Board Meetings

The Independence USD 446 Board of Education meetings are normally held on the second Monday of each month, beginning at 7:00 PM in the Independence High School Community Room, 1301 N. 10th St., Independence.

The general public is always invited to attend all board meetings, except executive sessions.  Anyone wishing to appear on the agenda should contact the Superintendent of Schools prior to the meeting and state the reason(s) for the request.  The superintendent will determine whether the request can be solved by staff without appearance of the patron before the board.  If not, the patron's request will be placed on the agenda of the next regular board meeting.

Any questions or concerns regarding board meetings and procedures may be directed to Rusty Arnold, Superintendent of Schools at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or (620) 332-1800.

 

USD  446 Board Members

 

Sam Blackard Profile Picture

Sam Blackard

President of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(620) 205-9292

Sam is a product of USD 446 and moved back to Independence with his wife Mindy in 2004. They have two children, Andrew and Lauren who attend Jefferson School and Independence Middle School. Sam believes "serving on your local school board is one of the most important civic duties one can undertake and having a strong school system is vital for Independence." Sam is involved with the Montgomery County Action Council, member of the First Church of the Nazarene and serves as Executive Vice President of Peoples State Bank in Cherryvale. Hobbies include running, fishing, and spending time with his family. Sam was appointed to the USD 446 Board of Education September 2016. He was elected President July 2021.

 

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Scott Hines

Vice President of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(620) 988-0326

Scott and his wife, Denise, have a son and two daughters currently enrolled in the USD 446 public school system. Scott was raised in Independence and is a product of the USD 446 schools. Scott and his family returned to Independence in 2007 after spending 10 years in the Kansas City area. Scott is currently Vice Presdient and Chief Financial Officer for Medicalodges, Inc. "I am very excited to have the oppurtunity to serve our community as a member of the USD 446 Board. It is an honor to be able to give back to the school system that has served me and my family for many past years and future years to come." Scott has been a member of the Independence USD 446 Board since 2014. He was elected to the Vice President role July 2021.

 

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Charles Barker, Sr. 

Member of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(620) 331-7431

Charles and his wife, Arie, have three children and five grandchildren. Charles is a local pastor and has served the community through his ministry since returning to Independence in 1991. He has worked in the school district in various capacities including mentoring and being a positive role model. His primary objective is to help promote the value of education and create a positive learning environment. "My goal is for students to maximize their potential to learn and achieve at the highest possible level." Charles has been a member of the Independence USD 446 Board since 2009.

 

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Greg Hennen

Member of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(620) 330-4051

Greg has lived in Independence, Kansas since January 1989 when he came to work as a therapist in the local community mental health center (CMHC). He and his wife, Marci, have two college-aged girls, Bailey and Ashlyn, who are both products of the USD 446 school system. Additionally, Marci presently serves within the district as a 6th grade Math teacher at the Independence Middle School. "Early social and academic success is pivotal in establsihing the trajectory of young lives and research shows that effective teachers are the most important factor contributing to student achievement. It is a critical mission of the Board to ensure effective teaching and learning environments are ever-present and I am excited to be a part of something with such generational impact." Greg presently serves as Executive Director of Four County Mental Health Center, Inc., is President of the state Association of CMHC's of Kansas, and serves on the Juvenile Corrections Advisory Boards for both Montgomery and Cowley counties. Greg begas as a member of the USD 446 Board of Education in January 2020.

 

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Jen Rutledge

Member of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(316) 641-4378

Jen and her husband Jason have two children in the Independence school system and one attending college. The Rutledge family relocated to the Independence area in 2009 and have been actively involved in the community since that time. Jen currently works at Apricot Lane, is on the Leadership Independence Board, and volunteers time in her children's schools. "I love being involved in the community and in the schools. There are so many great things about Independence and the oppurtunities for young people are numerous. I am eager to serve on the School Board, and am excited about the future of our children, even in these tough times financially." Jen has been a member of the Independence USD 446 Board since 2015. 

 

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Melissa Small

Member of the Independence USD 446 Board of  Education

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(620) 331-9368

Melissa and her husband Duane own Winkleman's Wholesale and Retail Garden Center, several rental properties, and she is an independent Rodan and Fields Consultant. They have four boys in the USD 446 school system, ranging from third to seventh grade. Melissa graduated from USD 446 and Kansas State University. She is currently active on the PTO and Site Council at Jefferson Elementary. "As a board member, I value open communication with teachers and students. I want to help the Independence school system give each student the opportunity to be a self-sufficient person and positive contributor to our society." Melissa has been a USD 446 Board of Education member since January 2019.

 

Lori Wesselowski30   

Lori Wesselowski

Member of the Independence USD 446 Board of Education

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(620) 330-6084

Lori has lived in Independence since 1993. She and her husband, Barry, have three children Erin, Alex, and Anna. Erin and Alex are graduates of Independence High School and Anna is a current student. Lori is involved in many organizations serving the children in the community including First Leadership, Entrepreneurship / Junior Achievement, Independence Children's Summer Theater, and as a school volunteer. "Having three kids, I get to see first hand what is going on in the schools. I do not hesitate to become involved in their activities as well as other volunteer opportunities. 446 is a great district and I am excited to serve on the Board and help make decisions that will positively impact the kids." Lori has been a USD 446 Board of Education member since January 2013.