Why are you running for school board, and what are your qualifications?
As a veteran educator (30+ years), I realize that I am nearing the end of my career. However, I am not near the end of my service to Texas children. My service on the school board will be a natural transition that allows me to continue to advocate on behalf of students and adults.
As a new candidate, I hope to collaborate with the entire team of eight in our quest to continue the positive trajectory that DeSoto ISD is on. I intend to strengthen the district’s ability to meet the board goals put in place, while addressing the concerns of the stakeholders.
Have you received any donations or endorsements from any group(s)? If so, which groups?
To date, all of my donations have come in from individual donors. I anticipate endorsements to arrive shortly.
Is there a specific issue that motivates you to serve on the school board? If so, please identify the issue and your concerns.
Yes. My issues of concern include providing avenues for better student outcomes; Ensuring we take care of the teachers in the district; Focusing on safety and security, to include mental health and emotional well-being of the students and staff; Lastly, we need to have more accountability and responsibility within the financial structure of the district.
In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?
I have worked in Houston ISD, Bryan ISD, Waller ISD, and DeSoto ISD. I sponsored the organization Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT). I was on the board of Youth Extinguishing Smoking (YES). I was a coach for the little league basketball team, the Waller Hoopers. I participated in the One DeSot Walk. I participated on a community search team for a missing person. And I served on the DeSoto Charter Review Commission.
What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
Important attributes include: Integrity, honesty, transparency, open communication, and accessibility
What is the public relations role of the board?
The public relations role of the district is to communicate a vision that prioritizes goals based on the vision and values of the district, to communicate to the public the progress measures of the goals put in place, to set a tax base and adopt a budget, and to hire, evaluate, and dismiss the superintendent of the district.
What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the board or between the board and the administration?
I believe it is important to work as a team of eight. One way to achieve this is to have board retreats. Board training also helps to mitigate differences that may arise from members of the board. Additionally, sticking to policy helps to alleviate differences.
In your view, what has the district done well over last five years? What has the district done poorly that you would change?
Within the most recent year, the district has done a great job on adopting academic goals and hiring a competent superintendent. Prior to that, the board has done poorly in the area of fiduciary responsibilities.
What should your school district do to better prepare students as citizens?
We need to change the culture of the school district. Students’ behavior changes when adult behavior does. We need to instill pride and virtue back into our curriculum.
What do you see as the major issue(s) facing your school district? Public education?
1) The teacher shortage; 2) Violence (both external and internal) within our schools; and 3) Financial shortages due to mismanagement.
What is your view of school choice?
I am a firm believer in public schools. I believe that we should invest in our public school system rather than send tax dollars to charter and private programs. The exodus cripples the public school system. It also creates opportunities for substandard and even fraudulent education to occur when we “de-regulate” our traditional school systems.
What are the district’s greatest capital needs right now? How do you think those needs should be addressed?
The greatest capital needs are probably the aging infrastructure of some of our district facilities.
As a board member, where would you look to make budget cuts?
I would look to cut frivolous spending. I would also look to cut in areas where we are top heavy.
What changes should be made on the state and local level regarding public education?
Changes should be made in the area of more budgeting, especially with the surplus at the state level. Another change could be how schools are funded. Instead of funding based on Average Daily Attendance or ADA, schools should be funded based upon student enrollment.
What specific steps would you take as a school board member to improve transparency and make school district information more widely available?
Simple transparency and over-communication should be the order of the day. Communication should occur frequently via various mediums, and in multiple languages for the benefit of the stakeholders.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I bring over three decades of experience and training in the field of public education, most of which has occurred at the administrative level. I have served on advisory boards of organizations such as the United Way and the Teacher Preparation Program at Prairie View A&M University. I am trained within Lone Star Governance (LSG), the Texas Education Policy Institute (TEPI), and Leadership ISD.