Learn more about the candidates running for Round Rock ISD Place 4 ahead of the Nov. 8 election. Early voting will be available Oct. 24-Nov. 4.

Editor's note: This has been updated to reflect the original answer for question 1 of candidate Alicia Markum, which met the 50-word limit.

* Indicates an incumbent

** Candidate did not adhere to word limit. Responses over 50 words were cut off.

Linda Avila

Experience: Bachelors degree in Psychology; Masters degree in Education; Educator with 30 years experience; Three Texas education certifications in bilingual education, special education and an educational diagnostics former classroom teacher, behavior specialist and current educational diagnostician.

Occupation: Educational Diagnostician

Contact Information: 512-387-1093

What will be your top priorities if you are elected?

I will restore academic excellence, support and reward teachers, advocate for special populations, spend our money wisely, and focus on safety and security.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

Having worked with teachers, parents and students of diverse abilities and demographics, I recognize and understand the challenges facing many of our schools and special/bilingual populations. I know the value of a teacher, the necessity of parental involvement and the importance of identifying individual needs of children.

Alicia Markum

Experience: PTA President; RRISD Special Education Parent Advisory Council; RRISD Council of PTAs Diversity & Inclusion Chair; RRISD Council of PTAs Nominating Committee; RRISD Comprehensive Needs Assessment Perceptions Committee; RRISD Surrogate Parent Program; RRISD Back to School Celebration Volunteer.

Occupation: Photographer and stay at home parent

Candidate Website: https://markum4rrisd.com/

Contact Information: 512-522-0426

What will be your top priorities if you are elected?

I’ll advocate for inclusive schools with high-quality educational options that serve all students; promote a plan to close learning gaps, including understanding of equity and accessibility issues for historically underserved students, drive clarity on access to district mental health resources, and support teachers through appropriate compensation and opportunities for growth.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

As the parent of a child receiving special education, I have a decade of knowledge on the fundamentals of the public school system, including policy, funding, services and how to effectively communicate between stakeholders. I lead from an informed and empathetic perspective while employing a growth mindset necessary for collaboration.

Cory Vessa*

Experience: Round Rock ISD Trustee since 2018; Bachelor of political science degree from Trinity University; Master of public affairs degree from the LBJ School at UT Austin; served as a policy analyst for Texas Senate; part of the 2018 RRISD Citizenu2019s Bond Committee; longtime PTA volunteer.

Occupation: Nonprofit Director

What will be your top priorities if you are elected?

I’ll advocate for increased funding to attract and retain qualified, skilled educators, and for needed mental health and school safety initiatives. I’ll also advocate for additional school finance reform so taxpayers aren’t shouldering the burden of financing public schools with little state help.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

I’ve tirelessly advocated to bring RRISD the financial resources needed to prepare all students with the skills to succeed. Amidst unprecedented challenges, I listened to stakeholders and transparently made data-driven decisions while considering all valid concerns and finding balanced solutions. Despite polarization, I’ve demonstrated commitment to finding middle ground.

Jill Farris

Experience: Serteen advisor for Zoi Ora Filos; Thespian Booster Club board officer; parliamentarian for Project Graduation; active member of National Charity League; literacy partner at Berkman Elementary; former Round Rock High School Color Guard parent advisor.

Occupation: Former IT Recruiter, current homemaker

Contact Information: 512-796-9779

What will be your top priorities if you are elected?

I will work to return our schools to the learning-focused, student-centered environment that our children deserve. I will establish a pro-parent agenda in our schools and respect taxpayer dollars. I will also make the safety and security of our students and staff a top priority.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?

I have spent the last 13 years volunteering in RRISD schools, and the parents, students and taxpayers within the district deserve better. I am running with a slate of candidates that have the tenacity and the courage to take bold action to make our district one of distinction.