Jeff Kayser

for West Lafayette School logo School Board

Photo of Jeff Kayser

"West Lafayette Jeff"


Check your voting status.

Vote on Tuesday, November 3, or vote early starting October 6.

That's coming up soon!

Intro video (CC available)

My role as board member

If elected to the board, I seek to occupy a niche that I haven't seen adequately filled during my time in West Lafayette. My broad initiatives include:

Increase transparency & communication

Right now, crafting and implementing school policy is opaque to almost everyone. Proactive communication of that policy is almost nonexistent beyond posting the dry board minutes online without context.

I want to engage more openly and directly with students and families – not just administrators – and involve them more directly and bidirectionally in school processes, with more context to make issues understandable to any interested party. We have a smart community that is passionate about education; let's keep it in-the-know and give it a chance to share its wisdom.

Improve innovation & technology

Our schools' technological innovation and engagement are low, despite serving a vibrant and highly STEM-focused college town.

The school board needs a forward-thinking, experienced technologist to champion systems and intelligent automation that increase efficiency and opportunities for our students, teachers, staff, and parents, as well as reduce wasted time and effort.

Invite community & diversity

Purdue, as a first-tier research university, attracts top talent nationally and internationally, and has one of the most diverse populations among both students and faculty.

I want to help West Lafayette schools better leverage the resources that Purdue can offer, both academically and culturally.

Student & teacher advocacy

According to the Indiana Deparment of Education, nearly one out of every five WLCSC students is economically disadvantaged, and one out of ten is disabled. These students also disproportionally represent the lowest performers in math and English. Additionally, Hispanic and – to a more alarming degree – Black students, each which make up 7% of the student body, underperform in math, science, reading, and English as compared to their white and Asian peers.

I want to make sure we don't leave these students behind. It's unjust to let the rich opportunities that WLCSC schools offer pass them by.

As superintendent Dr. Killion has previously said, pay for teachers is comparatively low in Indiana, and they face other roadblocks such as stringent requirements for standardized testing.

I want to be a strong advocate for our high-quality teachers. I will work to lobby for better pay and working conditions for our teachers.

Why run?

Beyond modest donations of time and money to local, national, and international organizations, I have long wanted to contribute my expertise as a technologist and leader to the community in a more direct, material way.

In the past 20 years a school board position has only been contested on an election day ballot in West Lafayette twice. The fact that 15 people are running for the four seats up this year is a strong indicator that we might have coasted too long on the status quo and that the community is ready for real progress.

COVID-19 and its consequences to my community called me to action, as I saw a real opportunity to be a positive voice and influence on our school district. In fact, along with several of the 15 candidates running, I used my voice to successfully petition the current school board to provide a safer e-learning option to all students, without requiring a doctor's note.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My wife, Hanae, works for Purdue Research Foundation, and we have an 8th grader in WL schools. I earned my computer science undergraduate degree from Purdue (FW campus) while working full-time as a software developer at a telecommunications company. Soon after, I lived and worked overseas for several years.

After returning to the US, a programming job at Purdue Federal Credit Union first brought us here to West Lafayette, but for much of the past decade I've run a software consultancy as a solo founder, primarily focused on helping charities and non-profits make a wider, more effective impact in their areas of service. I've also designed and developed software across a wide range of fields including agriculture, industrial research, insurance, politics, and startups.

I still consult part-time but now work as an information technology architect for the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, where I spearhead technological innovation at the multi-institutional Science Gateways Community Institute and the NSF-funded Network for Computational Nanotechnology at Purdue, so I am actively engaged in driving education and community-driven, collaborative science.

While my child was enrolled at WL Elementary School (then Cumberland), I participated as a volunteer in the ambitious Nature Center restoration and pond renovation projects, as well as the recycling program.

We are lucky to have one of the top-ranked school systems in the state and even the country. My goal is to secure and improve our advantageous position. With my own 8th grader having gone through West Lafayette system since kindergarten, I have a personal stake in maximizing positive educational outcomes, and a first-hand general context of all schools in the WLCSC system.

See the answers to several questions the Journal & Courier asked me.

See my interview put on by the West Lafayette Education Association, organized by the League of Women Voters for their VOTE411 project.

Other candidates

There are plenty of quality school board candidates running alongside me, many of whom care as deeply about the school system as I do.

WL CARE, an organization of WL students and alumni lobbying for anti-racism policies, has thorough writeups from interviews with all the candidates.

Several provided their expertise and voice together with mine as we successfully fought for safer education options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some I have not had the pleasure to directly interact with yet:

And the incumbents:

Note: To view all the J&C links, you may need to subscribe, or clear your browser cookies.

Contact me

Questions, comments, or concerns? Feel free to contact me anytime: