Carrie Dixon

Carrie Dixon is an active member in the community and 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. Two of her three children graduated from ISD schools and her youngest is a student in the district. 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. Voters elected Carrie to serve a six year term in 2024.

Anthony J. Mondaine

Vice President
Anthony J. Mondaine’s involvement in the Independence community runs deep. He is a member of the first graduating class of Van Horn High School after its annexation in 2009. Mondaine is an ordained minister, serving as a local pastor in the community for the last 9 years. Prior to his election to School Board, he also served on the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund for four years providing crisis intervention and providing critical resources to families in need. Voters elected Anthony to serve a six year term in 2022.

Denise Fears

Denise Fears retired from the Independence firm of Fears Case-Harmon & Associates after working there as a managing partner for more than 25 years. She became a CPA in 1992 and worked in her career for more than three decades. Denise graduated from Horton High School in Kansas, and she and her husband Jared, a Chrisman High School graduate, raised their three children here in Independence. Their kids also graduated from Truman. Denise served as treasurer for many years on the board of the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) and currently serves on the Community of Christ World Church Finance Board, helping to oversee the finances for the Community of Christ Church worldwide. Voters elected Denise to serve a second-six year term in 2020.

Jill Esry

Jill is very giving of her time, serving on several boards including with Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity, Englewood Arts, and Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA). She is most proud of her time on the Independence PTA, serving as president at Sycamore Hills Elementary and Bridger Middle School. Her husband Bill works in finance and is active in the Heart of America Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Jill, Bill, and their two daughters graduated from Truman High School. In addition to her duties as a board member, Jill has been a member of the district negotiating team for eight years. Voters elected Jill to serve a six year term in 2022.

Blake Roberson

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. Voters elected Blake to serve a six year term in 2020.

Wendy Baird


Wendy Baird is currently a stay-at-home mom who juggles motherhood with running a small crafting business. This summer, she will be transitioning into the education director position with the Music/Arts Institute. With a background in marketing and communications, she previously worked for area nonprofits and Kansas State University. Wendy holds an undergraduate degree in mass communications (journalism) from K-State and a master’s degree in public administration (nonprofit management) from UMKC. Before joining the Board, Wendy was the creator and administrator of the Independence Education News and Information page on Facebook and was a leader at both the unit and council levels for ISD PTAs, including president at Blackburn Elementary. In 2023, she was the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the city’s Human Relations Commission. Wendy, her husband, Kevin, and their two children live in the home he grew up in. Their children are ISD students at the same schools he once attended. Voters elected Wendy to serve a six year term in 2024.

Brandi Pruente


Brandi completed her BA in French and MAE at Truman State University. She is an educator in Liberty Public Schools and is an adjunct instructor at Maple Woods and Missouri State University. Brandi also serves as the Interact sponsor. She is on the Square Table committee and is also the Bryant Elementary PTA President. Brandi also serves many volunteer roles for her children’s extracurricular activities. She and her husband Chaz live in Independence with their three children. Voters elected Brandi to serve a six year term in 2024.