Election Q&A: Meet the candidates for Eanes ISD board of trustees Place 4

Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election in Eanes ISD. (Community Impact staff)
Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election in Eanes ISD. (Community Impact staff)

Early voting runs April 19-27 for the May 1 election in Eanes ISD. (Community Impact staff)



Austin



Eanes ISD Place 4










James Spradley



Occupation: senior operations consultant at Apple


Experience: Eanes ISD board trustee, secretary, executive committee member; Eanes ISD Envision Eanes co-chair; Eanes ISD Presidents’ Council member; Westlake Band Parents president-elect, board member, Marching Festival chair; Scout Troop 30 committee chair, assistant scoutmaster; Scout Troop 550 scoutmaster; Cub Scout Pack 30 cubmaster; Bee Cave District Roundtable chair; soccer, baseball and basketball coach; Sunday school teacher; Lost Creek Cruzers DJ






Why are you running for the Eanes ISD board of trustees?



JS: I am running to ensure that every child who attends Eanes ISD receives an exemplary education in a school district that prioritizes their social and emotional well-being. I have lived in Eanes ISD for 20 years, and my children have attended Eanes ISD from kindergarten through high school graduation. I’ve spent hundreds of hours of volunteer time serving children in our community. From cold nights on scout camping trips to coaching early morning baseball practices to chaperoning band trips, I have put my volunteer time where my passions are—helping equip young people with tools for success. I believe with a passion that every decision our school board makes must be made through the lens of what is best for the students. When we focus on our children, everything else falls into place.



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



JS: The biggest challenge our district faces is getting our schools back to normal operations as soon as local, state and federal COVID guidelines permit. I am committed to having our teachers, students and administrators back in our buildings and to returning our sports, performing arts, clubs and all other activities back to normal as soon as we can safely do so. I will then turn my focus to helping those students who have fallen behind. Thanks to the leadership of the school board and administration, students in our district suffered fewer setbacks than their peers in other areas but may still require help to get back on track. Looking further down the road, our district will face financial challenges as we seek to provide an excellent education under the constraints of the Texas education funding model. It has become increasingly difficult to provide a high-quality education when state funding fails to keep up with inflation. Success will require a deep understanding of school finance and a creative approach to fundraising and budgeting. I have managed multimillion-dollar budgets, and I have the experience needed to help us meet that challenge.









Nigel Stout



Occupation: commercial real estate broker


Experience: I am a father of four children; my daughter graduated Westlake in 2019; I have a sophomore and senior at Westlake and an eighth-grader at West Ridge MS. I have two children in special education, one on the autism spectrum. Being a parent and my 27-year experience in the business world has fine-tuned my skill sets that will benefit the school board. I am a problem solver, critical thinker, consensus gatherer and lifelong learner. I have been coaching youth football for the past 11 years, president of Westlake Pop Warner for three years and current president of Hill Country Pop Warner in the Greater Austin area.






Why are you running for the Eanes ISD board of trustees?



NS: We need new voices and diversity of thought on the board. We need people that are willing to standup for all kids, all parents and all stakeholders. Healthy debate and dissenting opinions make us better. The current "go along to get along" attitude of the board is not fostering excellence in our district.



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



NS: 1. Getting all the kids that want in-person learning back there safely to return to normalcy without alienating our teachers or putting them at health risk; also, making sure we get our kids back up to speed if they have fallen behind due to COVID-19 disruption. 2. We are facing a budget deficit again this year, which could mean no salary increases for teachers, increase in class sizes and decrease in support. We need fiscal responsibility to make sure every dollar is ultimately going into the classroom. 3. Keeping politics out of the classroom.


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.