Iowa State Board of Education Members
The Iowa State Board of Education consists of ten members: nine voting members who are appointed by the governor for six-year terms and subject to Senate confirmation; and one nonvoting student member who serves a one-year term, also appointed by the governor.
Brooke Axiotis, President
Brooke Axiotis of Des Moines joined the State Board in 2014. She is an attorney at Iowa Workforce Development. She is a member of the Iowa Bar. Her community activities involve the Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa Board, the Chair of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Board of Directors, and Links, Inc. She earned her law degree from Drake University.
Bettie Bolar, Vice President
Bettie Bolar of Marshalltown joined the State Board in 2016. She is self-employed as the Director of the Community Foundation of Marshall County. She has also served as Vice-Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education and Training, and Director of Special Projects and Health Education for Iowa Valley Community College; and as a public health nurse. She earned her RN nursing degree from Mercy Hospital of Nursing in Des Moines; a bachelor of science (health arts) degree from College of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois; and a master of science (higher education) from Iowa State University. Bolar has also been involved in several organizations and activities.
Joshua Byrnes of Osage was appointed to the State Board in 2018. He is the general manager of Osage Municipal Utilities. Josh spent 8.5 years teaching high school science and over 10 years as an administrator in the community college system. He was also an Iowa State Representative for three terms where he served as the Iowa House Transportation Chair. He received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Winona State University, a B.A. degree in biology from Luther College, and completed some Ph.D. coursework in educational leadership from Iowa State University.
Brian J. Kane
Brian J. Kane of Dubuque was appointed to the State Board in 2020. He is the President, Shareholder and Founder of Kane, Norby & Reddick, P.C. Brian has practiced law for 37 years and is a graduate of Loras College and the University of Iowa College of Law. He is also a CPA. Brian’s legal work is primarily in corporate and business, taxation, real estate and estate and trust planning. Brian has served on many local Catholic school boards of education and has participated as a board member, chair and president of many local charities.
Michael Knedler of Council Bluffs joined the State Board in May 2010. He taught in the areas of history, government and economics for 32 years at Iowa Western Community College before retiring in 2002. At that time he received the Iowa Outstanding Faculty Award from the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees. Since retirement, he has been involved in many other boards and community activities. Knedler received his Ph.D. in higher education from Iowa State University.
William "Mike" May
William "Mike" May of Spirit Lake was appointed to the State Board in May 2012. He is a retired teacher and owner of Triggs Bay Resort in Arnolds Park. He served as a state representative from 2005-2010 where he was ranking member of the House Education Committee. He received a bachelor's degree from Simpson College and a master's degree from Mankato State College.
John Robbins of Iowa Falls joined the State Board in 2020. He retired in 2019 as superintendent of schools in Iowa Falls and Alden after a tenure of 20 years. He was previously a high school principal in Iowa Falls, a secondary principal at CAL (Latimer), and teacher/athletic coach at CAL. Robbins has been actively engaged in school improvement for decades including leading efforts to embed improvement initiatives in his own school districts. Robbins holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University.
Georgia Van Gundy
Georgia Van Gundy of Waukee joined the State Board in 2020. She oversees multiple functions within Hy-Vee, including human resources, education and training, as well as industry and government relations. Georgia has more than two decades of policy and legislative experience, both in Iowa and nationally. She most recently served as executive director of the Iowa Business Council (IBC), an organization made up of CEOs and top executives from the 23 largest employers in Iowa. Georgia is a graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
Kimberly Wayne of Des Moines joined the State Board in 2018. She is a strategic consultant in business process excellence for the financial technology industry. She received her doctorate in educational leadership at Drake University. She earned a master's of business administration degree from Iowa State University and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. She has a passion for empowering youth and founded Jewels Academy, an informal STEM enrichment organization for underrepresented young women.
Hannah Groos, student member
Hannah Groos of Norwalk was selected to serve as the State Board student member in 2020. She attends Norwalk High School in Norwalk, where she participates in student council, track, band, FIRST Tech Challenge robotics, and varsity swimming at Lincoln High School. Hannah is also the founder of the Norwalk Girls Who Code club and serves as the sophomore class president. Hannah uses her wide variety of activities to help rural and urban students across Iowa have the tools and support needed to productively address problems around their communities.