Meredith KellerMerideth Keller (Incumbent)

Experience: current board president, past board vice president and secretary, 180 hours of board training
Top priorities: increase parent and community involvement, improve college- and career-readiness, increase academic and fiscal transparency, improve employee morale

Why are you running?

I am seeking re-election to the Hays CISD board of trustees to continue my leadership and record of supporting our students, parents, staff members and taxpayers. I have a unique perspective because of my intimate current and historical knowledge of the workings of our board, administration, and, most importantly, the education of the students we serve.

What is the biggest challenge facing the district?

The biggest challenge facing our district is academic advancement for all students. While we must maintain safety, manage growth and care for nonacademic student issues, we are in the business of educating kids. We must focus on graduating college- and career-ready adults. My record proves that I am dedicated to academic achievement for all students.

Why do you feel you are qualified for this position? 

I am the most qualified candidate because the leadership I provide began thirteen years ago and has not wavered. In my role as your current District 4 board trustee, I serve as the current board president and served as the past vice president and secretary. I have 180 hours of board training and served on the Board Operating Procedures Committee, Internal Audit Committee and Calendar Committee. I have successfully advocated for low elementary class sizes, lower taxes, higher teacher pay and process improvements. My district-level service includes the District Leadership Team, Growth Impact Committee, Bond Committee, Attendance Zone Committee, Principal Hiring Team and State Comptroller Task Force on Student Learning. I have served at the campus level on committees such as the Campus Leadership Team, PTA and booster clubs.

What can you do specifically to improve learning in Hays CISD classrooms?

Our district needs to embrace a comprehensive career and college readiness plan. We also need a comprehensive master facilities plan. I have already addressed these needs with the community, administration and board and will see them through. Students should enter their advanced college or career classes without requiring remediation. I will support our teachers with the tools they need to set our students up for success. The comprehensive master facilities plan should provide the community the information related to our current and projected facilities, property, demographics, finances and bonds. I will make sure that the community does not need to start over each time we have to seek a bond, build a campus or determine school sites. Students and teachers need support from the board of trustees. I will continue to provide that advocacy and leadership. We can do this together!

Jonanna MikulenkaJonanna Mikulenka

Experience: responsible for financials of publicly traded company, Elm Grove Elementary PTA president, various community leadership roles
Top priorities: maintain focus on children’s education, improve financial oversight

Why are you running?

This community has been home to my family for 20 years, and I have served in various organizations within the district and through many other service programs. Serving as a trustee is another way to share my talents and skills with the community. My children have attended or are attending HCISD schools, and this is another way for me to be an active member of my community. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the district?

As one of the fastest-growing districts in Texas, HCISD has and will continue to have many challenges—first and foremost being financial constraints and rapid growth. The initial budget forecast currently under review for the next three years shows the district with a significant deficit and tough challenges ahead. My business experience and skill set is needed to help steer the district in the right direction over the next few years.

Why do you feel you are qualified for this position? 

In addition to being a CPA and the corporate controller for a large, publicly traded company in Austin, I understand how school funding works. I have served as the community representative when selecting a financial investment representative for the school district as well as served many district initiatives including the Growth Impact Committee, Calendar Committee, 5-year Strategic Plan Initiative, PTA President at Elm Grove Elementary. I founded the Carpenter Hill PTA, participated in the Dahlstrom and Hays PTA’s as well as with the Hays Athletic Booster Club. Having learned many things from these committees, I feel that this knowledge coupled with my skill set establishes a solid foundation to help take this district to the next level of performance.

What can you do, specifically, as a trustee to improve learning in Hays CISD classrooms?

One of the most important things that a trustee can do is to ensure that all of the children within the district are represented fairly and equally. One of the most important traits that a trustee can have is process management and accountability. If there are consistent processes and resources for our educators to utilize in order to perform their job, they will have the ability to thrive in their environment and focus on enhancing our children’s education. However, it is critical that there is follow-up on the implemented processes to ensure that they are working and producing the desired results. These traits are inherent in my skill set, and I can bring these to the district for improvement.