Q&A Karen Lacy DeSoto ISD School Board Candidate Place 3

Karen Lacy headshot

Why are you running for school board, and what are your qualifications?

The academic future of our students is at risk, and that creates an urgency of specific and needed steps to provide needed correction. Also, our taxpayers have lost trust in the responsible handling of their tax dollars. I am a strong advocate for academic achievement for ALL students, and ALL students deserve the opportunity to attain the highest level of individual success possible.

I have 23 years of experience in education. My experiences include classroom teacher, instructional coach, substitute teacher coach, AVID coordinator, and educational diagnostician. My qualifications bolster me to bring relevant educational competence, relevant instructional expertise, relevant data-driven analysis, and relevant critical decision-making skills needed to support the superintendent in overseeing a fiscally responsible budget that will drive and ensure positive student learning outcomes for ALL!

Have you received any donations or endorsements from any group(s)? If so, which groups?

I have received donations from many people-friends, family, and colleagues-as opposed to any organization. Regarding endorsements, I was honored to receive an endorsement from “The Old Lady Gang of DeSoto.” They are a well-known, active group of ladies who have deep roots in this community, involving themselves in being activists with the purpose of ensuring that DeSoto remains the beautiful community that it is. They attend school board meetings and city council meetings, and they are on the watch to ensure that our public officials keep the interest of DeSoto community at heart.

Is there a specific issue that motivates you to serve on the school board? If so, please identify the issue and your concerns.

Three specific issues that motivate me to serve on the school board are centered around the desire to ensure transparency and trust regarding academic achievement as it relates to high quality instruction and student outcomes, the desire to ensure transparency and trust regarding details related to the fiscal health of our district, regarding the spending of our tax dollars, and the desire to ensure transparency and trust about the operations of DeSoto ISD as it relates to push and pull factors affecting retention and/or loss of students and staff.

Those issues concern me because education is a critical piece of our infrastructure. Our students deserve a quality education, our staff deserve a quality work environment, and the taxpayer deserve the assurance that their tax dollars is used properly in the process of educating our children.

In what school district or community activities/organizations have you been involved?

For 12 years, I was an active member in the PTA of the schools my children attended. They are three years apart, so that means that my involvement covered two campuses each year. Additional roles included active participation in the football booster club for four years and active participation in the cheerleading parent organization for three years. Other volunteering include service such as providing snacks for different occasions, attending field day events, providing transportation from school to events, and many other similar instances describe my volunteerism.

In the community, I am an active member of my sorority, and my volunteering spans many specific targets such as advocating for social justice by being a volunteer deputy registrar who attend events to make sure that citizens are informed and properly registered to vote. Other areas include working with the youth in the Youth Leadership Institute, which is an opportunity for students to participate in a highly interactive leadership development program to empower and engage them. Other volunteering not associated with organizations include being a facilitator at the Dallas Dinner Table, volunteering at the Martin Luther King, Jr Parade on MLK Day, and volunteer to assist at the major shelters when we have people who evacuate from major hurricanes. Those are a few instances of my community involvement.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?

The attributes and behaviors that are essential include professionalism, integrity, and great interpersonal skills.

What is the public relations role of the board?

The public relations role of the board is to maintain and reflect a positive and professional image of our great school district!

What is the best way to address differences of opinion on the board or between the board and the administration?

The best way to address differences is to use data and to respect the opinion of others in a professional manner.

In your view, what has the district done well over last five years? What has the district done poorly that you would change?

The district has excelled in athletics and arts. The district has fallen short on increasing academic achievement of the students. I will support the superintendent in her vision to make us a district that our parents want to call home for their children.

What should your school district do to better prepare students as citizens?

They district will need to increase the percent of students who graduate college, career, and/or military ready.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing your school district? Public education?

The major issue facing our school district is a lack of trust from the community and a lack of student academic achievement. The major issue facing public education is a nationwide shortage of teachers who feel disrespected.

What is your view of school choice?

The parents have a right to choose what they believe is best for their child, so if school choice allows that, I can’t stand against a parent’s rights. Instead of focusing on school choice, we need to focus on being the district that parents want to choose!

What are the district’s greatest capital needs right now? How do you think those needs should be addressed?

The district’s greatest capital need is to revitalize our district to the prominence it once had so that our parents will want to bring their children back home to DeSoto ISD. Additionally, we need to recruit and retain high quality staff.

As a board member, where would you look to make budget cuts?

I would look closely at the programs that we have to gauge its impact on academic achievement and the budget.

What changes should be made on the state and local level regarding public education?

The state needs to fund a raise for all public-school staff. On the local level, they need to increase salaries to become more competitive.

What specific steps would you take as a school board member to improve transparency and make school district information more widely available?

I will be approachable. I will answer calls and emails. I will give feedback.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I am not different. I am EXPERIENCED! If you were diagnosed with cancer, you wouldn’t want different. You would want someone EXPERIENCED. In this school board race for place 3, I am the EXPERIENCE that you want-if you desire to see an immediate impact that will help drive positive academic achievement! If you desire to see increased academic achievement, along with trust and transparency-Vote Karen Lacy for DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees-Place 3!