Wichita school board will have at least two new faces after 2023 election. Who’s running?

An ideological majority on the Wichita school board hangs in the balance as voters prepare to elect three representatives who will help shape the school district’s priorities in Superintendent Kelly Bielefeld’s first year on the job.

Social conservatives picked up three of four board seats on the ballot in 2021, and the impending retirement of Sheril Logan and Ernestine Krehbiel guarantees there will be at least two new faces on the seven-person board. Stan Reeser is running for re-election in District 4 against Jason Carmichael, a former City Council candidate.

All voters in Wichita Public Schools boundaries will have a chance to weigh in on Logan’s successor as the board’s only at-large member, and south Wichita residents in two districts will pick their direct representatives.

Only the five-way at-large contest will appear on the Aug. 1 primary. Here are the candidates who filed to run for each position.


Jacob Bakk

Jacob Bakk
Jacob Bakk

Bakk, a retired aircraft mechanic and pilot, said he plans to run on a platform of parents’ rights and instilling biblical principles in the public education system.

Schools are “kind of leaving God out of the picture, and I don’t like that at all,” he told The Eagle.

“I’m wanting to get more back to the biblical side of things — basing it on the Bible and how God wants us to take care of our kids.”

Bakk, a registered Republican whose daughter attended Wichita schools, said it’s the board’s responsibility to bring parents into the school system’s decision-making process.

“We need to have more openness as far as school board meetings and making it easier for the parents to become involved in like the PTA meetings and all the other things that parents can become involved in,” Bakk, 69, said.

“We’re not treating our teachers right, we’re not teaching our kids right by not giving them what they need in school,” he said, referring to stories in recent years of Wichita teachers paying for classroom supplies out-of-pocket.

Jesse Borosky

Jesse Borosky
Jesse Borosky

Borosky is a doctoral student at Wichita State University studying clinical psychology. His campaign material advertises him as a member of the Kansas Green Party.

“My background being clinical psychology, I have a particular interest in the mental and behavioral health of our children,” said Borosky, 30, who is originally from Pennsylvania.

“Right now, we know that Kansas is doing just about the worst out of any other state in terms of mental health resources, and this is taking a large toll on the children and adolescents of Wichita.”

During public comments at a May school board meeting, Borosky called on district leaders to consider the mental wellbeing of transgender students in the wake of recently passed legislation in Topeka banning trans and nonbinary people from single-sex spaces inconsistent with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Borosky said he’s a strong supporter of restorative practices in schools, an approach to addressing disruptive behavior that de-emphasizes student discipline in favor of facilitating conversations between affected parties.

Melody McCray-Miller

Melody McCray-Miller
Melody McCray-Miller

McCray-Miller, who served as a Democratic representative in the Kansas Statehouse from 2005-2013 and as a Sedgwick County commissioner from 1996-2000, has been endorsed by the outgoing incumbent, Logan.

“I’ve been out of politics and out of that life for a little bit, but there was just this tug and this yearn that I said it’s time for me to run and it’s time for me to win so that there will be a voice for people that look like all of us,” Mc-Cray-Miller said in March upon launching her campaign.

She currently teaches American government classes at WSU. Before being elected to the County Commission, she taught five years at Mayberry Middle School and Southeast High School. Her great grandchildren now attend Wichita schools.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with everyone but I’m also ready to speak truth and talk about issues of accountability that I believe need to be addressed,” McCray-Miller, 66, said.

“Consistency in accountability across the board will improve our academic outcomes as well as our disciplinary challenges that we have at USD 259.”

Brent Davis

Brent Davis
Brent Davis

Of four Republican challengers who ran as a block in 2021, Davis was the only one not to be elected, losing to Julie Hedrick by 5 percentage points.

In the run-up to the election, Davis, who owns a tutoring and test-preparation business, proposed experimenting on students by separating masked and unmasked children and studying which ones contracted COVID-19.

