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Alum Puts Experience and Civic Duty to the Test

She’s the mom of three boys, an educator experienced with pre-school age children to corporate training, a volunteer youth leader, and now she’s running for Olathe School Board. Alum Robyn (Yerkes ’90) Essex wants to use her 20 plus years of experience with schools, athletics, youth and business to give others like her a voice in ensuring the best education for the youth of Olathe.

Currently a stay-at-home mom, Essex is taking that time to accompany her oldest son on college visits. Hunter, a senior at Olathe South High School has almost completed his journey through the Olathe school district. Holden is a sophomore, also at South and Hayden is in fifth grade at Heritage Elementary. Throughout their education and athletic events, Essex has sat on a lot of bleachers, volunteered in many classrooms, joined in on field trips and participated in a myriad of meetings regarding how her children and others are educated. In addition she’s worked for the Olathe School District and her husband is a public school teacher in another school district. All this, she says, is what makes her a great choice for the March 3 primary election.

“I truly want to represent others,” Essex says. “I think my experience as a parent, a volunteer and a former Olathe School District employee gives me a unique perspective.”

Essex has volunteered over the last few years with the Olathe Republican party and is the treasurer. While the School Board position is non-partisan, she says the experience building relationships with elected officials means she understands how the system works.

“My biggest message to people is there are always two sides to the story. If we truly want to educate ourselves about the issues it's important to learn about other perspectives and always match them up with the facts,” she says.

While she’s passionate about education, Essex is also passionate about getting out the vote.

“Did you know only six percent of registered voters show up for primary elections,” she asks. “This is the leadership for our children’s education. Every parent should be there voting.”

In addition to her work and children, Essex and her husband Steve (’90), a football coach and PE teacher in Blue Valley, volunteer with the junior high ministry at College Church of the Nazarene. Being a mentor to teens for 20 years, Essex has a good idea of what young people think about their education and growing up in Olathe.

“God has placed on my heart this burden for kids,” she adds.

Now she hopes to create change and help shape their future success as a School Board member. After the primary, the general election will be held April 7.

Olathe residents can learn more about the election and all the candidates at jocoelection.org.

 

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