Meet the Board

         2021 Board of Education President Sara Clark Pierson


Mrs. Clark Pierson is an Administrative Law Specialist with the Office of Tax Policy, Michigan Department of Treasury. She is an attorney and a certified public accountant. Sara earned her Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University (Boston). Sara and her husband, David, returned to the Grand Ledge area in 1990, but her family history in the community is extensive. Along with Sara, three generations of her family have graduated from Grand Ledge Public Schools including her parents, her nine brothers and sisters and her three children. She has also served on the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, Public Health Board, the Tri-County Mental Health Board, and Capital Region Foundation Board and was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels for 10 years.  Sara has served on the Grand Ledge Board of Education since 2002.  Her current term expires December 30, 2022.



Mr. Smith is a member of the national law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC, focusing on public finance and economic development. After law school and for 12 years prior to joining Dykema, Jarrod was an Assistant Attorney General in the Michigan Attorney General’s office working with the State on numerous public finance transactions including those involving many of the State’s school districts.  Mr. Smith coached various youth sports within the district for several years.  He received a J.D., cum laude, and a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Applications, with a specialization in environmental economics, from Michigan State University.  Jarrod and his wife, a teacher within the district, have lived in the district for over 15 years and have 3 children - 2 current comets, and 1 former comet now in his 2nd year of college. His current term expires December 30, 2024.

          2021 Board of Education Secretary Nicole Shannon


Ms. Shannon is an attorney with the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative, where she provides pro bono legal representation for older adults and adults with disabilities. Ms. Shannon has a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan. Ms. Shannon and her husband are proud graduates of Grand Ledge High School. They have two daughters in the district. Ms. Shannon was elected in November 2020 to a term that expires December 31, 2026.

        2021 Board of Education Trustee Jon Shiflett


Mr. Shiflett currently serves as a Policy Advisor to the Michigan Senate and is a licensed attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Michigan State University and received his Juris Doctorate from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2010. He and his wife are both proud graduates of Grand Ledge High School and have one child. Mr. Shiflett was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education in May 2012 and won the November 2012 election to fill the remainder of the vacancy through 2014. In November 2014 Mr. Shiflett won re-election on the Board of Education, and again in 2018. His current term expires December 30, 2024..

     2021 Board of Education Trustee Denise DuFort  



Longtime community members and retired educator, Denise and her husband Dean have been residents of Grand Ledge for over 35 years.  Their two children went through Grand Ledge Public Schools.  Denise worked as a teaching assistant and library secretary for many years before returning to school and graduating from Oakland University with a degree in Elementary Education, returning to Grand Ledge Public Schools, this time as a reading and classroom teacher.  During her 12-year teaching career, Mrs. DuFort attained her reading specialist master's degree from MSU.  She retired from teaching in 2015, and began serving on the board in 2017.  Her current term expires December 30, 2022.

        2021 Board of Education Trustee Patrick McKennon


Mr. McKennon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Hillsdale College, a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education from Oakland University and has completed education administration coursework at Michigan State University.  He currently teaches 7th grade Social Studies at MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing.  Mr. McKennon has served on the State of Michigan Teacher Tenure Board since 2015.  Patrick and his wife, Jamie, are both graduates of Grand Ledge High School.  His wife teaches third grade in the district, and their sons are Comets!  Mr. McKennon is a member of the Grand Ledge Varsity Football coaching staff, is a volunteer coach for many recreation teams, and was a team captain in the rebuilding of the Wacousta Dream Depot 2.0 playground project.  Patrick began serving on the board in 2017.  Mr. McKennon won re-election in November 2020.  His current term expires December 30, 2026.  

         2021 Board of Education Trustee Ben Cwayna


Mr. Cwayna is currently the managing partner of Hicks, Millbrook and Cwayna, PLLC, a law firm in Grand Ledge focusing on estate planning, commercial litigation, real estate transactions, and general practice.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University and received his Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law in 2006.  Ben has lived in the Grand Ledge area since 2008.  He has served on the Downtown Development Authority and currently served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of Grand Ledge.  Ben has a deep interest in American history focusing on the Civil War, and participates as a living historian with a regional reenactment group which recreates historical battles and camp life for the general public.  The proud father of his son, Grant, who is currently a student in the district.  Ben looks forward to working for the betterment of the students of Grand Ledge Public Schools.  In January 2018, Ben was appointed to fill the remainder of a vacancy on the board through 2018.  In November 2018 Mr. Cwayna won re-election on the Board of Education.  His current term expires, December 30, 2024.

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