Seven candidates seek three positions on the Springfield Public Schools Board of Education in the April 2024 election. Pictured, from left (top row): Danielle Kincaid, Chad Rollins, Susan Provance, Scott Crise, (bottom row) Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, Landon McCarter and Maryam Mohammadkhani. (Hauxeda file photos, illustration by Rance Burger)

The Springfield chapter of a national group dealing with civil rights has weighed in on the seven-way race for the Springfield Board of Education.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Springfield chapter released a scorecard on how the seven candidates ranked on key issues the NAACP identified.

Incumbents Danielle Kincaid, Scott Crise and Maryam Mohammadkhani are running against challengers Landon McCarter, Susan Provance, Kyler Sherman-Wilkins and Chad Rollins. Election day is on April 2; voters will make three picks and the winners will serve three-year terms.

NAACP Springfield President Kai Sutton said all seven candidates participated in the process by filling out a questionnaire. The chapter gave its most favorable rankings to Kincaid and Sherman-Wilkins.

Using a series of green, yellow and red lights, NAACP Springfield scored and ranked each candidate and their stance on whether they met the group’s expectations or not. Each candidate was graded based on five topics: achievement gaps, improvement plan, banned books, safety and diversity, equity and inclusion measures.

“We scored each candidate based on their responses and past perspectives shared with the community,” Sutton said. “A yellow light basically said that we heard them but we still have some concerns, while a red light shows that they do not meet the values or expectations we are hoping for.”

This scorecard was shared with NAACP Springfield members and published to the group's Facebook page. (Image courtesy NAACP Springfield)

According to the NAACP scorecard:

  • Kincaid and Sherman-Wilkins received green lights across the board.
  • Provance received all greens except for a yellow on banned books.
  • Crise received yellows for improvement plan and DEI, with greens in the other three.
  • McCarter received a green for achievement gaps and yellows in all others.
  • Rollins received all three marks: He earned reds for safety and DEI, yellows for improvement plan and banned books, and a green for achievement gaps.
  • Mohammadkhani received reds for improvement plan, banned books and DEI, and yellows for achievement gaps and safety.

Nationally, the NAACP has advocated in favor of stronger protections for minority groups. It has protested against book bans that remove titles dealing with the country’s racial history, and against removing DEI training in school systems.

Sherman-Wilkins is the first vice-president of the Springfield chapter, and school board member Shurita Thomas-Tate is a member-at-large of the group’s leadership team.

Year marked by disagreements

Mirroring national trends where education about racial history and transgender rights have been targeted, the NAACP Springfield has been vocal about the board of education’s direction over the past year, as board members wrangled with actions and decisions related to issues about racism, gender and sexuality.

In February of 2023 Mohammadkhani was accused of disrupting a presenter at an event co-created by the NAACP, Missouri State University and Springfield Public Schools. In the aftermath, the board voted to remove Mohammadkhani’s title of vice-president.

Sherman-Wilkins over the past year has spoken at board meetings in favor of a resolution supporting LGBTQ students and about other issues related to race and gender identity. The board decided against crafting such a resolution in July. During that meeting, Sherman-Wilkins and NAACP Springfield member Cheryl Clay were singled out by board member Steve Makoski, who accused the two of spreading a divisive agenda.

Sutton said the group is not raising any money to campaign in the school board race. It is a participant in the Informed Voter Coalition, a group of colleges, media and community groups providing information about school board candidates across the region. It is led by the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri.

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or More by Joe Hadsall