NEWS BRIEF: Lawrence school board appoints GR Gordon-Ross to fill vacant seat

The Lawrence Board of Education votes to appoint GR Gordon-Ross to fill Andrew Nussbaum’s vacant seat.

Allison Mayhew and Alicia Narum

On August 30, Ronald “GR” Gordon-Ross was elected by the Lawrence Board of Education to fill Andrew Nussbaum’s vacant spot. Gordon-Ross was one of three finalists out of the 13 applicants. 

“One of the things that stood out in his application, and in his interview, was his commitment to students first in his decision making,” board president Shannon Kimball said. 

When Gordon-Ross lost the race for reelection in November, he immediately decided to run again in two years. Since then, he has attended nearly every board meeting. 

“There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made,” Gordon-Ross said. “The experience that I bring [can] help make those decisions quickly. I don’t need to be brought up to speed on how the board works.”

Kimball anticipates a number of challenges this upcoming term, specifically legislative changes regarding the Parent’s Bill of Rights, Open Enrollment Bill, and anti-transgender sports bans. 

“There’s already some things that are impacting and taking time away from what really ought to be our other priorities, more important priorities of providing education to our students,” Kimball said.

Even though legislative issues may arise, Gordon-Ross still admires the educational environment that the  USD 497 District creates. He appreciates that Lawrence Public Schools excels academically, in sports and in the arts. 

“As we navigate this budget situation, [I hope] to not lose those opportunities,” Gordon-Ross said. 

He also has aspirations to improve the ongoing budget crisis affecting the district. 

“Looking at data, looking at the numbers, and always trying to keep in mind students first and then trying to find that balance between efficiency and tradition,” Gordon-Ross said. 

The board is currently working with a company called RSP Consultants. They will be running a master planning process regarding enrollment, resources, buildings and programs and how they are being used. 

“We are going to continue this year to talk about how we reorganize the district in our operations in a way that frees up resources that we can put toward those priorities,” said Kimball.

Gordon-Ross will be sworn into the board on Sept. 12 and serve until Jan. 8 2024.