district. I also have a daughter in third grade at Lansing Elementary School.


Aaron Yoakam

Age: 40

Occupation: Buildings and grounds superintendent for Leavenworth County 

Political experience: None 


Why are you running for the Lansing Board of Education? 

I feel compelled to support the school district in order to take our district to the next level. We have passed bonds and built a brand new campus. It is now time that we turn the focus back toward ensuring we are providing the best possible educational experience for all students, not just those who are college bound. We need to look at expanding the educational experiences that our district offers in order to support students with aspirations for vocational and technical educational programs after high school graduation.