By Hope Eckley, Staff Writer
A Newman staff member could be a newly elected official by November. Joseph Shepard won a spot in the general election in August for the at-large seat on the USD 259 school board. If he wins he will take on a volunteer position for the Wichita School district.
Joseph Shepard is eager to expand his horizons by running in the general election to oversee over 50,600 students in the Wichita school District.
The primary election selected two people to continue in the race for the position. Shepard will run against incumbent Sheril Logan on Nov. 5.
If Shepard wins the general election he will work as a volunteer alongside Alicia Thompson, superintendent of Wichita School District and Newman alumna.
Shepard began last year at Newman University as the director of multicultural engagement and campus life. He said he has decided that he wants to reach out to not only Newman students but also to younger kids in the school district throughout Wichita.
“Newman will remain my number one priority because I am passionate about serving the students here at Newman University,” Shepard said.
If Shepard is elected, he said he would still be able to continue to work at Newman University due to the fact that the position he is running for will be a volunteer position.
Shepard said he grew up in poverty, and he was also a first generation college student in his family. He experienced a rough childhood, he said, and public education was his safe haven through those years.
“I know the trauma I experienced as a kid and how that affected my education. If I can change my life, I can change the lives of those around me,” Shepard said, “I was able to advance myself with my education and now that is allowing me to help others excel.”
Shepard said he will ensure that the children are getting the care and resources they need to succeed.
Shepard said kids that attend Wichita schools who live in a poverty stricken home face a social disadvantage as well as economic disadvantage.
“True work starts at home. When we have children who are needing help, it is our moral obligation to ensure that they are given the opportunities they need to be successful,” he said.
Shepard said he believes this is his opportunity to help the people in Wichita make a difference in the world.
Shepard said he is ready to take the next step in helping society by volunteering himself to serve the kids of USD 259.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo. Joseph Shepard.