Blue Valley school board appoints former state rep Jan Kessinger to fill open seat

In a 4-2 vote, the Blue Valley school board appointed former Kansas Rep. Jan Kessinger to fill its vacated position left after BV Northeast area board member Amy Tysseling Resigned. File photo.

The Blue Valley school board voted to appoint former Kansas state Rep. Jan Kessinger to fill the vacated seat left by board member Amy Tysseling, who resigned last month.

Background: In May, Tysseling resigned nearly a year-and-a-half before her four-year term was set to end.

  • District officials said at the time that the decision was one Tysseling “made for herself and her family.”
  • Under district protocol, this left the board with the responsibility to appoint somebody to fill the remainder of Tysseling’s term through January 2024.
  • In the span of two days, on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the board held public meetings to interview 15 candidates for the position.

More about Kessinger: Kessinger was first elected to the Kansas State House of Representatives in 2016, where he stayed in office for two terms until he lost to Jane Dirks in the Republican primary in 2020.

  • He earned an MBA in management and marketing from Rockhurst University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.
  • In his professional career, Kessinger has served as president of Henderson Kessinger Consulting, associate publisher and sales director of Vance Publishing and as founding publisher of ProNet Online Service.
  • He has grandchildren that attend Blue Valley Northwest High School and a daughter who teaches in the district.

Key quote: “I always believed that education is the greatest asset the state of Kansas has,” Kessinger said. “And I’m enthusiastically committed to maintaining our high education standards and continuing to actually grow them.”

Board’s decision: Kessinger was appointed to the board in 4-2 vote, with several board members citing his legislative experience and history with the community as to why he was deserving of the position.

  • “I know he’s a big proponent of education,” BV at-large board member Tom Mitchell said. “I liked some of the leadership that Jan definitely brought to the table, and I think he’d be a good cohesive member of this board.”
  • BV South area board member Jim McMullen and BV Northeast Kaety Bowers voted against appointing Kessinger, with each voicing concerns about his political experience and the fact he has no children currently enrolled in the district.
  • “A lot of the personal feedback I received was that he was less apt to listen to parents and it might be more divisive,” Bowers said. “I don’t know that for a fact, but that was some of the comments I heard.”

What’s next: Although Kessinger has been appointed by the board, he will not officially take over the position until he is sworn in at the next school board meeting.

  • The next time the board will meet is on Monday, July 18.
  • Once official, Kessinger will hold the position for the remained Tysseling’s term through January 2024.