Kelly nominates three to Board of Regents


Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday nominated a slate of three candidates to the Kansas Board of Regents, including the president of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, a Topeka banker and a Dodge City public school official.

Kelly nominated Blake Benson of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce; John Dicus, chairman and chief executive officer of Capitol Federal Savings; and Diane Mendoza, director of English to speakers of other languages and diversity at Dodge City Public Schools.

Kelly’s nominees, which need to be confirmed by the state Senate, would replace former Republican state Rep. Mark Hutton of Andover, former Democratic state Sen Allen Schmidt of Hays and former Democratic state Rep. Bill Feuerborn of Garnett.

The nominations, if confirmed, mean six of the nine members of the board will have been appointed by Kelly. However, three of those appointments expire next year.

Here’s background on the three candidates she nominated Tuesday:

Blake Benson: In addition serving as president of the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, Benson also serves on the board of directors for Ascension Via Christi Hospital-Pittsburg and the Pittsburg State University Foundation. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arkansas State University.

John B. Dicus: Chair, CEO and president of Capitol Federal Savings, where he has worked for 37 years. He also serves as a trustee of the Washburn University Foundation, as an executive committee trustee of the University of Kansas Endowment Association, and as the current board chair of the Greater Topeka Partnership. Dicus is a graduate of Topeka West High School and received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Kansas and master’s in business administration from the University of Kansas.

Diana Mendoza: Director of ESOL and diversity at Dodge City Public Schools. Mendoza has been in public education for more than 20 years, serving as a teacher, instructional coach and district-level director. She received an associate degree from Dodge City Community College, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Kansas State.