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.
Mansfield ISD School Board Place 7 Candidate: Yolanda McPherson
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.
My past experiences /engagements with my 2 graduates of Mansfield Lake Ridge includes…approved volunteer, financial supporter/volunteer for PTA, chaperone for Lake Ridge Step Teams (in state/out of state shows), Show Mom for Lady Dynasty Step Team and certified substitute teacher. My young adults participated in track, football and were part of the 2 time national champions of Lake Ridge Distinguished Gentleman (DG’s) step team.
What is your vision for education in our district/community? More financial investment, expanding academic programs like JROTC & CTE, to be specific.
My vision for Mansfield ISD aligns with Vision 2030. Our mission is, To inspire and educate students to be productive students Life Ready, Career Ready, College Ready.
What does advocacy mean to you and how will you advocate for the students & teachers?
As a retired educator, for 3 decades plus, I have always been an advocate for students, teachers and parents. My goal has always been to speak up and bring intentional conversation and address issues and concerns that are relevant to all involved in the educational needs of our school/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?
With the alarming number of Texas teachers leaving the classroom it’s heart wrenching. Teacher burnout is not new but teachers are now feeling attacked on every side. The climate for teachers has become toxic due to political pressure, community pressure and an overall feeling of being unsupported. It is imperative that we, districts, take a long serious look and listen to the legitimate concerns of our educators. We must bring back respect and dignity to the teaching profession.
My push would be to 1. A significant pay raise for teachers with added incentive pay for veteran teachers. 2.A well supportive and conducive workplace i.e. positive PTA involvement , volunteers from community/local business professionals to spend time tutoring etc. 3. Cultivate collaboration across grade levels. 4. Allow a safe place for teachers to openly and honestly express their concerns and feelings without fear of retaliation.
When dealing with school finances, approving a budget and setting tax rates, how do you honor the taxpayer as you consider the district’s fund balance?
When dealing with school finances, approving budgets and setting tax rates a trustee must make data driven decisions, proactive projections and anticipate impending challenges and minimize unnecessary administrative cost. A trustee must operate in transparency and accountability. Engaging stakeholders in long-term planning increases confidence while building support.
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?
My stance on DEI is complete support. There are additional steps to be taken to ensure that forward and positive progress is taking place. Starting with the School Boards. Members of a school board should be reflective of the community that it serves. Representation of diversity which is inclusive of administration, teachers etc. should be seen at all campuses. Teacher/staff diversity matters. Provide a safe place to discuss DEI. Give students a voice and allow opportunities to discuss DEI topics/events. Acknowledging DEI expands the knowledge, experience and provides valuable insight regarding decisions. Ultimately building a strong community.
Do you agree with how the District responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic and if not, what would you have done differently?
I agree with Mansfield ISD handling of COVID-19. Information was (is) current and CDC guidelines were followed.
What do you plan to do to address training at the campus levels to make sure IEP and or 504s are implemented?
It is the responsibility and federal law for districts to follow and implement IEP/504 plans of those students who have been identified. It is the responsibility of the campus administrators and all those involved in the educational needs of students to be properly trained, making sure parents are well informed, scheduled ARD meetings are attended, lesson plans are reflective of necessary accommodations and adhered to and students are made aware of accommodations to best meet their educational needs.
What are your views on banning certain books from classrooms and libraries? What in your opinion, makes a book “okay” to ban?
I believe that our children should be equipped with current events and issues taking place. There should be specific sections for current events material such as books, news magazines, etc. However, I do believe parental consent on said material is needed. Parents should still be given the opportunity to control what their child takes in.
How do you rank social emotional learning in the school board priorities, especially considering struggles due to covid?
Social/emotional learning is high on the priority list. There have always been concerns in the classroom when it comes to our students’ well being. but since COVID a heightened awareness has caused all of us to look at mental health differently and be more open and honest about our feelings. I believe teachers/administrators should continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for students/teachers to share concerns and resources/assistance if warranted.
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 should never play a role in the educational decisions that are made for our students. Decisions should always be made based upon facts and educational needs of all students without political pressure or personal opinions.
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.
Being a Wife/Mother oftentimes tough decisions must be made for the benefit of the entire family. Outside of my personal life I am a retired educator as stated previously over 3 decades of frontline experience. During my tenure as an educator , I served in many leadership positions. I would describe my leadership style as being diplomatic. I typically build personal bonds with those I work closely with. I try to resolve conflicts peacefully. I believe that I’m the “social glue” that keeps groups together.
If there’s anything you’d like to add please do so.
I humbly ask the voters to support me with your VOTE.
Early Voting April 25th-May 3rd
ELECTION DAY May 7th
Yolanda McPherson Mansfield ISD School Board Place 7. I’m READY, WILLING and CAPABLE to share my 32 years of proven and tried real classroom experience.