Who We Are

About Show Me KC Schools

Our mission is to help families make well-informed decisions about their child’s education by providing vital information about the school options available.

Our vision is to ensure that all Kansas City residents have confidence in their school options.

Our core values are to be transparent, sector-agnostic, trusted, community-driven, and inclusive.

Meet Our Staff

At Show Me KC Schools we are very lucky to have an outstanding team supporting the families of Kansas City. We are proud parents. We are also proud Kansas Citians and are thrilled to be raising our children here. Between us we have children learning and thriving across KCPS neighborhood and signature schools, as well as charter schools. We know first-hand how important it is to know your options when it comes to our educational landscape and we are dedicated to helping you find a great school for your child just like we have.

Leslie Kohlmeyer

Executive Director

Leslie Kohlmeyer

“I chose the ‘art alley’ in the Crossroads as my iconic Kansas City location because I love seeing all the creative energy being displayed across our city and the ability for these artists to express their political opinions, fear, and hopes for our city.”

Leslie Kohlmeyer has lived and worked in KC most of her life. She has been watching as the city has shifted and shaped itself into one of the most beautiful, culturally significant, and family-friendly cities in which to build a future. Leslie has three great kids and has made the Historic Northeast her home for over 20 years. She is excited to share that passion for equity in educational options with all families across the city that she loves.

Danielle Dispenza

Director of School Navigation

Danielle Dispenza

“To say that the Kansas City Public Library system is an essential resource for me is an understatement. That is why I chose the Central Branch parking garage as my iconic Kansas City landmark. The individuals there have played an integral role in supporting me as a parent, from storytimes to lifelong friendships, I am forever grateful.”

Danielle Dispenza is a Kansas City area native who has lived in KCMO for over 14 years with her family. Prior to staying home to raise their two children, Danielle received her Child Development Associate Certificate through the Family Conservancy and worked for 12 years in early childhood and elementary special education. During her time as a paraprofessional in two local school districts Danielle worked one on one with students with special needs to provide them the best and most inclusive educational experience. Danielle spent 8 years providing home health care services for families of children with developmental and medical disabilities. An avid volunteer, Danielle is a mentor with Kansas City Public Schools District. When not working or volunteering Danielle and her family enjoy hiking and camping especially within the National Parks.

Robyn King

Director of SchoolAppK

Robyn King

“I chose the Urban Youth Academy mural as my iconic Kansas CIty location because of what it represents. Black history which is all of our history is in every fabric of our lives. It warms my heart that not only KC students but the world can learn of this historic part of our city.”

Robyn King, born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, brings 15 years of education experience and over 20 years of experience in broadcast journalism to SMKCS. She holds a BA from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from the University of Central Missouri. She taught college and high school courses in English, Media, and Journalism including yearbook, online, newspaper, broadcast, and photojournalism. King has received many journalism state awards from the Missouri Interscholastic Press Association as well as a Literacy Award from the Missouri State Teachers’ Association.

Sarah Arriaga

School Navigator – Spanish Bilingual Specialist

Sarah Arriaga

Sarah Arriaga is from wayyy southwest Kansas, a town called Liberal, KS. She moved to the area when she attended Washburn University in Topeka, KS, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Finance. After Washburn, Sarah went on to complete a Master’s in Business Administration from Northwest Missouri State University. From her first nonprofit job, Sarah realized that education was the most important cause to her. Sarah recently started a new job as the Director of Development for Northland Early Education Center. She is also currently planning a wedding and a move to KC in the next few months. Sarah has two younger brothers. She enjoys trying to keep her houseplants alive, and listening to any and every crime documentary out there.

Sarah is looking forward to being able to use her native language skills to help families navigate the KC school environment and to learn more about the education system and ways to make it work for families.

