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Board Members

President - Ann Franklin


Ann Franklin has been a resident of Independence since 1966. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Central Missouri State University and retired as a Vocational Business teacher from the Fort Osage School District. She and her husband Dick have twochildren, Jamie and wife Kellie Franklin (granddaughters - Sarah and Lauren) and Elizabeth Franklin. Currently she serves as a member of the Vaile Victorian Society and the Bingham Waggoner Historical Society.

Vice President - Jill Esry

Jill Esry is current treasurer of Independence currently serves on the Executive Board of the Truman Patriots' Club. She is heavily involved in volunteer work including driving for Meals on Wheels.

Esry is a graduate of Truman High School and University of Missouri-Kansas City with a B.S. in Secondary Education. She was a member of the Independence School Bond Issue Campaign, and a community representative for the development of CHARACTERplus. Esry is a homemaker. She and her husband Bill have two children, Ellie and Jordan. Esry is excited to be on the School Board because she believes the District currently has great momentum and the future is ripe with opportunities. She wants to ensure that the district continues to be progressive and provide high quality education for all students for years to come.

Treasurer - Denise Fears

Denise Fears is a founding partner in the Independence accounting firm, Fears Case-Harmon & Assoc, LLC, where she has served as Member/Manager since 2005. The firm has been nominated for the KC Business Journal's 25 under 25 Award in 2008 and 2010. She is deeply involved in her church, and is a lifetime member of PTA/PTSA. She is a Board Member and Treasurer of CAPA, and has served as cub scouts den leader and Youth Friend. Fears and her husband Jared have three children, Grace, Jordan and Joel. She is excited about serving on School Board because she believes that the heart of community growth and development rests in the strength of its schools, and likewise a strong community sustains the quality of its schools. She hopes that by offering her time and skills, she can help keep the district progressing for years to come.

Director - Matt Mallinson

matt mallinson

Matt Mallinson is a registered pharmacist who has owned his own pharmacy, Matt's Medicine Store, since 1987. Matt attended Van Horn High School, and went on to graduate from UMKC pharmacy school. He is a past Alderman for the city of Sugar Creek, and past president of the Sugar Creek Business and Civic Club. Matt has six children, all of whom have attended schools in the Independence School District. He has been very involved in the school district as a parent and businessman, and considers being on the School Board the next natural step.

Director - Blake Roberson


Blake Roberson graduated from Truman High School and is a State Farm Insurance Agent. He and his wife, Sandy, havethree children, Brian, Janna, and Kayla, who have all attended school in the district. They also havetwograndsons.

Roberson is serving on the board to represent the community and provide outstanding educational opportunities for all students, excellent services to families, and a great place to work for employees.

Director - Ken Johnston


Ken Johnston is a life long resident of Independence. He graduated from William Chrisman High School, received his B.S. from Graceland University in Iowa and M.S. from Lesley University. Ken retired from teaching after 37 years, 29 of those in the Independence School District. He is currently an adjunct professor at Graceland University (Independence Campus).

Ken is married to MaryJoan - retired teacher of 28 years from the Independence School District. Ken has 2 children, a daughter, Cari McHenry - elementary teacher in the Independence School District, and granddaughter Cheyenne - graduate of Truman High School who attends Pittsburg State University in Kansas. His son, Cameron - graduate of William Chrisman High School, lives in Kansas with granddaughter Lyndsey - also attending Pittsburg State University, and grandson Lachlan who attends public school.

Ken is a Youth Friend and serves on several community boards and committees related to children, education and philanthropy. Ken enjoys working with children and being on the School Board is just one more way to give back to his community.

Director - Greg Finke

Born and raised in Independence and a graduate of Truman High School. Greg is married to Mindi Finke and has a son named Tripp.Greg is the Vice President for Stewardship Capital. As Vice President, Greg consults with client legal and accounting advisors, provides expertise on various types of retirement plans, and develops specific solutions for them.Greg earned a Bachelor of Arts in English/Literature with a minor in Bible from Wheaton College (IL). More recently, he earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (or AIF) professional designation from Fiduciary360.Greg is a member of East Side Baptist Church and the Rotary Club of Independence. Greg is also a Youth Friend for ISD and serves on the Citizen's Advisory Council. Greg says he hopes as a Board member he can "bring his concern for the community as he looks out for the needs of our children, our employees and our taxpayers."