Kirkwood School District strives for diversity and inclusion, starting with new face on the board

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KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Since 1865, there have been only three African Americans to serve on the Kirkwood School District Board of Education. Come Monday, Nikole Shurn will officially swear in as the fourth, making her the second black woman to get elected since Kathy Harris in 2001.

Kirkwood now, for the first time in school history, will have two black board members serving at the same time. Darnel Frost, president of the board, is excited to have Shurn as a new addition to the team.

“Having her voice will be huge, not only for the children but for this entire community so that they can see more diverse relations going on,” Frost said. “We’re excited.”

Kathy Harris, the first African American woman to serve on the board, commends the district for diversifying its board and giving minorities in the Kirkwood community a voice to heard through Shurn.

“I really think that getting some more diversity in there and getting someone that has shown that she really wants to be a voice is going to be a big help,” Harris said.

Shurn released a statement today saying, in part, “As an alumna, I’m super excited to have been elected to the Kirkwood School Board. The overwhelming amount of support that I received from residents makes my heart so happy during this time where our nation is so divided. I think this definitely shows that Kirkwood is ready to move forward in a more inclusive and equitable way and I can’t wait to serve.”

Frost is confident that Shurn’s passion for the students in the Kirkwood School District will shine brightly through the work she will do as a board member. The district promises to continue promoting equity through staff training, holding diversity discussions in the community, and listening to the needs of their students.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years as far as equity work in our district and we want to continue it,” Frost said. “We need to do what’s right for our students and that’s what we’re here for.”

Kirkwood will be holding a Black Lives Matter Peace Walk on Saturday, June 6 to continue their commitment to creating a more inclusive environment.

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