Kuna School Board Council Republican Voter Guide

Hillary Lowe

I am seeking the Zone 1 Trustee position for the Kuna School District and humbly ask for your vote. I am motivated to serve, not by specific issues, but by principles that I believe will determine the success of our schools and community.

I believe that as the governing body, the Board of Trustees should lead the district by asking hard questions, listening to stakeholders, making purposeful decisions, and wholeheartedly supporting students, families, and educators. I believe that parental involvement is a foundational principle for the success of students and communities and that schools should focus primarily on traditional values in education.

My life experience and skills qualify me to serve in this role.

A Fully Involved Parent:

My connection with the Kuna School District begins with my experience as a parent. My oldest, Brooklyn, started kindergarten at Crimson Point Elementary in 2008, graduated from Kuna High School as the Salutatorian, and is currently in her second year at Brigham Young University. Max and Blake are currently students at Kuna High and Freemont Middle Schools. My roles within the district have included serving as the Crimson Point PTA President, Treasurer, and serving on the Principal Selection Committee and Principal Advisory Team as well as organizing many events such as 8th Grade getaways, Self-manager parties, and food drives.

As a parent, I know that I am responsible for holding teachers and administrators accountable for the time they steward with my children. That is best done when I have established a relationship of supporting the classroom.

As a trustee, I will apply the same principles of support and accountability.

A Business and Property Owner:

In addition to my role as a parent, I am also a business owner. My husband, Jim, and I own and operate Lowe Family Farmstead. In this capacity, I am not only responsible for the farm’s overall strategy but also for leading a year-round management team and managing all public operations. My experience in this role has honed my decision-making skills, clear communication abilities, and conflict-resolution capabilities.

At Lowe Family Farmstead I hire, train, and manage hundreds of employees each year. I have witnessed firsthand the importance of a prepared workforce equipped with both hard and soft skills, technical abilities, and social awareness.

Running a successful farm requires strategic investments and careful evaluation of costs and benefits. As a property owner, I am keenly aware of the impact of taxes on individuals and businesses. I understand the delicate balance between competing interests and the importance of private property rights.

As a Trustee, my business experience will be a valuable asset as we decide the best way to invest in the future of our community and as we balance competing financial and policy interests.

A Skilled Decision-Maker:

My decision-making approach is firmly rooted in logic and clear communication. I value diverse voices, ensuring that all perspectives are heard and considered. I am not one to shy away from adapting and changing course when necessary, but I stand solid in my commitment to pursuing the correct course of action, even in the face of criticism.

As a Trustee, I will apply these decision-making skills to the benefit of the stakeholders of the Kuna School District. I will approach each issue with an open mind, a discerning eye, and a commitment to making the best possible decision for our students and community.

Thank you for considering my candidacy.


  • Leadership: The Board of Trustees is the decision-making body for the policy and should set the direction of the Kuna School District, not respond to it.  As a Trustee, I will ask hard questions, listen intently, and make decisions for the good of the students and community.  Clear communication is important, including listening to stakeholders.  I will prioritize logic over emotion in making decisions.  
  • Parental Involvement: The proper role of public schools is to support the family in educating children.  Policies and practices should allow and encourage parental involvement in every step of their children’s education.
  • Financial Responsibility: The operation of the Kuna School District requires a substantial investment from taxpayers.  I will direct those resources where they will make the most impact on students, reduce waste and inefficiencies, and plan wisely for the future.  If required, bonds and levies should be presented to voters with full transparency.  I value private property rights and recognize the effects of property taxes on school district stakeholders. 
  • Support and Accountability: I intend for Kuna to be the district of choice for the best quality teachers and administrators.  I will wholeheartedly support those who serve our children and hold them accountable for equally high standards. 

JD Grant

I am a native of Idaho and have been a resident of Kuna for the past 16 years.  Throughout this time, I have wholeheartedly committed myself to this community, consistently seeking opportunities to serve.  My decision to establish my dental practice in Kuna reflects my deep affection for this community, and I have diligently worked to witness its development and prosperity.  Furthermore, I am proud to say that I am raising my children here, and all four of them have received their education within the Kuna School District.  In my spare time, I have been actively engaged in volunteer work and have dedicated myself to serving in various capacities.  I have dedicated the past nine years to volunteer service on the school board, fostering valuable relationships and gaining insight into the requirements of educators and community members to facilitate meaningful and sustainable improvements.  My commitment extends to the youth of this community, where I am intentionally involved to stay connected and comprehend their diverse needs.  I have coached youth football for 26 seasons, track for 12 seasons, youth basketball for 12 seasons, and actively participated in the scouting community for 8 years.  In addition to my community involvement, I have prioritized my own education, culminating in the attainment of my doctorate degree.  I firmly believe that education is the cornerstone of personal growth, and I have devoted significant time to establishing relationships and fostering meaningful connections that support our community’s progress through educational initiatives.


  • Decrease class sizes
  • Increase test scores and improve education
  • Ensure accountability among district employees, promoting fiscal responsibility and adherence to policies


Facebook: JD Grant

Instagram: JD Grant

Kristi Hardy

Hello, fellow Republicans!

