Meet the Class of 2023
Anthony Bestafka-Cruz, Raytown High School in 2006
Anthony Bestafka-Cruz graduated as part of the 100th class from Raytown High School in 2006. He attended Stanford University as a Gates Millennium Scholar, receiving a bachelor’s degree in international relations, followed by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, receiving his law degree and a certificate of specialization in international law.
Anthony is a lawyer with the Office of the Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, serving as the government's legal expert on human rights matters and other civil and political rights. He advises the White House, Secretary of State, and a wide variety of diplomats in engagements involving foreign government representatives seeking to advance human rights issues globally. He also advises in matters before the International Court of Justice, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, and UN General Assembly. In 2022 and 2023, Anthony addressed the UN General Assembly on behalf of the United States and led the government's preparation for its presentation before the Human Rights Committee.
Anthony’s experience also includes working for major law firms, representing private, corporate, and government clients, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Uzbekistan, and several Fortune 500 companies. He also advised in a groundbreaking class-action suit in Ferguson, Missouri, and served as a teaching fellow at Ohio State University's College of Law. During law school, Anthony was a researcher with the Human Rights Center and clerked for the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Anthony's commitment to public service extends to volunteer work, as he has received several awards, including Global Pro Bono Recognition Awards in 2014 and 2015 for his representation of asylum applicants in the United States. Anthony is also a long-time volunteer with and serves on the Board of Directors for Learning Enterprises, a non-profit that operates in underserved communities around the globe to promote cultural exchange and the development of education skills.
Kemet Coleman, Raytown High School in 2005
Kemet Coleman graduated from Raytown High School in 2005. He attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies with a focus on Community Development. He is a local musician, entrepreneur, and small business owner.
Kemet has been a part of three musical groups in his career, including The Phantastics from 2011-present, Brass & Boujee from 2018-present, and Center of Attention from 2012-2015. Kemet has released 12 full-length albums throughout his musical career. His note-worthy accomplishments as a local musician include the award-winning song “Get Out,” used as the RideKC Streetcar song, which played a significant role in fostering a million riders during its first year of operation. As a result, “Get Out” became the official song of the KC Streetcar in Kansas City. The song was also praised nationally by The Atlantic.
Kemet has worked with names such as Tech N9ne, Black Thought and The Roots, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, and Kool and The Gang. Kemet has been called the “Spirit and Soul of Kansas City” by The Kansas City Star, which praised his groundbreaking work with music and the KC Streetcar and, in 2022, was included in Marquis Who’s Who list of most influential people in America.
His noteworthy accomplishments as an entrepreneur and small business owner include opening the doors of Kansas City’s first Black-owned brewery, Vine Street Brewing Co. He is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kemet Creative and Associates, a creative consulting firm that brings black creativity and innovation to any urban space. He's received several awards for his creative efforts, which focuses on helping to create urban spaces that benefit communities of color.
When not making music, Kemet enjoys spending time with his wife and children, traveling, photography, and studying different cities and real estate development.
Lesa Francis, Raytown High School in 1975
Lesa McCord Francis graduated from Raytown High School in 1975. She attended Northwest Missouri State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
Lesa is best known as an award-winning business leader with more than 30 years of experience leading teams and companies, with a focus on the advocacy and integrity of the staffing industry. Most recently, Lesa was President and Chief Executive Officer of Supplemental Health Care, one of the top 10 healthcare staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions companies in the United States. Previously, she was President and Chief Executive Officer of Staffmark, one of the largest staffing companies in the country, where she was the first woman named CEO of a $1 billion staffing company. She has worked for other major companies, including Medical Staffing Network, Spherion Corporation, and others.
Lesa has been recognized by Glassdoor as one of the highest-rated CEOs nationwide and was named to the inaugural Power 50 Women in Staffing and inducted in the Staffing Industry Analysts’ Staffing Industry Hall of Fame. Additionally, she was named one of 20 “Women to Watch” by the Cincinnati Business Journal and was recognized by LEAD Cincinnati with their C-Suite Award.
Lesa served as Chairman of the Board of the American Staffing Association, a $150 billion industry focused on the advocacy and integrity of the staffing industry. She is also a former board member of Supplemental Health Care, Staffmark, and the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board.
In 2020, Francis transitioned from leading companies to executive coaching, advising, and board service. Bringing her unique perspective on the staffing industry, having started her career as a customer service representative working her way up to the CEO role, she works with individuals and teams to drive extraordinary results. She also enjoys spending time with her family which includes her two sons, and five fabulous grandchildren.
