2021 BV SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION CENTER
2021 ENDORSED CANDIDATES
Gina Knapp and her husband moved their family to Blue Valley for the schools three years ago. Her children attend Blue Valley Schools, currently in middle and high school levels. Gina is involved in her kids’ schools and community activities and currently serves as Treasurer of the Quarterback Club for BVNW.
Gina has a business degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA in finance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She works remotely as the CFO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. Gina has worked in youth-serving nonprofits for years and says, “I am privileged to have been a part of teams that are truly making a difference in the lives of our children and am excited to bring my experience to the Blue Valley Board of Education.” She will be able to draw on her background in finance and her experience in making the lives of youth better in her role as a School Board member.
Here’s how Gina answered the question, “Why are you running for the Blue Valley Board of Education?”
“I am running for School Board because I know Blue Valley can be even better than we already are. I know that we can be more than the best in Kansas, but a model nationally. If we continue to focus on social/emotional learning and mental health coming out of the pandemic, enhance our special education services (which is really a general education issue) and increase our school funding, we can continue to make our community the place to live for generations to come. Our schools are what makes our future in Blue Valley bright. I run to support the future of Blue Valley.”
We’re excited to be able to endorse Gina Knapp as the most qualified and all-around best candidate for School Board from the Northwest area.
Andrew Van Der Laan and his wife moved to Blue Valley for the schools. His children attend Blue Valley Schools currently in elementary, middle, and high school levels. Andrew has volunteered significant amounts of time for many years in his kids’ schools and at the district level. He has held several PTO roles in addition to serving on district-level committees.
Andrew works as an executive leadership coach and business consultant. He has previously worked in finance. He’s also President of the Board of Coterie Theatre in Crown Center. Andrew will be able to draw on these areas of expertise and experience, as well as his knowledge of the district and his many connections to fellow BV parents in his role as a School Board member.
Here’s how Andrew answered the question, “Why are you running for the Blue Valley Board of Education?”
“I believe that strong public schools are the backbone of our community and that we all need to do our part to help them succeed. I have been very fortunate in my life to work with a lot of amazing youth organizations, but nothing makes more of an impact on a child than a great school. And at this stage in my life, I want to serve my community in a way that maximizes the impact of my time and effort. My goal is to combine my 30+ years of volunteering for youth organizations, my professional finance, and operations experience, and my prior nonprofit board service to support district administrators in running exceptional schools.”
We’re thrilled to endorse Andrew Van Der Laan as the most qualified and all-around best candidate for School Board from the Northeast area.
Lindsay Weiss and her husband moved to Blue Valley for the schools. Her children attend Blue Valley Schools currently in elementary, middle, and high school levels. Lindsay has volunteered for over 10 years in school-level roles, PTO/PTA leadership positions, Board Advisory Committees, and district-level task forces - she knows this district and her kids’ schools inside and out.
The daughter of two teachers, Lindsay holds a BA in Political Science and Communications and owns her own local business. She says, “A good Board candidate recognizes that our schools and community are intertwined;” she volunteers with many local organizations including Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer, Junior League of Kansas City, KC Hospice, and as co-manager of her neighborhood swim team. Lindsay will be able to draw on her immense experience volunteering with Blue Valley Schools, as well as her many community connections, in her role as a School Board member.
Here’s how Lindsay answered the question, “Why are you running for the Blue Valley Board of Education?”
“With kids at all three levels (elementary, middle, high), I have spent the past 10 years volunteering to help make our schools the best they can be. From PTO/PTA leadership positions to Board of Ed advisory committees to specific task forces charged with major curriculum re-design and improvement, I’ve had “boots on the ground” in our schools. I’m running for the Board of Education because I think it’s incredibly important that our representative knows the staff, knows the curriculum, knows the processes and knows the kids in our schools.”
We’re very pleased to endorse Lindsay Weiss as the most qualified and all-around best candidate for School Board from the South area.
OUR EVALUATION PROCESS
Email questionnaires to all candidates
Candidates who return the questionnaire are invited to an interview
Review websites, social posts, printed materials ...
Review candidates' prior history, votes (if any), supporters, who they've supported
If one candidate is best for Blue Valley, we endorse them
If two candidates are equally good, we endorse both
If neither candidate is endorsement-worthy, we may not endorse in that race
Stand Up Blue Valley got our start in 2015, when an Americans for Prosperity candidate with children in private school ran for the Blue Valley School Board. Six years, ten elections, dozens of candidates later - we’re still here.
Here’s a short overview of our evaluation and endorsement process - which has remained pretty much the same since the August 2016 Kansas Legislative primary.
We send candidates a questionnaire to the email address they provided to the election office when they filed to run. Questionnaires ask for facts and opinions that can be answered fairly succinctly.
Candidates who complete and return the questionnaire by our requested deadline are then invited to schedule an interview, where we cover topics that require more depth than a questionnaire.
We review candidates’ social media posts, websites, printed materials, public and online statements, and any other available materials.
We evaluate who supports the candidates and who the candidates have previously supported, donated to, or endorsed. We talk with trusted sources who are familiar with the candidates. If they’ve held public office, we look at their votes.
After all that, we ask the question: is one of the candidates the *best* choice for Blue Valley Schools? If yes - we endorse that candidate. If, on balance, two candidates seem like they’d be equally good, we may issue a dual endorsement - saying: voters, we believe either candidate would be a good choice for our kids and their schools. (Yes, we’ve done that before.) If we decide neither candidate meets our criteria for endorsement, we may issue no endorsement in that race. (We’ve done that, too.)
After we issue endorsements, we provide members with the reasons behind our decisions.
Families and businesses move here for our Blue Valley Schools. For decades, our schools have been the backbone of our thriving local economy, strong, stable property values, and highly-educated workforce. Our schools draw businesses to Johnson County and consistently place Overland Park among the top places to live in America. If you agree with us that elected officials - from our local school board to our state legislature and governor - should value and support our children’s futures by supporting their neighborhood public schools - then our endorsements will be helpful to you. If these items are not your priority in making voting decisions, you may wish to look elsewhere for recommendations.
BOARD MEMBER QUALIFICATIONS
What makes a candidate "qualified" to be
a School Board member?