November 2020 election: Meet the candidates for Hutto ISD's board of trustees

Four candidates will run for two open seats on Hutto ISD's board of trustees. (Community Impact staff)
Four candidates will run for two open seats on Hutto ISD's board of trustees. (Community Impact staff)

Four candidates will run for two open seats on Hutto ISD's board of trustees. (Community Impact staff)


Hutto ISD

Felix Chavez

Occupation: owner of Chavez Insurance Group

Experience: business owner of Chavez Insurance Group since 1999; experienced business owner understanding fiscal responsibility and tough decisions

What would be your top priorities if you are elected?

FC: If elected, my aim as a board member will follow decision-making in the following manner: "Will our choices allow students a better opportunity to learn, grow and score well? Will choices made by board and I give residents, parents, and community a better opportunity? Finally, how will our choices as a board improve our fiscal responsibility?"

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

FC: As a resident of this great city, my wife and I have not only trusted the Hutto School district to educate our three children but have also involved ourselves in mentoring students at Hutto High School and volunteered in PTA and other events. As a business owner and resident, I want to make sure our tax dollars are used wisely and efficiently.

How should Hutto ISD manage its growth?

FC: I believe that Hutto should manage growth conservatively and be responsible as any business or household making wise financial choices. This method allows the district to have dollars available for our future growth. Keeping taxes at the lowest effective base is key for this community that carries much of the burden in funding the district.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?

FC: The biggest challenge facing the district is managing growth. With more household growth, Hutto is in need of more schools, teachers and employees to meet the demand of expansion. [Wisely] planned future models accounting for inflation and the possible market uncertainty risk requires tough choices with experienced people behind those choices.

Mina Davis

Occupation: data scientist

Experience: Creighton University, Bachelors of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics

What would be your top priorities if you are elected?

MD: My top priorities would be to continue to maintain a healthy budget for smart growth, continue to provide the necessary resources for the underserved in our community and encourage the growth career academies that would help prepare our students and families for the future.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

MD: I have been a public school advocate for a long time. I also have been in a position to see the most underserved in our community and also have the pleasure of serving on three boards that allow me to interact with vastly different parts of the community. I can bring perspective, compassion and dedication to the board by the work I have done in the greater community.

How should Hutto ISD manage its growth?

MD: Hutto ISD should manage its growth by continuing to engage our partners in the [cities] of Hutto and Round Rock, working with the builders in the surrounding subdivisions to understand plans for building new areas and apartments along with budgeting for the future. By understanding where the growth may be coming from and who is moving to our district, we can better serve our families in an effective manner.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?

MD: The greatest challenge facing the district is managing the explosive growth that is bringing a more diverse population to Hutto ISD. I want to continue to work to improve this by reviewing our budget for smart growth that will help us plan for potentially building new buildings and also to continue to look into investing into new programs that would serve our students and make the district competitive.

Christopher Parker

Occupation: high school teacher, Elgin ISD; adjunct professor, Austin Community College

Experience: professional educator, five years

What would be your top priorities if you are elected?

CP: My top priorities are to improve the quality of education that our students receive through: strengthening the retention of highly qualified educators by ensuring that they are valued and respected; amplifying instructional efficacy by providing teachers access to evidenced-based professional development in areas such as culturally responsive teaching, integrating technology and social-emotional learning; [and] continuing to nurture and strengthen the strong tradition of community that is the foundation of #HippoNation.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

CP: I have demonstrated that I am uniquely qualified for this position by dedicating my life to service in the field of education. Upon earning my B.A., I became a high school teacher while finishing my M.Ed. During my time as a teacher, I took on instructional leadership roles and was elected to serve on the District Advisory Committee. Furthermore, I am a proud graduate of the inaugural class of Hippo Nation University.

How should Hutto ISD manage its growth?

CP: First and foremost, Hutto ISD has done a terrific job of managing the incredible growth the district has seen. Since I graduated from Hutto High School, I have observed the district respond in lockstep to the rapidly changing needs of the students and families in our community. I believe that taking the actions laid out in my top priorities will enhance the district's response to growth by spotlighting areas vital to student success.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?

CP: Providing high-quality instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge Hutto ISD is facing. There is clear evidence that in-person instruction is the most efficacious form of learning. Therefore, I will urge district leadership to continue to provide a safe in-person learning environment by making informed decisions based on local health conditions. Additionally, I will advocate for the continuous improvement of virtual instruction for our families who have chosen to continue learning remotely.

Shara Turner

Occupation: content research and design specialist, Edgenuity

Experience: B.S. in Applied Learning and Development; M.Ed in Elementary Education; 20 years experience in education as teacher, curriculum developer and researcher

What would be your top priorities if you are elected?

ST: Hutto ISD should be the premier choice in education. Therefore, my top priorities will be to meet the needs of every learner through personalization, prepare all students to be college- and career-ready, ensure teachers are equipped with the tools and training necessary to help each student achieve success and build strong partnerships with families and community partners.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

ST: After spending 20 years in education as a teacher, educational software curriculum developer, launching the PTA as an organization in Hutto and serving as PTA president, I feel I am uniquely qualified to lend my experience to the board of trustees. In addition, over the past 10 years, I have served as the parent representative on the HISD Technology Committee, Gifted and Talented Committee and Strategic Planning Committee, introducing project-based learning to Hutto ISD.

How should Hutto ISD manage its growth?

ST: Hutto ISD should continue to put processes in place to ensure equity across all schools. As the district grows, all students should have equal access to innovative technology and programs, a strong core curriculum, safe and updated facilities and support for their social and emotional needs. We should also continue to focus on recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers that reflect the diversity of our students.

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?

ST: The greatest challenge the district is facing is keeping up with the changing landscape of education. Hutto ISD will need to find innovative ways to meet the needs of 21st-century learners. I will use my deep understanding of education to ensure the district is offering the latest research-based curriculum, such as blended learning, social and emotional learning, apprenticeship and certification programs, and additional career and technical education pathways.

By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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