I’m Kristi Hardy, and I’m excited to share my vision for our schools and community as I run for a position on the school board. As parents, we all want to see our kids thrive and grow into prosperous adults. This shared goal is what drives my passion for contributing to our local education system.

Being an Idahoan for over 30 years, my roots run deep in our community. My husband Ryan and I moved here fifteen years ago. We are invested in this town, not only because of my husband’s small business but because of the strong bonds we’ve formed with our fellow residents. It’s a wonderful place to raise our four children, and we envision them continuing this legacy by raising their own families here someday. My husband and I are parents of four children who have attended 7 of the 11 Kuna schools. I’m particularly proud of our three Kuna High School graduates who excelled in different career technical programs.

I wear many hats – Christian, Republican, Leader, Teacher, Volunteer, and Business owner.

My small shop in Kuna, Cinderella Dress Rentals, on Main Street, is more than just a business. It reflects my dedication to providing affordable, modest formal wear options for young women. I enjoy serving moms and teens in my community with this boutique.

Starting in my early teens, I embarked on a path that led me to become a dedicated preschool educator. My commitment began with six years of fostering growth within community co-op style preschools, which commenced in 2002. Building on this foundation, I took a bold step and established Hardy House Preschool, dedicating three years (beginning in 2009) to developing and nurturing young minds in my home. More recently, I lent my expertise as a community advocate to the Kuna Early Learning Collaborative for two years spanning 2021 to 2023. During the 2022-23 school year, I embraced the role of a substitute preschool teacher at My Place Preschool, where I contributed to the growth and development of children from families navigating the challenging terrain between the federal poverty level and the basic cost of living.

Volunteering has been a significant part of my life. I regularly attend and volunteer at my church, leading women’s and children’s organizations. I love to get involved and get things done! 

25-year Church Youth Teacher and Leader

Superintendents’ Advisory Committee

Kuna High School Parent Advisory Committee

Kuna Early Learning Collaborative Member

Fremont Middle School Parent Advisory Committee

Booster President Kuna High School Swim Team

Kuna Middle School Select Lacrosse Board member

Kuna School District Capital Planning Committee

Cub Scout leader

Chaperone for countless school field trips

The challenges of the COVID-19 lockdowns highlighted the need for proactive advocacy. Leading the parent action group, Kuna School District Parents for Secondary Students Back to Full Time, demonstrated my determination to ensure our children’s education remains a priority even during uncertain times. I am proud to say we accomplished our goal, and secondary students were given the option to return to full-time classes. Many kids were blessed by our efforts as evidenced by the fact that 80% of Kuna Middle School parents chose the full-time option.

I’m dedicated to representing you and ensuring your voice is heard on the school board. Let’s build a brighter future for Kuna’s students, one with limitless potential.



  • Better Parental Partnerships: Parental Rights is something I never thought I would have to fight for in Idaho schools. This is our reality. The Idaho Parental Rights Act recognizes an unalienable right that parents have “to nurture and direct their children’s destiny, including their upbringing and education.” Sadly, administrators and bureaucrats ignore this too often. We need to make sure the law is honored in Kuna schools. I want to see parents welcomed into buildings, able to participate in any committees that interest them, and able to observe in the classroom. These are not current, widespread practices in Kuna schools.
  • Improved Policies & Transparency: Policies must be put in place that make parents feel safe sending their kids to public school. Transparency is the key to building trust. Parents have the right to know what’s going on in their children’s schools and have the protection of policy against unwelcome agendas. Last year I helped found Parents for Policy Change, a parent action group. Our mission statement is “We seek for policy preserving traditional family values and parental rights in education through partnerships. We aim to mobilize parents in civil discourse towards this goal with educators, trustees and legislators”.
  • Greater Fiscal Responsibility: Being a wise steward of public funds is essential to me. I am ready to ask the hard questions about how hard-working taxpayers’ money is spent. Together, we can make sure every dollar is used responsibly. Gaining the community’s trust will ensure that bonds for additional buildings will pass the scrutiny necessary to gain public support.
  • Increased Student Achievement: Our kids deserve a quality education; it’s what we all expect. Unfortunately, student achievement in Kuna has been stagnant for too long. Since 2016, our scores consistently fall behind State averages in math and language arts. Last year, Kuna School District’s 6th-grade math ISAT scores were at 22% proficient. This means that most of these kids do not have mastery of the necessary skills for their grade. The State of Idaho has recently identified Kuna Middle School as a school that needs comprehensive support and improvement due to underperformance across multiple indicators and consistently low achievement. We need to address this head-on to improve student outcomes for our children.

Russell Johnson

I grew up in a small town in Northern Wyoming.  My parents were teachers and farmers/ranchers.  My parents were among the first who attended college in their families.  I was well aware 0f how hard they had to work to make that happen. I am the oldest of 4, and grew up enjoying all the outdoor activities that rural life offers including horses, hunting, fishing, etc.  Those interests have continued throughout my life.  I went to college for a year at Utah State University, spent a couple of years in central Illinois, then graduated from Utah State in 1990.