Tricia McGhee

School Navigator – Spanish Bilingual Specialist

Tricia McGhee

Tricia McGhee has called Kansas City her home for two thirds of her life- competing with her early years in California & recent years in Mexico City, Mexico. She is a parent to two bicultural middle schoolers, and experienced the complexity of navigating Kansas City’s educational landscape during her family’s return from Mexico City in 2017. While living in Mexico, she spent time in the classroom & developed an English literature workshop for elementary students that encouraged a chaotic love of books. Motivated by her dedication to language access & family engagement with refugee, immigrant & multilingual families, Tricia served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Department of Language Services & Cultural Equity at KCPS. Tricia received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Africana Studies from the University of Kansas, and seeks to support parent leadership capacity in Spanish speaking families.

She currently serves as a VISTA Leader at Literacy KC, and is a cohort member of the Parent Leadership Training Institute of Kansas City. Outside of these roles, Tricia can be found connecting with others through music (fiddling!), volunteering, hiking, and fostering one too many cats with KC Pet Project.

Nina Ward

Director of Programs and Events

Nina Ward

“I chose the Gem Theater on 18th and Vine as my iconic Kansas City location because the Gem Theater is a staple in my personal history and the history of the black community in Kansas City. That history symbolizes creativity, pride, & community-all things that ignite my passion for serving Kansas City.”

Nina Ward is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri, and a graduate of Paseo Academy of the Fine & Performing Arts High School. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Central Missouri, where she studied Sociology and minored in Child and Family Development. Nina is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Missouri Kansas City’s prestigious Bloch School. Prior to her role at SMKCS, Nina worked at a local charter school, and in the Jackson County child welfare system.

In addition to investing in and developing communities and people, Nina is interested in coordinating collective community improvement efforts. In her free time, you can find Nina delving into a good book or podcast and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Alix Lasker

Assistant, SchoolAppKC

Alix Lasker

“I chose the National WWI Museum and Memorial as my iconic Kansas City location because I am from France and it represents a part of my heritage. I hope that all Kansas City area families will consider visiting. Only through education can you ensure that history is not repeated.”

Alix has worked at various roles in public education since 2006, and is passionate about the power of education to change family destinies. She has a Bachelor of Science in K-12 French, a Master’s in Multicultural Education, and an additional 60 graduate hours in her field. Born and raised in France, Alix came to Missouri in 2004 for a college scholarship and never left. She now lives in Kansas City with her husband and two children and is a lifelong learner who loves to cook, eat, do crafts, and read books.

Parent Advisory Board

As an organzation created for families by families, we continue to engage parents and guardians on the quality of services that Show Me KC Schools’ provides.

Eugenia Castro

Eugenia Castro

I’m from Argentina and I chose KC to live, because I got married a few years ago. My wife has a daughter, Natashja, who is currently attending Gladstone Elementary. She is also taking classes at Harmony Project, where she is learning to play violin. My wife works about 10 hours a day, so I am taking care of Natashja.

I have a special feeling about KCMO because I moved from Argentina directly here. I had the opportunity to take English classes for about 3 years at Don Bosco School and Literacy KC. My teacher was Emily Spradling. I need to improve my listening and speaking, but I had to quit the school since I started to work. I will try to take conversation classes. To do this Tricia linked me with a person who works at Kansas City Public Library, so I will be part of their Conversation Club. I hope to improve my listening and my speaking!

Alberto Rubio

Alberto Rubio

Coming soon!

Stephanie Answer

Stephanie Answer

Stephanie Answer lives in Kansas City with her husband, Darryl, and their 2 children Jaidyn and Kian. She grew up in a suburb just outside of KC but got connected in the city about 20 years ago and always desired to eventually move there. She and Darryl have now been residents on KC’s  east side for about 10 years. They love raising their family amongst the beautiful people who make up KC’s urban core. It’s really been the people and the neighborhood that has rooted them here. 

Stephanie helped start New Community Church with her husband. New Community is now a network of spiritual families across the KC metro, primarily on the east side. She also does a lot of volunteer work in the neighborhood in community engagement and also around special education advocacy. Having a child with special needs has influenced how she sees the world and she desires to see the educational landscape of KC support every student and family to thrive. Stephanie is a practitioner in Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and is a Steward of the ABCD Institute located in DePaul University.

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Tiffany Sykes

Tiffany Sykes

Coming soon.

