Wise County has several contested school board elections on the May 6 ballot.
Voters in Boyd, Bridgeport, Decatur and Northwest ISDs have a handful of candidates from which to choose. The Messenger sent candidates questionnaires, asking them to address the following:
1. Rank issues by importance and emphasis: academics, athletics, band and fine arts, facilities, technology, transportation, vocational programs
2. Rank groups as a resource for information in making decisions: administration, parents and teachers, taxpayers, fellow school board members.
3. Primary reason for seeking a place on the school board: continue the direction and policies of the district, change the direction and policies of the district, lower the tax rate.
Candidates were given a 50-word limit per question (due to space constraints) to explain their answer. If they exceeded the word limit, the remainder of the sentence containing the 50th word was published, and the rest of the answer was deleted.
More candidate profiles will run in the weekend Messenger.
DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD
Place 4 is the only contested race for Decatur School Board in the May 6 election.
In addition to the questions listed above, they were also asked: 4. What qualities would you like to see in candidates to be the next superintendent at DISD?
Occupation: Decatur Heat and Air co-owner
Education: Bachelor of Business from the University of North Texas
Family: Spouse Shaun Davie; three kids, Madeline, 13; Nathaniel, 12; Mallory, 5.
1. Academics, vocational programs, technology, facilities, transportation, athletics, band, fine arts
Academics are first priority. Vocational programs are an extension of academics – teaching a trade to prepare students for better earning potential entering the workforce. Technology is ever changing, and we all rely on it daily. Facilities and transportation affect all other issues; students must have an environment which fosters learning and a way to get to school. (exceeded word limit)
2. Administration, fellow board members, parents and teachers, taxpayers
Administration and fellow board members have prior experience (good and bad) with issues from the past. In addition, the administrators perform the research necessary to provide all the facts and options available to aid in decision making for the board of trustees. Parents and teachers are on the front lines and hopefully are informing the administrators of any concerns or issues. (exceeded word limit)
3. I would like to assist the current trustees in their search for a new superintendent and perhaps provide a different perspective on issues we face as a district. The board succeeds or fails as a team; a member with a personal agenda will only hinder the district’s progress and cause conflicts. (exceeded word limit)
4. The superintendent sets the tone and charts the course for our entire district. He or she must have excellent managerial skills and a gift for keeping/finding/hiring great administrators for our schools. First and foremost he/she must lead with integrity and keep the district’s focus on what is best for the students. (exceeded word limit)
GLEN A. HARRISON
Occupation: Professor at Lamar University; Owner – Velocity Sports Center in Decatur
Education: Doctorate, Educational Leadership – Lamar University, Beaumont, 2016; Masters, Education Technology Leadership and Principal Certification – Lamar University, 2010 and 2011; Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education – Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, 1986.
Family: Married – Shelly Harrison for 31 years; son Chad, 27, and daughter-in-law Jessica; daughter Holly, 25
1. Being an educator for 30 years, I value and place academics as the top priority for all students. Without a quality education, students have a limited ability to find good job opportunities, enjoy a good quality of life, and engage in the community. Additionally, I believe our students are growing up on a global stage, and technology has become an integral part of all of our lives. (exceeded word limit)
2. This is a position that should only be filled by individuals who have their primary focus and goal to provide a high standard of education for kids. This should be done in an environment that is safe, while also maximizing taxpayer dollars. Moreover, our job as educators is to deliver services and programs for students based on their needs, through collaboration, support, and involvement of all stakeholders (parents, teachers, and administrators). (exceeded word limit)
3. Words do not describe what this school district and community have meant to my family and I since 1996. This is the only school system my kids ever knew, and it served both of them well. My son, Chad went to college, played football and is happily married, and gainfully employed with a commercial construction company in Dallas. (exceeded word limit)
4. I believe Rod Townsend has done a fantastic job putting the district in the position that it is in now. Moving forward, I believe the new superintendent should have the same true passion for kids, and a belief that each and every student that graduates from this district is well prepared to either continue their education or be ready for the global workforce. (exceeded word limit)
Occupation: Decatur Police Chief
Education: Graduated North Mesquite High School and have approximately 50 hours of college courses from various colleges and hold a Master Peace Officer license with the State of Texas
Family: Wife Debbie Hoskins; four children, Brandon Hoskins, Lacey Pacheco, Zachary Hoskins and Chloe Hoskins; three grandchildren
1. Academics, vocational programs, technology, facilities, band and fine arts, athletics, transportation
The most important is to make sure that we have academics and vocational programs at the highest level possible, so we can provide a chance for each student to have a quality education, whether they are going to college or entering the workforce.
