ISD School Board

Posted April 10, 2018

Please join us in thanking school board members Ann Franklin and Ken Johnston for their years of service to the Independence School District. Ann brought a wealth of educational knowledge to the board, having taught for nearly 30 years. Ann’s grandchildren graduated from Truman High School. Ken taught for 48 years, 29 of those in Independence. Ken graduated from William Chrisman High School, as did his daughter Cari and his son Cameron. Ann and Ken proudly served the students and staff of the Independence School District. As they leave the board to focus on family, we want to extend our deepest thanks for their leadership in the ISD.

We now welcome two new school board members, Carrie Dixon and Eric Knipp. They were sworn in at the April 10 board meeting.

Carrie Dixon has served in numerous leadership positions, including PTA President at William Southern, Independence Council of PTA’s Co-President and Resource Development Chair on the Missouri State PTA Board of Managers. Her three children currently attend ISD schools. She and her husband Mike lead the Salvation Army’s Three Trails Camp and Retreat Center. She says that has fueled her passion for child advocacy, which she looks forward to bringing to her role with the ISD Board of Education.

Eric Knipp is very active in the Independence community, serving on the Independence Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Santa Cali Gon Festival Committee, Rotary Club of Eastern Independence Board of Directors and as an Eagle Scout coordinator and volunteer basketball coach in the IYAA league. He is honored to bring his dedication and love for Independence to the ISD Board of Education. Eric’s wife, Amy, is Director of the ISD Foundation. Eric and Amy’s two children graduated from the Independence School District.

Returning board members are Greg Finke, President; Denise Fears, Vice President; Matt Mallinson, Treasurer; Jill Esry, Director; Blake Roberson, Director.

Greg Finke became a member of the ISD Board of Directors in 2012 and plans to be involved with the ISD for years to come. He and wife Mindi have two young sons. One began kindergarten in the ISD this year. Greg graduated from Truman High School. He was a financial advisor with Stewardship Capital for more than a decade. When he is not working or fulfilling his school board obligations, he serves on the boards of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation and the Rotary Club of Independence.

Denise Fears is a Certified Public Accountant with the Independence firm of Fears Case-Harmon & Associates. She has been an accountant for nearly 30 years. Denise, her husband Jared and their three children, all graduated from the ISD. She is also treasurer on the board of the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA).

Matt Mallinson is proud to serve on the board and give back to his community. Mallinson is the former mayor of Sugar Creek. Matt owned his own pharmacy for more than 25 years. He and his wife Kathryn have six children who attended ISD schools. Mallinson graduated from Van Horn High School in 1976.

Jill Esry is a proud graduate of Truman High School. She is very giving of her time, serving on several boards including with Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA). She is most proud of her time on the Independence PTA. Her husband Bill works in finance and is active in the Heart of America Council of the Boy Scouts of America (he’s a Chief in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say).  Jill and Bill’s two daughters attended ISD schools. In addition to her duties as a board member, Jill has been a member of the district negotiating team for four years.

Blake Roberson has the longest tenure of any current ISD board member, serving for 14 years. He proudly attended ISD schools and graduated from Truman High School in 1971. Blake has been in the insurance industry for 35 years.  He has also been married to his wife Sandy for 35 years. Their three children attended the ISD from kindergarten to graduation. Like their father, all three graduated from Truman. Roberson is very active in the Independence community, serving on the Independence Council for Economic Development and the board of the Sunshine Center.

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