Election Q&A: Candidates for Lake Travis ISD board of trustees Place 1

Meet the candidates running for Lake Travis ISD Place 1. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Meet the candidates running for Lake Travis ISD Place 1. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Meet the candidates running for Lake Travis ISD Place 1. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for the Lake Travis ISD Place 1 seat ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is April 19-27.


Editor’s note: Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.


Austin



Lake Travis ISD Place 1










Phillip Davis



Occupation: Assistant professor


Experience: My 11 years of professional experience in higher education and 14 years in business are relative experiences I intend to draw upon as a trustee. I am currently an assistant professor at Texas State University, where I teach, conduct research and perform service for the university and my profession. I also currently serve as a volunteer as a member of the LTISD Diversity and Awareness Community, a participant in the LTISD 2020-2021 class of Community Leaders and Advocates for Student Success, a member of a Lake Travis Youth Association sports board, and a LTYA football coach.






Why are you running for the board of trustees?



PD: I am running for the board of trustees because I am passionate about our youth and their potential. As a faculty member, I understand that the key to unlocking our students’ passion for life and learning is through our teachers and staff. By building resilience into our educational processes, encouraging innovation in our curriculum and classrooms, and strengthening our accountability and transparency among all stakeholders, we can position our district for long-term growth. As a District of Innovation, I believe we have a unique opportunity to strengthen the academic resolve of the district while maintaining our strong fiscal responsibility.



What are the biggest issues facing the district today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



PD: Based on conversations with parents, teachers, and administrators within the district, the immediate problems we face are two-fold. First, there is consensus that the socioemotional and mental well-being of our students, teachers and staff are priority one. We must leverage our creativity to redesign processes to identify and address trends in this area. Second, we must position the district for long-term, sustainable growth. By building resilience in our processes, students, teachers, and staff, we can innovate our learning and working systems to position our district for success.









Spike McBride



Occupation: Senior director of Materials & Logistics


Experience: I chose Lake Travis as a place to call home and raise a family due to the school district. I have been involved in the community as a youth sports coach and board member. I have a Bachelor of Science in business administration, finance/risk management and insurance from La Salle University, and my focus in my trade is strategy creation/implementation and contract and cost negotiations.






Why are you running for the Lake Travis ISD board of trustees?



SM: I have young children, and I am at a point in my career that allows me to give back. It is the well-being of all the children that makes me want to contribute. The issues in front of us require a commitment to the board and our children and that is what I will do.



What are the biggest issues facing the district today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



SM: All Lake Travis students have a right to a violence-free and drug-free learning environment while education is first, last, and always about the children. There is a responsibility to promote mental health awareness while providing the appropriate resources in our schools. We can spend wisely, protect your tax dollars as our district grows and through school financing, we can expand our academic offerings.









Todd Taylor



Occupation: Instructional technology and information technology


Experience: I have over 15 years of diverse experiences in education including service in LTISD. My interest in education began with my master's thesis on school finance and the issues facing districts forced into the recapture system. From there, I worked in multiple roles on campuses always with the intent to provide the best learning opportunities for students. From working with counselors to managing data and scheduling to campus instructional technology to help desk support to supervising IT service, my goals focused on making each campus or district the very best for students and staff.






Why are you running or the board of trustees?



TT: Serving on the school board is my opportunity to ensure that Lake Travis ISD can be an exceptional district that provides students with rich experiences that prepare them for the future and creates a positive, welcoming environment for teachers and staff. I believe the district's focus should be on students and teachers to give them everything they need to be successful.



What are the biggest issues facing the district today, and how to plan to address them if elected?



TT: The most important issue we face is reopening schools as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this pandemic, students needed access to excellent learning opportunities regardless of where they were physically or academically. A recent study of teacher strikes in Argentina highlighted the long-term economic and societal impacts of missing school days. It is of paramount importance that we ensure that our students do not suffer from these same effects. Closing these gaps is not simply a technology issue; it is a quality of education issue. It is imperative that educators have the ability to recognize student needs and develop strong, differentiated experiences. I will support professional development opportunities to ensure teachers are equipped to meet these needs. I will advocate for teachers to have additional resources to help support students with learning gaps. These may include additional staff, and the highest need students receiving first priority to any limited resources. I will also encourage a dialogue between the board, parents, and educators.


By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.