I then attended J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and graduated from Law School in 1993.  I went to work for a small firm in Pocatello.  After a short time in Pocatello, we came to Boise and worked at a firm here.  In 1998, my partner and I started our own firm, and we have continued as partners since that time.

In our firm, we focus on helping real people with their problems and disputes and do not work for corporations.  In 2019, I was appointed to a position on the School Board and was elected to a full term in 2019.

My wife Rhonda and I just celebrated our 35th anniversary.  We have 5 kids, a bonus niece who we raised, and 5, (soon to be 6) nearly-perfect grandkids.  My kids all graduated from Kuna.  They participated and had great experiences in a wide variety of things, including sports, FFA, theater, and choir.  I am very happy with their experience and want to do everything I can to make Kuna schools the best we can be, and provide every possible experience and opportunity.


  • Keeping taxes as low as possible while still providing places to learn and quality education for all students in the district.  Over the last 4 years, the levy rate has dropped substantially, and we have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars in interest while shortening the loan terms by several years using strategies such as “defeasance” on our bonds.  We did not ask for a “learning levy” last spring, even though we were eligible to do so.  We used funds we saved over the last few years to avoid having to ask for a levy.  As we continue to grow, the need for funding will be there, but I am committed to be as conservative as possible in what we ask our taxpayers to carry.
  • Improve Kuna student’s readiness for real life by continuing to innovate and provide a variety of opportunities including CTE, workplace training, traditional college prep and other innovative and unique solutions.  Our administrators have been very active in obtaining grants and using all funding sources available to creatively lessen the burden on taxpayers, while still expanding our ability to give students opportunities and experiences such as ambulance simulators, diesel mechanics, building trades, and continuing our excellence in other areas such as FFA.
  • Continue to improve our relationship with cities, counties, and planning agencies to obtain mitigation and help with our growth issues.  Some developers have been great about seeing the need to help.  Others have not.  We would like to continue to effectively express why it is in a developer’s interest to be active partners with us. 


 Over the last year and a half or so, the relationship between the city of Kuna and the School District has greatly improved.  Since “impact fees” are not available to us under current law, we have worked hard to increase our communication, to work on common goals, and to use tools such as the Local Land Use Planning Act that already exist to help deal with our growth issues. 

Growth issues are unlikely to go away any time soon.  Kuna is a desirable place to live and raise a family, and for that reason, growth is very likely to continue.  We need to use all the resources and tools available to help us with those challenges and look for partners to help us with new tools and strategies.

I would like the opportunity to continue the work that has been started and is moving forward on these issues.

Michael Thornton

Hello Kuna Community, my name is Michael Thornton, and I am running for School Board Zone 5 this fall. I am excited to share a few things about myself and why I am running.

I am a fourth-generation Kuna native and feel blessed to share this community and schools with my kids. I attended and graduated from Kuna and loved learning and growing in our incredible schools here. After high school, I attended Utah State University, where I received a bachelor’s degree. After that, I attended the University of Idaho and received a master’s degree in agriculture-related subjects.

While in college, I met my wife, Katelynn, and we have since added four children to our family. Three of them attend Hubbard Elementary and enjoy school as much as I did. After college I worked for a farm in Jerome, ID, until an opportunity presented itself to come back to the family farm to work beside my grandpa, dad, and brother. We currently farm sugar beets, wheat, corn, beans, alfalfa seed, hay, and sod. I am excited to have returned to this wonderful community and hope to continue the legacy my grandparents and great-grandparents started.

My grandparents were great examples to me and are a big reason why I am running for the school board. They were both involved with the community; they helped get the Boys and Girls Club going and donated land for the school district to use for future development. My grandmother also taught in Kuna and was a former board member.

I am also running for school board because I want to give back to our community and school district that helped me prepare for my future. It is important to me that my kids are given the same opportunities to succeed and one day give back to our community. It is also important that we plan for the future here in Kuna. Kuna has changed since I was a student, and we must provide a future where our kids can be taught the education they need.


  • Parent involvement, Policies, Student Achievement: Parents should know what their children are being taught and should help drive and improve upon the policies within our district; they are the ones who know what is best for their children. Our kids deserve a quality education that begins with parent involvement and beneficial policies that allow parents to feel safe about sending their children to school. These policies should focus on education and allow for transparency within our system. I believe we can get so caught up in the politics of it all that we can forget our purpose.
  • Fiscal responsibility: Kuna has grown tremendously in the last ten years. With that comes the need to expand and make room for an increase in numbers at our schools. We must be responsible and transparent with taxpayers’ dollars first and then pursue other funding options that address the district’s needs, such as classrooms and repairs to existing buildings.
  • Property Taxes: As a farmer and a large property owner, I feel the effect of increased property taxes more than most people. As a business owner, I’m knowledgeable about the effects of taxes on individuals and businesses. I am skilled at evaluating costs and benefits to balance the needs of competing interests. I understand the importance of private property rights, low taxes, and the value of investing in the future of our community.