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State Board of Education member recipient of Distinguished Service Award

Posted: Sep 7, 2016
Author: Ann Bush

State Board of Education member recipient of Distinguished Service Award

TOPEKA — Kansas State Board of Education member Kenneth Willard has been named one of three recipients of the National Association for State Boards of Education’s (NASBE) 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

Rosie Hussey, a 12-year board member of the Iowa State Board of Education, and Patricia (Tricia) Willoughby, who has served for nearly 16 years on the North Carolina State Board of Education, also were named as recipients.

NASBE represents America’s state and territorial boards of education.

Willard, of Hutchinson, has been a member of the Kansas State Board of Education since 2003 and is currently in his fourth term. He is an active member of NASBE and has served on NASBE’s board of directors as president, central area director and most recently as secretary/treasurer. Willard represents school districts in central Kansas, District 7.

Willard also has had several committee leadership roles on the state board, including serving on the Governor’s Efficiency Task Force since 2012 and as a state board legislative liaison since 2011. Under Willard’s leadership, the committee developed guidelines and regulations on deaf education, in addition to other initiatives.

“Ken has been a strong and consistent voice for Kansas students and parents, and a champion for equity and excellence in public education,” Kansas State Board chairman Jim McNiece said.

Willard is a United States Navy Vietnam veteran. He retired from the insurance business after 33 years and is active in his church and with school and community organizations.

“These three Distinguished Service Award winners exemplify the leadership and commitment of state board of education members nationwide,” said Kristen Amundson, executive director of NASBE. “Their service has truly made a difference for children.”

The 2016 Distinguished Service Awards will be presented in October at NASBE’s national conference in Kansas City, Mo.

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