For Immediate Release: August 16, 2016
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, 703.740.4841,

Michigan Board Member Kathleen Straus Honored for Unwavering Commitment to Education

Alexandria, Va. – Kathleen N. Straus, a member of the Michigan State Board of Education for nearly 25 years, will receive NASBE’s David Kysilko Award for her steadfast dedication to state boards of education and their important work.

First elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 1992, Straus has served three eight-year terms on the board, including six two-year terms as board president. She has also been vice president and secretary of the Michigan board. An active member of NASBE, Straus has served on the NASBE board of directors as central area director as well as on the Government Affairs Committee and several study groups.

During her time on the board, she has worked to raise achievement for all students and has advocated for services that promote the social, emotional, and physical health of students and their families. A strong supporter of the arts, she is also a frequent visitor to schools, classrooms, and community gatherings, where she spends time discussing educational policy and reform efforts.

“Kathleen exemplifies the values of NASBE—her unwavering commitment to state boards and education has benefitted thousands of students, educators, parents, and community members throughout Michigan over decades of service,” says John C. Austin, current president of the Michigan State Board of Education.

Straus served on the State Board for Public Junior and Community Colleges prior to being elected to the state board of education, as a Michigan representative to the Education Commission of the States, and as a delegate to the Congressional Conference on Civic Education. She was staff director of the Michigan Senate Education Committee, director of governmental relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards, and president of the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit.

An active member of her community, Straus was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and the Advisory Board of the American Jewish Committee. She was a long-time trustee of the Detroit Science Center and Communities in Schools in Detroit. She is a past president of the League of Women Voters of Detroit and continues to actively promote informed citizen participation.

Straus is the recipient of numerous awards: the McCree Award for Advancement of Social Justice by the Federal Bar Association, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Anti-Defamation League, the Champion for Children Award from the Michigan Association of School Administrators, the Educational Leadership Award of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals, and the American Civil Liberties Union Morrie Gleicher Award in support of civil rights. She has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Hunter College, the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Michigan Education Hall of Fame.

“For more than a quarter century, Kathleen Straus has exhibited unwavering commitment to Michigan’s schools and Michigan’s students. Her work within the state has also led to improvements in education across the nation,” said Kristen Amundson, executive director of NASBE. “She is a true national education leader.”

The 2016 David Kysilko Award will be presented this October at NASBE’s national conference in Kansas City, MO. Learn more about the conference.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, promote excellence in the education of all students, and ensure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at