Keith Hardiman, Raytown High School in 1997
Dr. Keith Hardiman graduated from Raytown High School in 1997. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration, Management Information Systems in 2003 from Langston University, his Master of Organizational Leadership and Business Management in 2004 from Webster University, and his Doctorate of Education, Applied Aviation and Aerospace in 2010 from Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Hardiman continued his education at the Air Command and Staff College in 2013 and attended Air War College in 2018. He received his Master of National Security and Resource Strategy with a concentration in Emerging Information Technology in 2020 from the National Defense University. He also attended the National Defense University Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Hardiman is a member of the Senior Executive Service for the U.S. Department of Air Force. He serves as the Director of Air Force Information Management for the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Headquarters Air Force Chief Information Officer and Liaison to the Pentagon Architecture Council. He entered civil service in 2003 at Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Hardiman served as the Technical Director and Chief Data Officer for the Logistics Chief Information Officer Support Division, Directorate of Resource Integration, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
Dr. Hardiman is actively involved in his community. He works as a School of Business Professor at Langston University, and is advisor for the Kappa Alpha Psi chapter at the university. He also serves on the board for the Black Liberal Arts Center, is a proud member of Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, a member of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, and various other organizations.
Dr. Hardiman also enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife and three children.
Kenneth Hardiman, Raytown High School in 1997
Kenneth Hardiman graduated from Raytown High School in 1997. He graduated with honors in 1999 from the Johnson County Community College Chef Apprenticeship Program, and received a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Certificate from Brown College.
Kenneth has more than a decade of experience as an executive chef. He has led more than half a dozen independent restaurants, from the Midwest to the West Coast, into award-winning eateries. His love for food and expertise in the craft has led him to his current role of Regional Executive Chef for the Levy Restaurants Special Events Division. He also served as Vice President in 2021 and Senior Executive Chef from 2018-2021 for Levy Restaurants.
He has many accomplishments, which include being part of the 2020-21 World Championship for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks as the executive chef, the 2019 Compass Super Chef Winner for the Levy Division, and named the 2017 March of Dimes Wisconsin Chefs Cook-Off winner. He was also named the 148th and 149th Culinary Expert for the Kentucky Derby, was the front runner for the 2014 Restaurants Chef of the Year award, and won fourth place in the Oswalt Restaurant Supply Culinary Cook-Off.
Kenneth is involved with several organizations that support communities in need. He was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks Leadership Council and was involved with Feeding America Wisconsin. He currently serves as chair and co-leader of the Levy Compass Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and served as the March of Dimes Ambassador in 2020. He spearheaded and founded Cream City Cluckery, to serve the community delicious chicken tenders during the pandemic. Cream City Cluckery soon became a Milwaukee favorite, earning a spot in Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel’s best take out in its first month of operation.
Kenneth values spending time with his wife and son, drawing, reading, and going to church.
Bill Price, Raytown High School in 1963
Bill Price graduated from Raytown High School in 1963.
Bill was the founder and president of Shamrock Cabinet in Raytown for more than 50 years. At 13 years old, Bill received hands-on construction site experience helping his dad build homes in the Raytown area. Following high school graduation, Bill attended Metropolitan Community College for a year and a half before becoming the lead on a 16-unit apartment project.
Bill’s business, Shamrock Cabinet, was established in 1966 out of his garage and in 1976, moved to its current location at 1201 E. 65th Street. The 1980s were years of great growth for the business, and Shamrock became a strong presence in Kansas City. Shamrock is known as one of the Midwest’s most renowned makers of award-winning, handcrafted custom cabinets and fixtures. Today, they provide cabinetry for more than 25% of new homes in the greater Kansas City area. Shamrock has had as many as 250 employees, with more than 100 employees today. Bill is known and respected in the Raytown community for his commitment to employing many Raytown graduates and residents.
Bill has received many accolades and recognitions throughout his career. In 2005, Bill was named “Person of the Year” by the Raytown Chamber of Commerce, and in 1998 he received the “Small Business Person of the Year” award. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration awarded Bill the “Achievement Award for Safety in the Workplace” by then Lieutenant Governor, Roger Wilson.
Bill has served as an active member of his community through civic involvement and volunteer work. He served on the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Committee and the Downtown Planning Group. He was also the Raytown Chamber of Commerce President in 2002, and a member of the Raytown Rotary Club.
Bill retired from Shamrock in 2018, turning over management to his son-in-law Erik Blaney, a 1983 Raytown South High School graduate.
Bill enjoys spending time with his three daughters, their spouses, and his five grandchildren.