Jacob Schwartz

Jacob Schwartz

Jacob Schwartz settled in Kansas City over a decade ago. He is a leader in the parent organization at Crossroads Academy, and has been the treasurer of Kansas City Women in Technology as it grew from a handful of people running a single monthly program, to a volunteer leadership structure of over 60 people and a portfolio of monthly programs. Before COVID, Jacob mentored groups on weekends with CoderDojoKC, taught a couple 2nd-7th grade enrichment classes, and had just started a LEGO coding club. He is an energized graduate of the Parent Leadership Training Institute, the Parent Power Lab, and the Kauffman Education Fellowship. He has a deep passion for organizing for a diverse and inclusive community. In his day job, Jacob manages a team of software engineers. Each afternoon, Jacob can be seen marshalling a bicycle gang of elementary schoolers through downtown to the West Side. Jacob chooses to raise his family in Kansas City because he has noticed a trend: Each year he likes it more than the last.

Fatemeh Heidarian

Fatemeh Heidarian

Why did I choose Kansas City as my place of life and raising my children? Amongst the biggest and the best of reasons two stand out in regards to the family aspect of my choice. Family oriented state and cost of living to be those two.

Kansas City as a metro provides its residents with opportunities of a big city and laid back atmosphere of small towns at the same time. This allows family to grow in their business and professional life without sacrificing family time and family gathering as much as in bigger cities.

Kansas City is not the most reasonable place as far as cost of living; however, it is not the most expensive city either. Similar metropolitans are more costly to live and harder to stay focused on family and raising children.

Zoe Marinovich

Zoe Marinovich

My name is Zoe Marinovich. I am from North Kansas City, Missouri and am now a North East resident in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood. I am the evening and weekend supervisor at the North East branch of the Kansas City Public Library system. I’m studying to attain my Masters in Elementary Education. My number one job, however, is mother to a precocious three and a half year old. I choose to live in Kansas City because the sense of community is strong. I love the history and diversity of the North East area in particular.

Meet Our Board Members

Patrick Amey

Board President

Patrick Amey

Patrick Amey is a Wealth Manager & Partner with Financial Advisory Service, Inc. in Leawood, KS. He was born and raised in Kansas City, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Rockhurst University. Pat, his wife, and two children live in midtown Kansas City. Their diverse community involvement reflects their passion for their current and former communities. Coaching lacrosse, volunteering at Irishfest, serving on boards of their neighborhood, and arts organizations are some of the many ways they give back to their communities.

Lindsay Mathews

Board Member

Lindsay Mathews

Lindsay is a family law attorney who represents individuals going through a divorce, modification of custody and child support, paternity, third party custody, stepparent adoption, or minor guardianship in Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties in Missouri. She is regularly appointed as a Guardian ad Litem for children and is a trained mediator. She graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law with an emphasis in Family Law. Prior to attending law school, Lindsay spent five years working in the education field. She taught for three years in the classroom and worked with teachers on their professional development for two years. Lindsay studied Spanish, Latin American Studies, and History at the University of Kansas where she rowed on the Crew Team and studied abroad in Costa Rica. When she isn’t working, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her family and friends exploring Kansas City.

Nicole Collier White, CNP

Vice President

Nicole Collier White, CNP

Nicole Collier White joined Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) in January 2011. Currently, she serves as the Director of the Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation where, she works to enrich and enhance the educational experience of all KCPS students by providing financial support and other resources to supplement district-wide programs and activities.

Nicole’s career has focused on community development in the public, private and non-profit sectors. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for WIN for KC, KC Rising: Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and Big Brother Big Sisters Kansas City.

Collier White received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Jewell College in Nonprofit Leadership and a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership in the spring of 2010, she just joined the WJC Alumni Board of Governors in 2017 with the intention of increasing diversity enrollment on campus.

Tricia Johnson

Board Member

Tricia Johnson

“As a parent, I see tremendous momentum building among parents, eager to seek out great schools and recognizing their capacity to help improve and create quality schools in every neighborhood.”

