Focus Daily News: What elected official seat do you sit in?
Dinah Marks: DeSoto City Council Member – Place 5
FDN: How long have you been in Place 5?
DM: I was elected June 2019 to present.
FDN: What is your main goal as a Council Member during this term?
DM: My main goal as a Council Member is to continue to provide the highest standard of city services we can offer while fostering transparency and fiscal responsibility.
E to the 3rd Power
- Economic Development – Continue to implement our iCSi-Inter- Customer Service Initiative. This initiative is designed to provide Customer Service Excellence training, integrated with social media and its various platforms to our small businesses. Delivering great service before, during, and after is the life-blood of any business. Therefore, it is critical to equip existing businesses with tools they can use to thrive in this ever-changing business s world. Since the implementation of this initiative, February 2021, 35 small businesses have attended the training.
- Education – Continue to work collaboratively with the Desoto ISD on its NorthStar Initiative to make sure our students are afforded the highest quality education by developing strategies that prioritize learning throughout the city, i.e. parks, library, etc..
- Engagement – Continue to be inclusive in collaborating, listening to opinions of all residents and stakeholders while addressing concerns of our city. To increase engagement, I’d like to promote holding one annual HOA event per district. This will allow the Mayor and Council Members more time to spend at each event. This past year residents in District 5 collaborated and held one event which included apartment dwellers and other residents who did not live within an HOA. The event was well attended with 200+ participants.
FDN: What made you decide to get into politics?
DM: I’d like to preface my answer by saying that I don’t consider myself a politician; however, I do consider myself as one who sees a need and want to do whatever I can to fill the void. The closing of one of our neighborhood grocery stores, Albertsons, grabbed my attention as it limits residents’ choices for grocery shopping. Realizing the impact of what happens at our local city hall affects our day-to-day lives, i.e. streets, property taxes, retail, and grocery stores made me want to do more. Therefore, I became more involved in my HOA meetings, City Council meetings, and joining one of our boards and commissions.
FDN: What have been some of the surprises?
DM: My surprises have somewhat been the same as the challenges. I was quite surprised that ordinances were not re-visited until present council with input from residents and other stakeholders, developed a Strategic Plan. We noticed that many P&Z cases were denied because of old ordinances.
FDN: What have been your challenges?
DM: The biggest challenge has been being able to attract quality economic development. One of the reasons is because of outdated ordinances. We have ordinances on the books dated in the early 2000s. As a result, we are now reviewing ordinances to bring them in alignment with our Strategic Plan, focusing on our future plans for the city.
FDN: Where do you see the city going in the next few years and who will contribute to the success?
DM: I clearly see DeSoto as the most desirable Southwest City to Live, Work, and Play. The success of this vison/plan depend largely on City Council following the prescribed plan while residents hold us accountable. As we continue to work through our Strategic Plan, which include, Building trust, Image, Thriving Economy, Learning Environment, Engaged and Vibrant Community, Safe & Healthy Community, and Beautiful City, there is no doubt that the vision will manifest itself. MAKE YOUR MARK!
Bio of Dinah Marks from City of DeSoto Website
Dinah Marks is a Native of Auburn, Alabama. She graduated from Beauregard High School, Opelika, Alabama. As a recipient of a Four-Year Academic Scholarship to the school of her choice, she chose Alabama A&M University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education/English.
After moving to Texas, she attended Texas A&M University (formerly East Texas State University) and received her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. As a single mother of three daughters, she wanted to be an educational role model for them; therefore, continued her educational career by receiving a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Before being elected to the DeSoto City Council, Dr. Marks served the students of the Dallas Independent School District for 30 years as a Reading/Language Arts Teacher, Instructional Specialist, Educational Employment Administrator, Assistant Principal, Principal Fellow, and Principal on the Elementary and Middle School Levels.
She has also served on the DeSoto Arts Commission, Kentsdale Farm Board of Directors, and NAACP. Dr. Marks is very active in her church, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist, where she has served as President, Sunday School (Adult), Media Ministry (church announcer for the past 28 years), Tribe of Judah Dance Ministry, Mission II Member, and President of Women’s Ministry (1998-1999). She was also selected as the Educational Woman of the Year.
Lastly, she is an active/financial member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Southwest Dallas County Alumnae Chapter, where she has served as Corresponding Secretary, Assistant Recording Secretary, Economic Development Chair, Jabberwock Team Co-Chair, and PAN HELLENIC Representative. Dr. Marks’ favorite past time is reading, dancing, and decorating.