Cedar Hill ISD Board Candidate Gayle Sims Q&A

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Gayle Sims headshot

Focus Daily News sent the following questions to ALL candidates running for Midlothian ISD School Board. We do not edit the answers in any way and publish them exactly as they were submitted to us.

Cedar Hill ISD School Board Place 1 Candidate/Incumbent: Gayle Sims (Running Unopposed)

Please provide a high-level overview of your past engagement/experiences, and those of your children, with regards to the school district for which you are running for school board trustee.

I have been a Board Trustee since 2017. My husband and I moved to
Cedar Hill in 2000. Our children graduated public schools in Kansas.

What is your vision for education in our district/community? More financial investment, expanding academic programs like JROTC & CTE, be specific.

My vision first and foremost for Cedar Hill ISD that we as Trustees along with the superintendent is to provide the finest educational programs that ensure academic success for all students. The CHISD vision for the district is “unlocking every longhorns potential.”

What does advocacy mean to you and how will you advocate for the students & teachers?

We as a board work together with our superintendent to bring about the best
education possible for our students and that our teachers have the tools they need so
they can provide the best instructional programs. We address challenges in productive
manners that result in the best interest of our students and our staff.

In such a competitive marketplace, how will you tackle teacher and staff recruitment and retention? Have you spoken with teachers in the district about their concerns/challenges
and do you feel like they are being heard?

CHISD has a continuous process of recruitment and provides competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and staff. A mentor/mentee program has been established that helps all new hires become acclimated to CHISD. This program gives the employee a sense of belonging that is instrumental in retention.

When dealing with school finances, approving a budget and set tax rates, how do you honor the taxpayer as you consider district’s fund balance.

My main focus when dealing with school finance is that we as a district live within our budget. The district is required to set a tax rate that is enough to fulfill maintenance and operation and to ensure interest is paid on bonds. The fund balance is provided to protect the district.

What is your stance on Equity in Education? In addition to the role of the DEI, what additional steps should be taken to meet the needs of EVERY Student in this District?

Equity plus equality are vitally important so all students needs are met. Providing
opportunities for every student is essential to the well being for all students.

Do you agree with how the District responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic and if not, what would you have done differently?

Yes.

What do you plan to do to address training at the campus levels to make sure IEP and or 504s are implemented?

As trustees we provide support to parents, teachers, counselors
and administrators to ID, evaluate and develop 504 accommodation plan designed to
support eligible services.

What are your views on banning certain books from classrooms and libraries? What in your opinion, makes a book “okay” to ban?

It is vital that age appropriate books are in classrooms. Books should be provided that are age appropriate to critically challenge a students thinking.

How do you rank social emotional learning in the school board priorities, especially considering struggles due to covid?

SEL is a primary goal along with student outcome goals. The district ensures opportunities through classroom lessons, monthly training, professional staff development and restorative rooms at all campuses.

Our country has recently seen a movement to introduce politics into every facet of society, including public education and school board campaigns and operations, which have traditionally been non-partisan. What role, if any, do you believe politics plays in
the role of a school board trustee?

Student academic success and their emotional well being rank high above any politics. Students, teachers and staff will always take precedence over politics.

School board trustees are elected to be leaders and to handle what can be difficult decisions at times. Please describe your leadership style-provide an example.

As a trustee my role is to hire and oversee our one employee, the superintendent. I expect him to carry out the vision and mission set forth by the board and to keep the board up to date on how that is being accomplished.

Early Voting begins on April 25, Election Day is May 7, 2022.

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