Tricia Johnson has taught middle school in Chicago and internationally. Originally from Southern California, Tricia earned her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and worked in Indonesia in support of post-tsunami development before moving to Kansas City in 2009. In seeking a school for their two children, Tricia realized that many KC parents were struggling to find answers to their school-related questions and ended up moving from the city. Tricia founded Show Me KC Schools to help parents find the right information and the right school for their child, right here in Kansas City. In 2020, Tricia joined United Way of Greater Kansas City as their Director of Education Initiatives and is pleased to watch the continuous growth of Show Me KC Schools as a board member. Tricia enjoys jogs on the Trolley Trail, rousing games of UNO with her children, and discovering Kansas City’s many great neighborhoods.

Dalton Mott

Treasurer

Dalton Mott

Dalton Mott is an attorney at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP in the environmental group. Dalton lives in the Kansas City area with his wife and baby girl Hazel. He also serves on the board of directors of Inclusion Connections, Inc., a nonprofit, that provides educational services to young adults with disabilities.

Susana Elizarraraz

Secretary

Susana Elizarraraz

Susana Elizarraraz is an educator from & in the community where she’s lived her whole life, Northeast Kansas City, Missouri. She has committed to the work of urban education since she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Urban Education from UMKC. She began teaching 6th grade at a school in her home neighborhood. In 2017, she then graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language from Webster University.

After teaching for 5 years, the systematic problems in education were as clear as ever & they encouraged her to make a move. She has more recently been committed to equity in education, especially now through her work with the Latinx Education Collaborative. As the VP of Educator Supports of the LEC, she works to increase Latinx educator representation in K-12 classrooms by establishing & fostering relationships amongst all community stakeholders to promote equitable access to Latinx educators, thus working toward an equitable education for all students.

Cornell Ellis

Board Member

Cornell Ellis

Cornell Ellis is a native to Kansas City and is a product of a diverse Kansas City public and private education. After graduating from Rockhurst High School he played football at the University of Missouri-Columbia for two seasons. While in college, Cornell began his passion for education and justice. He became the Director at Boys and Girls Club Teen Center in Columbia, MO, while also managing curriculum for trauma informed English Language Arts practices at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Cornell received his Bachelors of Arts in History from Avila University with a specialization in Ancient World Studies. After graduating, Cornell taught, managed, instructional coached and worked in administrative duties for 8 years. Through his teaching success he was able to participate in and lead advanced professional development opportunities like the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) and Better Lessons Master Teacher program. Through Cornell’s passion and vision, he helped found AMPLIFY! Teachers of Color Conference and Brothers Liberating Our Communities (BLOC), which both exist to sustain and increase teachers of color in education. Cornell uses his educational and professional experience to provide a strong understanding of equitable and justice centered surroundings for schools and leaders through public speaking and consultation with his LLC– Eggshells Inc.. It has been Cornell’s goal in his career to create safe spaces for difficult conversations around race and equity. By curating liberatory curricula, creating anti racist professional development, and providing school systems with supplemental tools for teacher evaluation, Cornell aims to make all schools places where all teachers can thrive and all students can achieve.

Dr. Kia Turner Ed.D

Board Member

Dr. Kia Turner Ed.D

Dr. Kia Turner Ed.D is President of Red Apple Education, a Kansas City based non-profit that partners with K-12 public school systems to elevate marginalized parent voices, create on ramps for authentic parent engagement and ensure student school and workplace success. As President of Red Apple EdCo, Dr. Turner has helped organizations revamp their theories of change, core values and strategic plans as well as analyze their data and operational processes, using a more inclusive asset based lens.

Torey Everette

Board Member

Torey Everette

Torey Everette is an educator and has been in the field of education for 20 years. Originally from South Louisiana, she has had the privilege of teaching in three states and understands the importance of parents having access to relevant information pertaining to their children’s education. Torey feels that the mission of Show Me KC Schools goes hand in hand with her belief that equitable education should be provided to all.

Torey is happy to call Kansas City home, and has spent the majority of her teaching career here, in the Metro area. Torey received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Southern University and A&M College, and a Masters of Education from Webster University. Torey also serves on the board of directors of the Southern University Alumni Chapter, Kansas City.

In her spare time, Torey enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and children.

Our Supportive Funders