2. Parents and teachers, administration, fellow board members, taxpayers
Our teachers, parents and school administration have a very important part in providing the resources that are needed for a quality education of our students. Furnishing this information to the school board members and our taxpayers will help guide them in deciding what tools and funding is needed.
3. I am seeking the office of school board member to ensure that we provide the best education possible for our children, whether we follow the current direction and policies of the district or we have to change them. We are in the process of population growth in our community. I feel I have adequate resources to assist in planning for our future growth, not only in facilities but in providing the best education possible. (exceeded word limit)
4. (1) Experienced administrator and teacher, (2) Be able to communicate with parents, taxpayers, and personnel effectively, (3) Be able to work with the community to provide a quality education to our children, (4) Be able to be visionary toward the administration of the district in providing an education to our children, along with the future growth of the district.
NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD
Northwest School Board Places 5 and 6 are contested in the May 6 election.
In addition to the questions listed above, candidates were also asked: 4. Northwest ISD is facing a predicted surge in student population in the next 10 years. How can the district prepare for this growth?
TAMMY SUTHERLAND ECK
Occupation: Office manager
Education: Graduate of Northwest High School; Tarrant County Junior College, associate’s degree and interpreting for the deaf; University of North Texas, BAAS; and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Master of Arts in Christian Education
Family: Married to John Eck, son Joseph
1. Academics is a top priority. Beyond that I believe in the education of the whole child. Not everyone is an athlete or musician, but every student needs a variety of choices to help them find the pathway of their choice for their personal success.
2. In order to make good decisions that will benefit the whole district, I think it is always important to listen to parents and teachers, administrators, other school board members and also taxpayers.
3. Our school board has a great reputation for serving our district well, and I would like to see a continuation of the current direction and policies.
4. Our district has experienced steady growth for the last 10 years and will continue to grow! We have managed growth well and are preparing for the future. The current bond package will help us stay ahead of the growth while continuing to provide safe, updated schools and resources for all students.
TAYLOR C. HARRINGTON
Occupation: Domestic intermodal sales
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Management, emphasis in finance from Brigham Young University – Idaho and Master’s in Business Management from University of Texas at Arlington
Family: Married for 16 years to Ashley; three children, Callie, 11, Preston, 9, Paige, 7
1. The primary responsibility of any academic institution is to educate the children in preparing them for higher education or to enter the workforce. This institution must have safe and adequate facilities in which to provide an education. Reasonable and safe transportation services must be provided to ensure students can get to/from school. (exceeded word limit)
2. Leadership and decision-making is situational. Issues or problems will dictate the resources needed to find optimal solutions. For example, if facilities need to be built and taxpayers are going to foot the bill, they should have input on how and where the money is spent. When curriculum decisions are being made, the administration and teachers should have input on such decisions. (exceeded word limit)
3. As a board member, my top priority would be to ensure all children continue receiving proper educational opportunities and tools to prepare them to enter college or a vocation upon graduating high school. This must be done with fiscal responsibility and in a safe environment. The administrative burden of the teachers needs to be lightened so they can do what they do best – teach.
4. Future student growth is one of the largest challenges the district currently faces. This growth is expensive and requires new facilities to be anticipated and built. The district has a wide variety of resources in which to prepare for this growth – demographers, housing permits and land sales are all vital in projecting when and where student growth will occur.
Occupation: Director of learning technology at Fidelity Investments
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Texas at Arlington
Family: Married to wife Bethany for 12 years, daughter Vivian is 7 and in first grade at Beck Elementary and son Bennett will be in pre-k in August
1. Academics, technology, facilities, vocational programs, transportation, athletics, band and fine arts
Our first responsibility is to deliver on the core academic curriculum. Technology should provide cost savings and scale, not be a constant “core and maintenance” spend. We should look at cost savings opportunities across the board while investing for the future.
2. Parents and teachers, administration, taxpayers, school board members
Parents and teachers are “on the front lines” and have the best information we need to make decisions. I would look to the administration for day-to-day decisioning and progress, followed by taxpayers as we are stewards of the budgets. Finally, school board members for insights and debate.
