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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors has endorsed Allen Kunkel and Alina Lehnert for two open seats on the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education.
The decision was made Feb. 16 following an extensive, member-driven process in which the Chamber’s School Board Candidate Endorsement Task Force surveyed and interviewed all five candidates vying for two three-year terms on the April 5 ballot.
“Our endorsements represent the best of the best,” Chamber president Matt Morrow said. “Strong governance of the district equals a strong school district which translates to a strong, vibrant community.”
As a business organization, the Chamber sees outstanding school leaders as a critical aspect to solving the challenge of workforce development. “Quality board members understand that students must be prepared with skills and training matched to the rapidly changing needs of the workplace,” Morrow said.
Allen Kunkel a good choice for SPS Board of Education (Springfield News-Leader)
Vote Allen Kunkel on April 5 (Springfield News-Leader)
Lehnert has what it takes for spot on school board (Springfield News-Leader)
More about our endorsed candidates
Allen is associate vice president for economic development at Missouri State University as well as director of Jordan Valley Innovation Center. His profession in economic development centers on workforce and business. Much of his community involvement is tied to the same: Workforce Investment Board, Downtown Community Improvement District, PTA, and others.
Allen’s previous civic experiences include leadership positions with Springfield Public Schools Foundation, Discovery Center of Springfield and Rotary Club of Springfield North. He received his Master’s degree in public administration and is a certified economic developer.
Allen is a founding board member of Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS), the new career exploration program for high school students in 12 school districts, launched this academic year.
“I firmly believe the quality of the public school system is directly connected to the success of a community, and vice versa,” Allen said. “I want to ensure SPS continues to be as strong as it can be, which translates to an economically successful community.”
The father to three Springfield Public Schools students, Allen has been actively engaged in many school district projects.
Visit Allen's website!
Alina owns her own small business, Lehnert Leadership Group, LLC, where she does leadership training, develops curriculum and coaches business professionals. As part of the Chamber’s Community Leadership Visits, she traveled to peer cities, exploring their successes and challenges. She has integrated these experiences to her professional work and to community service with Leadership Springfield and other groups.
With a Ph.D. in organizational leadership, Alina taught at the higher education level for 10 years. She launched leadership development programs at Evangel University and often speaks on leadership topics at conferences.
Alina is heavily involved in Leadership Springfield where, as past president and current board member, she has enhanced programming with the goal that participants understand when they graduate how their strengths can benefit the community.
“Our public school system plays an important role in the overall health and wellbeing of our community and region,” Alina said. “Investment in all levels of education is critical to creating a highly skilled workforce and thriving community. Our schools are our greatest asset.”
Alina served on the City of Springfield’s Education and Workforce Development committee and is active in Glendale High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association.
Visit Alina's website!