Davis did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Harlan Bascombe

Bascombe also did not respond to The Eagle’s interview requests after filing on June 1, the last day to sign up with the Sedgwick County Election Office

According to an election office filing, Bascombe works for Western Enterprises, an Enid, Oklahoma-based fireworks company.

District 4

District 4 in south Wichita is generally bound by Meridian Avenue to the west and Washington Avenue to the east, although boundaries extend slightly in both directions.

Jason Carmichael

Jason Carmichael
Jason Carmichael

Carmichael attended Wichita schools growing up and was a helicopter pilot in Iraq for the U.S. Army, earning a finance degree and an MBA from Wichita State through the G.I. Bill. He now runs a real estate and property management company, and garnered 9.6% of the primary vote as a Republican candidate for Wichita City Council in 2021.

“For me, top priority is classroom safety so teachers can have more control and feel better about just focusing on their students and teaching,” Carmichael, 49, said, telling The Eagle he would likely support a ban on phones in classrooms, which United Teachers of Wichita proposed earlier this year.

Carmichael’s personal Twitter page shows that he liked a tweet implying school personnel should be armed with guns as a deterrent to school shootings, as well as one stating Sesame Street is “in the child sexuality business” for sharing a Pride month post, and a tweet that says “Transgenders going straight to hell after earth. Sad world we live in.”

“It’s gender dysphoria, and it’s a mental health condition,” Carmichael said when asked what the district should be doing to protect gender-non-conforming students. “We’ve got to embrace them and care for them just like any other addict there is. You can’t give an alcoholic a drink and say, ‘Don’t drink it.’ You just don’t give it to them. You tell them what is real and what is what.”

Stan Reeser

Stan Reeser, candidate for Wichita BOE District 4.
Stan Reeser, candidate for Wichita BOE District 4.

Reeser has been a member of the school board since 2017 and previously served on the Wichita City Council from 1991-1995. He’s a registered Democrat but said he’s concerned by the politicization of school boards around the country in recent years.

“I do think there are people who just want to be critics of public education but they’re not willing to do the work to make sure that we are making improvement,” said Reeser, 61, who also works in logistics and distribution for the Ascension hospital system. In his six years on the board, the district’s graduation rate has climbed from 74% to 80%.

“I know it sounds like a slogan, but we really have done a better job getting our kids future-ready,” Reeser said. “We have more students earning early college credits, and for those who college is not the thing for them at this moment, we’ve got internships, work-related experiences.”

Reeser’s three children attended Wichita schools and he has two grandchildren now enrolled in the district.

He said his top priorities for another term would include improving early education reading comprehension and adopting a holistic approach to addressing student behavior issues that includes funding for more behavior counselors, psychologists and social workers in schools.

District 3

District 3 in south Wichita is generally bound by McLean Boulevard to the west and Rock Road to the east.

Ngoc Vuong

Ngoc Vuong
Ngoc Vuong

Vuong, a community psychology doctoral student at Wichita State, has been endorsed by retiring board member Ernestine Krehbiel. He graduated from South High School in 2018, where he was student body president and regularly participated in school board meetings as a member of the superintendent’s student advisory council.

“For me, Wichita — this home,” said Vuong, 23, who is a first-generation Vietnamese American. “We need to have governments that are more reflective and responsive to the lived experiences and incredible diversity in our school district.”

Vuong, a Democrat, said it’s critically important for young people to get involved and realize that they can make a difference in the community. As an undergraduate, he was a project manager for Safe Streets Wichita, which led an effort to get fentanyl test strips decriminalized and begin distributing free naloxone to fight opioid overdoses.

While in high school, Vuong started ICTeens In Mind, a student-led group that raised awareness and advocated for school-based mental health services. As a WSU researcher, he recently participated in a statewide evaluation of mental health services in schools.

Vuong said he supports a restorative justice approach to addressing disruptive student behavior in classrooms and increasing family and community engagement in the school system.

Ken Carpenter

Carpenter did not respond to interview requests for this story. According to election office filings, he works at the home improvement retailer Menards.