Editor’s Note: When this interview was conducted Ms. Kyle had announced her withdrawal. On Monday evening, Ms. Kyle participated in the Midlothian Chamber candidate forum, without a formal statement announcing she has reversed her decision. On Wednesday evening, Ms. Kyle posted a video update on her Taya Kyle School Board Facebook. Focus has reached out to Ms. Kyle numerous times and to date she has not responded.
Andrea Walton Is Running For Re-election MISD Place 7
MIDLOTHIAN – Midlothian Independent School Board Trustee Andrea Walton became a Place 7 Trustee three years ago. She says one of her favorite parts of the job is she loves to meet the families moving to Midlothian to hear their story, to connect and encourage.
While she originally had an opponent, that changed when challenger Taya Kyle dropped out of the race some time ago.
“I am excited by the engagement from the community for learning, caring and getting to know each of the candidates,” Walton said. “My opponent has withdrawn from the race for admirable reasons. It’s a beautiful opportunity for Midlothian ISD to celebrate community, when so many people are willing to serve.”
Walton added “The role of Trustee is a volunteer role. I cannot think of anything more important than supporting teachers and young minds. I am passionate, focusing on the ‘whole student’, measured by how my decisions impact the classroom.”
Tackling The Challenges In Midlothian ISD
However, that focus and attention to details does not come without challenges.
“The challenges we face as a community are growth, changes in valued leadership and balancing many more demands from a changing world of public education,” Walton explained. “Students may stay the center of every decision. Challenges for the school district are similar to most companies: stay agile in an environment of rapid change, keep the focus on the classroom, attract and retain the very best teachers and staff with intentional rewards, offer benefits that are comparable and proactive, lead with data, but never forget there is a person behind the number, manage growth and balance tax rates, honor the taxpayer with efficiency and stewardship, listen and respond to all parents and provide the best results for the precious products: students and be proactive and responsive.”
Walton said with that in mind, MISD will celebrate community through a new strategic plan initiative and embracing differences.
Recruiting & Retaining Talented Teachers
The trustee also added that the one thing she knows for sure, “The teachers in Midlothian are the most talented, loving and committed. However, we are facing a teacher crisis in our country. Teachers make every profession possible, and we should be deep in evaluating ways to effectively value teachers with intention.”
She said this can be done through comparable time off, healthcare resources, retirement plans, family resources, greater benefits, professional learning and cross training, educational incentives and reaching down to student teachers in order to recruit a workforce that represents MISD and continues to invest in teachers in actions and words.
“We will be evaluating and analyzing the new teacher incentive allotments the state is rolling out,” Walton said. “We are not the first district to do it, and it means more money and incentive for teachers. We should lead the way with innovation and communication in HR to embrace the changes in benefits, so each teacher knows how it impacts their family.”
Walton said she also gives accolades for the tenacity, courage and leadership of the district teachers and staff for balancing the challenges of 2020.
“They continue to show grit and flexibility with a smile,” she explained. “I look forward to enhanced communication where everyone knows they have a voice, and knows they are valued as part of MISD Family.”
An Active Role In The Community
Walton said too, as a board member she is there to support every family and every child to encourage, love and meet their needs.
“Our teachers create strong bonds and care deeply for students,” she added. “We have much to celebrate in our community, but I don’t rest. We must continually look to improve and celebrate our excellence and keep our sights set on high standards. On time communication, listening and valuing every voice is the way we succeed and continue with excellence.”
Walton has also been active and President of the PTOs at JAV, and JR Irvin Elementary. She has served over 20 years on both the MISD and Red Oak Education Foundation. Additionally, she served on the Ellis County Advocacy Board focusing on children and working in partnership with the community and law enforcement.
“We all must invest, welcome questions and allow iron to sharpen iron,” she concluded. “Are leaders engaged? Are leaders available and responsive? Is transparency at all levels? Do actions match words? What can we do better, how can we all roll up our sleeves and model the behaviors we want in our future leaders? Our children are watching and learning from us.”
Walton’s thoughts on neighboring DeSoto ISD’s challenges
“I have been following Desoto ISD and echo the Desoto Trustees who have shared the focus should be on student outcomes,” Walton said. “I admire leaders who are investing and leading Desoto through this time. Trustee is a volunteer role.
Through several regional and state leadership groups I have been blessed to meet active leaders across the state and passionately discuss school finance, policy, new laws, compensation packages to impact the needs of Midlothian ISD.”
You can read our recap of the Midlothian Chamber Candidate Forum for Place 7 here.