Election Q&A: Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees

Meet the candidates running in the May 7 Dripping Springs ISD school board election. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Meet the candidates running in the May 7 Dripping Springs ISD school board election. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Meet the candidates running in the May 7 Dripping Springs ISD school board election. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Learn more about the four candidates running in the May 7 Dripping Springs ISD school board election. Answers have been edited for clarity and length.


* denotes incumbent







Olivia Barnard



Experience: I have 21 years of experience in homebuilding and real estate


Occupation: Realtor, real estate investor and homebuilding consultant


Candidate Website: www.oliviafordsisd.com


Contact_info: [email protected]





How has your experience prepared you to be a Dripping Springs ISD trustee?



I have 21 years of experience in homebuilding and real estate. I have managed a staff of over 30, overseen annual revenue of over $100 million and managed million-dollar budgets. I have experience in large projects from land acquisition to vertical development. I will bring knowledge to budget, expenditure and building project items. I will ask questions and identify areas of inefficiencies. Our children and tax dollars are my top priorities.



Why are you running for the Dripping Springs ISD school board?



I am running because I want DSISD to be the district I moved here for. I want politics out. I want fair, common sense leadership. I want educators to desire working here and want to stay. I want every child and every family’s needs heard and met.



What is the biggest issue facing Dripping Springs ISD, and how do you plan to address it, if elected?



The most urgent issue is staffing. We need immediate attention to retention and recruiting. We need to listen to teachers and open the door for them to come forward with all questions and concerns. We must give them relief, now.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



As a mom, resident, business owner and taxpayer in the district, I am concerned. I love this district and raising my son here, but we can do better for students and our teachers. We don’t need more tax increases and divides between the board and community. We need trust, transparency and teamwork. We need more communication and community input.












Joanna Day*



Experience: I was elected to the DSISD board of trustees in May 2019 and elected vice president of the board in August 2021. I am a former adjunct professor of law and former compliance consultant.


Occupation: Attorney


Candidate Website: www.votejoannaday.com


Contact_info: [email protected]





How has your experience prepared you to be a Dripping Springs ISD trustee?



As a former litigator, law professor, and compliance and ethics professional, I learned how to approach and solve complex problems. I understand good governance and the role of a board. As an incumbent DSISD trustee, I’ve demonstrated my willingness to fairly consider the diverse perspectives of our community, ask tough questions and push for results.



Why are you running for the Dripping Springs ISD school board?



As an active member of the Dripping Springs community and mother of three, I am passionate about public schools and our children’s future. I want to ensure that every child in our district receives the support and education they need to shine their brightest. Maintaining a healthy culture where educators feel valued will help us achieve that goal.



What is the biggest issue facing Dripping Springs ISD, and how do you plan to address it, if elected?



Unprecedented growth. We need conservative financial planning that addresses taxpayers’ concerns while supporting facility needs, teacher retention and a continued commitment to high-quality education. I’ll continue to call on Texas lawmakers to increase funding for fast-growth districts and to adequately fund our public schools. As an incumbent, I'm prepared for this challenge.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



My primary goal is to achieve our district’s mission to provide a personalized, exceptional education to all students. I’ll work to expand individualized instruction and ensure that all students have pathways to success. Our educators are a key component in this. I will advocate for salaries, resources and support that will attract and retain excellent teachers, administrators and school staff.












Tricia Quintero



Experience: I have over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. I also am the former chair of the Hays CISD Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee.


Occupation: Full-time mom, project manager, community volunteer




Contact_info: [email protected]





How has your experience prepared you to be a Dripping Springs ISD trustee?



I've served my community as a member of the Special Education Parent Leadership committee, the chair of Hays CISD’s Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee, a member of Hays CISD’s Student Health Advisory Council , a member of the Elm Grove Elementary PTA and as a volunteer at Bannockburn Baptist Church. I'm blessed with five kids, four of whom are enrolled in Dripping Springs ISD or will be soon!



Why are you running for the Dripping Springs ISD school board?



Now, more than ever, we need leaders in office with strong, principled convictions and the courage to take a stand. My campaign centers on faith, family and freedom, and I hope to be a champion of these values while serving on the school board. Our parents and students deserve it!



What is the biggest issue facing Dripping Springs ISD, and how do you plan to address it, if elected?



Teacher retention is a big issue. I want to pay high-quality teachers more, but do so within the existing budget structure. We can do this by utilizing zero-based budgeting and third-party efficiency audits. I want to create a culture where teachers can be open and honest. Finally, I want to find money in the budget that we can redirect to classroom supplies.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



If elected trustee, I promise to fight for fiscal responsibility, better board communication and a world-class education. I also promise to fight against Critical Race Theory in the classroom, inappropriate books in the library, vaccine mandates and forced masking.












Thaddeus Fortenberry



Experience: I have worked as a senior engineer in the Special Projects Group at Apple and as a principal architect at Tesla. I have designed autopilot infrastructure and FSD subsystems as a Cloud Server Architect at AMD and was also a principal architect at Microsoft.


Occupation: Principal architect at Tenstorrent




Contact_info: [email protected]





How has your experience prepared you to be a Dripping Springs ISD trustee?



As an engineer, I would bring a new level of systematic analysis to district projects. My budget management experience with tight schedules and complicated needs should prove valuable. Furthermore, I bring to the board ... a great appreciation of science, math and the arts. I also understand the importance of supporting unique learning styles.



Why are you running for the Dripping Springs ISD school board?



My daughter is starting school, and I wanted to learn more about the details of the school district. I feel that my unique experience will bring value to the board and district. I had several teachers spend a lot of time with me when struggling though my early school years. It feels like I should repay the effort.



What is the biggest issue facing Dripping Springs ISD, and how do you plan to address it, if elected?



The most complicated issue for the district is moving past the pandemic. Two difficulties are student social and communications challenges, and the high turnover of staff because of burnout and/or inflation. I plan on working on staff compensation in earnest. I plan on working with parents to promote positive and respectful social interaction across the community.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



My motivation is simple: I believe in the power of public education. Our success results in graduates who can write, think and imagine beyond their own experiences. My hope is to bring a fresh viewpoint with real-world, tech business experience to the DSISD board. It is critical for the long-term success for our community [and] our country to ensure opportunities for the next generation.







By Glorie Martinez

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Glorie joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. Glorie covers education, business, city/county government, real estate developments and more. Prior to CI, she was an intern at KUT Public Media in Austin.