Board of Education
Jill Esry is honored to serve our community as ISD board president. She is a proud graduate of Truman High School. She is very giving of her time, serving on several boards including the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA). However, 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, Ellie and Jordan, went to Sycamore Hills Elementary, Bridger Middle School and graduated from Truman High School. Both daughters are now college students. In addition to her duties as a board member, Jill has been a member of the district negotiating team for four years.
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, who will attend ISD schools when old enough. Finke graduated from Truman High School and has been 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 Board and the Rotary Club of Independence and is an avid golfer.
Denise Fears is the ISD board treasurer- a perfect position for her considering her professional background. She is a Certified Public Accountant with the Independence-based firm of Fears Case-Harmon & Associates, LLC and has been an accountant for nearly 30 years. She moved to Independence about the same time she began her accounting career. Her husband Jared and their three children- Grace, Jordan and Joel- all graduated from the ISD. She is also treasurer on the board of the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA).
Ann Franklin brings a wealth of educational knowledge to the board, having taught for nearly 30 years. Civic leadership is nothing new to the Franklin family. Her husband Dick, a former teacher and high school principal, served 14 years in the Missouri House. The Franklin’s have two children and two of their grandchildren graduated from Truman High School. Ann graciously gives of her time to serve on numerous committees and boards and is very active in her church and homeowners association.
Ken Johnston has been an ISD Board of Education member for ten years, but has spent considerably more time in education. He taught for 48 years, 29 of those in Independence, before retiring. His wife Mary Joan is also a retired ISD teacher and his daughter Cari taught in the ISD. Ken graduated from William Chrisman High School, as did Cari and his son Cameron. He is proud to be from Independence, proud to be a board member and proud to be a member of the Community of Christ- Children’s Peace Pavilion Board.
ISD board member Matt Mallinson has been a director for eight years- one of the many ways he gives back to his community. Mallinson is the former mayor of Sugar Creek, and when he’s not serving the Independence and Sugar Creek communities, he is a pharmacist- owning his own pharmacy for more than 25 years. He and his wife Kathryn have six children- Amy, Lisa, Erin, Leslie, Danny and Rachael- and all six attended ISD schools. Mallinson graduated from Van Horn High School in 1976.
Blake Roberson has the longest tenure of any current ISD board member- 13 years. Like many of his board colleagues, he attended ISD schools and graduated from Truman High School in 1971. He has been in the insurance industry for 35 years. He has also been married to his wife Sandy for 35 years. They have three children and all three 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.