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Ward Cassidy is the Executive Director for Kansas School Board Resource Center. In this role, Ward provides school board members with tailored information, advice, and policy collaboration that prioritizes the needs of students and parents. Ward has a wealth of experience in Kansas education. He has been a teacher, coach, counselor, and a principal. Ward holds a Specialist in Education degree from Fort Hays State University. He has worked as an outreach instructor for Fort Hays State, teaching School and Community relations. From 2010-2014, he served in the state legislature, where his duties included Vice Chair of Education, Appropriations, and Education Budget Chairman. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the Secondary School Principals, and the Kansas Wildlife Association. After the legislature, Ward was employed by Northwest Kansas Technical College as an assistant vice president, where he aided the administration in completing accreditation requirements for the highly successful Ag Tech Program. Ward is on the scholarship committee for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation where he will continue to serve. E-mail Ward Here.

Ganon Evans is a Policy Manager and Analyst in the Kansas Policy Institute’s Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government. In this role, he is responsible for researching effective government policies to promote business growth across the Sunflower State. His interests include rural development, equitable tax policy, and free-market green energy policy. Ganon’s first work within the free-market movement began at Citizens Against Government Waste. At the American Conservation Coalition, a free-market environmental group, Ganon helped author the 2019 book Green Market Revolution and contributed to legislation such as the Great American Outdoors Act. Ganon graduated summa cum laude and with Honors with degrees in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Iowa in May 2021. In his free time, Ganon volunteers for the Academic Competition Federation and Missouri Quiz Bowl Alliance.  E-mail Ganon here.

James Franko is the President of Kansas Policy Institute, assuming this role after serving in multiple roles with KPI since starting in 2010. In this role, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of an organization helping each Kansan pursue life, liberty, and happiness. The team has achieved multiple legislative accomplishments during James’ time at KPI including the passage and expansion of Kansas’ only private school choice program. Experience across the free-market movement and time on Capitol Hill help James understand that the challenges facing society are best solved when individuals and local communities are left to find solutions without undue interference from Topeka or Washington, DC. James has published opinion pieces in both national and Kansas-based media outlets, has appeared on radio and TV programs, and regularly speaks to groups around The Sunflower State. A native of Stilwell, James is graduate of Kansas State University where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and minored in economics. E-mail James here.

Ellen Hathaway is the Communications Director at Kansas Policy Institute. In this role she is responsible for crafting and delivering the overall messaging to the public, communicating the truth about policy issues affecting Kansans in their every-day. Prior to joining the KPI team, Ellen held various positions in the liberty movement. She recently led the marketing strategies for iVoterGuide where she was responsible for building innovative media platforms and digital assets designed to impact elections by increasing the informed vote in key state primary elections. Ellen oversaw the Political Management Team for a nationally renowned public relations firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ellen also worked for The Leadership Institute, in Arlington, VA where she taught a wide array of political workshops. Ellen served as a consultant for political campaigns ranging from small-town judicial races to holding campaign positions in presidential campaigns. Ellen is a Kansas native – raised in the Wichita area. Ellen attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas and graduated from East Texas Baptist University with a Bachelors in Secondary Education with an emphasis in American Government. E-mail Ellen here.

Samuel G. MacRoberts is General Counsel and Litigation Director for the Kansas Justice Institute. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Institute’s comprehensive litigation strategy.

Sam has litigated in state and federal courts since 2006. He has sued governments who overstepped their bounds in matters involving free speech and unlawful intrusions; defended countless people against the government; and fought to protect the rights of citizens, so they remain free to pursue the lives they wish.

Creativity and passion are his hallmarks and firmly believes that if you do not fight for your rights, you will lose them.

Sam was raised in Leawood, Kansas. He earned his Political Science and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Kansas. E-mail Sam here.

Patrick Richardson has been a working journalist since 1992 at community papers across Kansas and for the last 10 as an editor for papers in Southeast Kansas, Northeast Oklahoma, and Southwest Missouri. As a freelancer, he has also broken major stories for national outlets like PJ Media and The Daily Caller.

Richardson was born in Wichita and raised in Southwest Kansas and currently lives in extreme SE Kansas, with his wife, two Great Danes, English Bulldog and 10 grandchildren.

Jakob Shields is the Marketing and Outreach Manager at Kansas Policy Institute. Jakob works to spread free-market principles through targeted messaging and outreach strategies. Jakob manages KPI’s social media platforms and other digital communications. In his outreach role at KPI, he works to reach out to young professionals as well as coalition partners. Jakob is a native of Wichita and has spent his life involved in many local organizations and volunteering opportunities in the area. Jakob graduated from the University of Kansas, where he studied Political Science and Communications. Jakob is a former collegiate baseball player and is a graduate of the Academy at the Heritage Foundation, where he hopes to use his experience to promote the principles of freedom and liberty for his fellow Kansans. Jakob enjoys supporting the Chiefs, Royals, and Jayhawks in his free time. E-mail Jakob here. 

Dave Trabert is Chief Executive Officer of Kansas Policy Institute, where he also does research and writes on fiscal policy and education issues.  He is the lead author of the tax policy book What was Really the Matter with the Kansas Tax Plan. His other published work includes “A Five-Year Budget Plan for the State of Kansas,” “Student-Focused Funding Solutions for Public Education,” “Removing Barriers to Better Public Education,” “A Historical Perspective of State Aid, Tuition and Spending for State Universities in Kansas” and “Volume III: Analysis of K-12 Spending in Kansas,” a primer on K-12 finance.

Trabert was an appointed member of the Kansas K-12 Student Achievement and Efficiency Commission. He serves on the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force and co-chairs the Education Finance Joint Working Group for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

His commentaries have been published by The Wall Street Journal, National Review, Investor’s Business Daily, ForbesThe Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, RealClearPolicy, TheHill.com, and The Daily Caller.  His guest editorials have also been published in many Kansas newspapers, including the Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital-Journal, Hays Daily News, Kansas City Star, Hutchinson News, and the Manhattan Free Press.

He graduated cum laude from West Liberty University with a degree in Business Administration. E-mail Dave here.

Beth Wasko is the Development & Operations Coordinator at Kansas Policy Institute. She is responsible for daily operations in the Overland Park office. She also assists in the maintenance of KPI’s website and publishes KPI’s newsletters and other electronic communications. Born and raised in Overland Park, Beth graduated from K-State with a degree in marketing. Prior to joining KPI, she worked at American Century Investments for 15 years and as a freelance proofreader and editor. Beth enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, and is active in her church community and her children’s school.
E-mail Beth here.