Focus Daily News sent the following questions to ALL candidates running for Cedar Hill 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 2 Candidate DeAundra Hurd
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 began my educational journey in CHISD, and graduated from Cedar Hill High School in 2008. As a student, I actively participated in extracurricular activities, most notably serving as Social Officer Vice President of the Cedar Hill Highsteppers Drill Team. Upon completing High School, I remained active within the district while furthering my education, as an advocate for the Sp.Ed. Program and At Risk Youth. Currently, I still advocate for the same, but am now an active participant with the CHISD School Health Advisory Council, PTA, Special Olympics, as well as an At Risk Youth mentor for my community.
What is your vision for education in our district/community? More financial investment, expanding academic programs like JROTC & CTE, be specific.
My vision for education in CHISD can be summed up into one word, EQUITABLE. Our district has made noticeable strides over the past fifteen years, however there is still work to be done. Expanding academic programs is imperative for today’s millennials, to allow them to prepare for life in the adult world. We have to realize that we are not only preparing or children for the next steps in their lives, whatever that may be, but we have evolved into a new world of technology, and now a spiked increase of entrepreneurs.
CHISD offers an Entrepreneurship and design program on one campus only and that being Permenter Middle School, that many parents and students I’ve had the opportunity to speak with really appreciate. However, I believe that expanding this program to the High School level, would not only encourage creative students to dive into their potential, but simply remove the limitations students who may desire a different path face.
What does advocacy mean to you and how will you advocate for the students & teachers?
Advocation is a huge part of my life. It is standing up for what is right even if you are standing alone, having the ability to be fair, unbiased, considerate, yet realistic. If elected, I vow to advocate for all students and teachers, by pushing for the Improvement of safety measures on our campuses, accountability, and equitable learning opportunities. I will ensure that students and staff feel heard, as we are the example for the next generation, and I will fight to set the standard for our district.
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?
Setting the standard for CHISD is imperative for teacher and staff recruitment and retention. There needs to be a restored sense of faith in our district in order to begin to rebuild a solid foundation. One hurdle in particular being a reevaluation and upholding of district policies. I have spoken with educators from different campuses, and grade levels that are experiencing or have experienced challenges, and I believe that there is room for improvement on how concerns are handled.
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?
I’ve been apart of CHISD for nearly two decades, and when I reflect on these years, I see the connection between my experience and my mission to create classrooms and schools where all scholars feel safe, valued, and understood. Additional steps that should be taken to meet the needs of all of our students include but not limited to developing a student centered mindset, partnering with families, cultivating consistency, and more collaboration/inclusion.
Do you agree with how the District responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic and if not, what would you have done differently?
During a time of uncertainty, I believe the district took the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
What do you plan to do to address training at the campus levels to make sure IEP and or 504s are implemented?
I would like to receive an overview of our 504 assessment procedures to understand how they are applied and how504/IEP’s are implemented, monitored, and adjusted as needed. Meeting the needs of the Sp. Ed program is a top priority for me, and I am committed to ensuring that all of the students including the adult program and teachers receive the support and funding that they need to be successful.
What are your views on banning certain books from classrooms and libraries? What in your opinion, makes a book “okay” to ban?
I believe certain topics should be left to the discretion of parents. As far as banning certain books, I also believe that our children should only be exposed to age appropriate content in schools. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on what makes a book okay to ban from classrooms and libraries, however I feel as though parents should be given the opportunity to voice feedback and or concerns over “controversial” books used on campuses.
How do you rank social emotional learning in the school board priorities, especially considering struggles due to covid?
It should be a top priority.
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?
Politics do not belong in public schools, nor on school boards in my opinion.
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.
If there’s anything you’d like to add please do so.
I am confident, outspoken, and unbiased however I will always stand up for what is right. I am able to have difficult conversations, and agree to disagree while maintaining a level of respect. As a business owner, I set the standard, raise the standard, and uphold the standard every single day for my company. I vow to do the same if elected to the CHISD Board of Trustees.
You can learn more about DeAundra Hurd on her campaign website.
Early voting begins April 25, election day is May 7, 2022.