Governor Laura Kelly Appoints Three Members of the Kansas Board of Regents

TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly appointed Blake Benson, John B. Dicus, and Diana Mendoza to the Kansas Board of Regents.

“Blake, John, and Diana bring a depth of knowledge and a diverse set of professional expertise that will serve our students well,” Governor Kelly said. “I look forward to collaborating with them and the rest of the Board of Regents to further strengthen our higher education system, prepare our students for careers of the future, and expand our state’s workforce to drive economic growth.”

Blake Benson is the President of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, where for 16 years he has worked with higher education partners to further the economic development of Southeast Kansas and provide students with quality career opportunities. Benson also serves on the Board of Directors for Ascension Via Christi Hospital-Pittsburg and the Pittsburg State University Foundation. He received a B.S. in Journalism from Arkansas State University.

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John B. Dicus is the Chairman, 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 B.S. in Business from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from the University of Kansas.

Diana Mendoza is the Director of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Diversity at Dodge City Public Schools, USD 443. Mendoza has been in public education for more than 20 years, serving as a teacher, instructional coach, and district-level director. In her role, Mendoza works with teachers to develop best practices for working with diverse populations and serves as a community resource for students and families. She received an A.A. from Dodge City Community College, a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Kansas State University.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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