Brian Geary, the current Olathe school board vice president and Member 6 representative, says his drive for reelection is about building on the success of the local public education system and supporting local students.
“The reason I do what I do is for kids,” he said. “I love doing things for kids in our community.”
PUBLIC EDUCATION INVOLVEMENT
His journey to the school board started over a decade ago when he was trying to get more involved with what was happening in Olathe. At the time, he served on the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and came to realize how much the local school system affects the surrounding area through some involvement with the Olathe Public Schools Foundation.
“I saw just how much of an economic development tool a good school district is,” Geary told the Olathe Reporter in an interview. “Businesses will come there more often because they know they can either attract people to move there, or keep people there, or hire people from there. I just really started seeing all of those things kind of come together from my background, and wanted to make sure that continued here in Olathe.”
Beyond that, he served on the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and sat as the president of the OPS Foundation. Geary also has a background in finance as the vice president at Bank of Blue Valley in Olathe.
He also comes from a family of educators, which opened his eyes to the value of good public education. When he assumed the seat he now holds back in 2018, Geary had two children in the district. His daughter has since graduated and moved on to Nebraska Wesleyan but his son is now a junior at Olathe Northwest High.
“It was a natural fit for me,” Geary said. “I just really wanted to continue to maintain the strength that the school district had.”
There are a few reasons he’s running for reelection. First, he said there’s a lot of things that got put on the back burner in the early days of the pandemic he’d like to bring back to the forefront, like the district’s strategic planning and mental health.
“Getting our community, staff, students through a pandemic was an accomplishment,” Geary said. “Not everybody's going to agree with how we did it, nor will they probably ever agree with everything we do, but it was a pandemic, and I think that we guided the district through an incredibly difficult time and with a lot of pressure.”
He’s also prepared, he said, to hit the ground running because he’s already on the school board.
“I think there's just a lot still to do, and I think that understanding the whys behind some of that is something that I really want to do,” Geary said. “I mean [there are] just a lot of different things that I can bring to the table.”
Geary is also an advocate for extracurricular programs to help enhance children’s education. His daughter was involved in student government and band and both of his kids are student-athletes. Over the years, he says he’s coached several different youth sports, and he currently hosts a podcast geared towards high school girls’ basketball called Sunflower Smack Show. Ensuring these kinds of programs are available to students in the Olathe school district and across the state is important, Geary said.
“There's just a lot of different things that are outside of the classroom that prepare kids,” he said.
If he’s reelected in November, he will represent the U.S. Senate Kansas District 3 area on the KSHSAA Board of Directors, which includes the Shawnee Mission school district, the Olathe school district and others across Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
Geary is one of two candidates running for the USD 233 Board of Education Member 6 seat he currently holds. It is one of two seats that represents the northwest corner of the school district. The other candidate is Brian Connell.
The election is on Nov. 2.
Early voting begins by mail on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and in-person on Saturday, Oct. 23. A list of ballot drop-off spots and early voting sites is available here.