Thea is a 7th generation Kansan running for USD 497 School Board. Originally from Palmer, KS, she remained in the area after graduating from KU and lives with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs.
A former teacher, she is a proud graduate of public school and staunch supporter of public education. Thea served for two years as PTO president at her daughter’s elementary school, where she saw firsthand the severe impact of years of education funding cuts. This prompted her to become more politically active, attending legislative hearings at the Statehouse and joining the 60-mile walk to Topeka to advocate for school funding restoration. The connections she made led her to begin exploring and advocating for other pressing issues in Kansas. Thea became a coalition builder, working with people and organizations across the aisle, the state, and in D.C.
Her extensive volunteering and organizing work has united her with people directly impacted by the issues facing our community, giving her valuable insight and the competence required to lead. Thea proudly serves on several boards, including the Lawrence Community Shelter, and the League of Women Voters. Thea has organized dozens of voter registration drives, candidate and community forums, donation drives, and other community gatherings. Most recently, she served as the Outreach Director for a nonprofit organization in Topeka, focusing on civic engagement.