3. Continue the direction and policies of the district
While I would seek to continue the direction and policies of the district, I would focus the way that we are executing on that direction. We must have transparency and accountability to drive fiscal responsibility and ensure we are prepared for growth.
4. By focusing on the basics – using data to drive decisions, holding ourselves accountable to our decisions and strategic plans, and by being the tip of the spear in terms of legislative advocacy. We have a big voice. Let’s make it loud and a force for change at the state level.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Texas at Arlington
Family: Wife Shannon (married 21 years), fourth grade teacher at Kay Granger Elementary; daughter Sarah, freshman at Byron Nelson High School; son Shane, sixth grader at Tidwell Middle School
1. 1. academics, 2. facilities, 3. technology, 4. athletics and band and art (tie) 6. vocational programs, 7. transportation
All students will benefit from the first three. For No. 4, it’s my opinion that they should be given equal importance. At the secondary level, students will probably have to choose one over the other, which is unfortunate. I know transportation has had some issues, but the first six are needed to prepare the students for adulthood.
2. 1. parents and teachers, 2. administration, 3. taxpayers, 4. fellow school board members
Parents and teachers are on the “frontline” of our purpose of being a school district. They are in the best position to let the board know what’s working and what is not at the personal level. Administrators are in a position to provide input on whether policies are working on a macro level at the schools. Fellow board members are a good resource for a historical perspective.
3. I love this district. I love the passion and dedication given by all levels of the district’s employees in educating the students. I’m not coming to the board with a political agenda. I’m not looking to make any drastic changes. I want to ensure that Northwest ISD continues on the same path of excellence that my predecessors have envisioned.
4. The long range committee has already began the process of preparing for the growth. The proposed 2017 NISD Bond is evident of this. The committee was comprised of a sampling of all the district’s stakeholders, to include parents, employees and community leaders. This helped to ensure the needs AND financial impact of the stakeholders were taken into account. (exceeded word limit)
Place 5 candidate Jennifer Zazula did not reply by press time Tuesday.
Education: Some college/trade school
Family: Christopher Barrett, location manager for Laurel Land Memorial Park; two kids ages 8 and 6 who attend Kay Granger Elementary
1. 1. academics, 2. athletics/band/fine arts, 3. technology, 4. CTE (vocational programs), 5. facilities, 6. transportation
This is truly difficult as they are all incredibly important to a child’s education.
2. 1. parents and teachers, 2. taxpayers, 3. fellow school board members, 4. administration
3. My primary reason for seeking a place on the school board is that I bring an important voice to the table. The voice of a parent of children in our district. As the district moves forward, we need fresh ideas to keep up with our growing population.
4. The district can prepare by maintaining staff that we currently have and adding more as needed. We need to stay ahead of the growth in the building of new schools so that our current schools don’t feel overpopulated. And lastly, we need to have open and honest communications with the community so that they are aware of the money that is needed to maintain our standards with the growth that is inevitable.
Occupation: Retired educator
Education: Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction; recently successfully completed my doctoral program for a Ph.D. in reading education, scheduled to graduate May 13, 2017; principal, English as a Second Language and Early Childhood certifications
Family: Married to Christopher Rauch for almost 47 years. We have two grown children who are successful contributing members in our society, three beautiful grandchildren, plus our rescue puppy, Annie.
1. Academics are our main focus, supported by facilities, which provide a safe learning environment, which includes state-of-the-art technology, along with safe, dependable, efficient transportation. Athletics, band, fine arts and vocational programs are all equally important to provide a well-rounded education for the whole child meeting the strengths and needs of all of our students.
2. All of the above groups are equally important as information resources in making decisions which affect the district.
3. I am currently a school board member, Place 6. My primary reason for seeking re-election is to continue to contribute to the community and educational system by being a responsible steward, taking a reasoned and research-based approach to maintain and improve the quality of the schools in NISD in a way that best serves the students, teachers and the communities served by the district.
4. Northwest is continuously preparing for the predicted surge in our student population. One way of being proactive is receiving the quarterly reports from the demographers on population, housing and employment opportunities in our district and using this information to make decisions on land purchases for future schools. Another way is the salary, benefits and support system that the district has in place to attract and retain exemplary educators.