Jesse Rodriguez: A Q&A with the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Place 5 candidate

Jesse Rodriguez is running for re-election in the May 6 election. Jesse Rodriguez is running for re-election in the May 6 election.[/caption]

Jesse Rodriguez, an education sales regional manager, is running for re-election for the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Place 5 seat in the May 6 election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Rodriguez a series of questions. His written responses, edited for publication style, are below.

1. Why are you running?

I am running for re-election to the GCISD school board Place 5 because of my strong belief in community service and my experience as the lone educational professional on our board. As a trustee at large, it is my role to be a strong voice for all students in our district and to listen to and represent all parents, not only those who support a special interest. I have worked passionately to guide our schools to make tremendous strides and show great accomplishments in academics, the arts and athletics, including spearheading the stakeholders committee responsible for developing our district's long-range strategic plan, LEAD 2021. Our public education system and our school district face challenging times that require a trustee with a background and experience in education, and who provides consistency of leadership and continuity of direction to best help GCISD navigate these difficult choices. I am that person, and I am the voice of experience.

2. Why are you qualified for this position?

I am the only GCISD board member to have a background and work experience in public education—as a high school teacher, a middle school administrator, a corporate executive, and as a multi-term board member and officer in GCISD and North Texas. My qualifications are highly relevant to my role as an effective school trustee because they afford me the ability to analyze issues facing our district from a variety of perspectives, each of which is valuable in helping our district respond to the needs of students, teachers, administrators and staff who work diligently on behalf of our school district. I have spent the past 15 years listening to parents, supporting our teachers and administrators, and empowering our students. During my tenure I have championed STEM and AVID programs, iUniversity Prep, Collegiate Academy, ASPIRE Academy, TEC Center, and new multi-activity and athletic centers as well as three campuses for dual-language and programs for students with diverse needs (limited English proficient, dyslexia, gifted and talented, low socio-economic.)

3. If elected, what will you focus on?

The three most critical issues facing GCISD are school finance; vouchers, tax credit scholarships, including Education Savings Account Programs (ESAs); and the new A-F state accountability system.

Our school finance program in Texas is collapsing and broken, and our state Legislature must establish a funding program that is fair and equitable for all school districts, including GCISD. I oppose vouchers, tax credit scholarships, or ESAs that divert public tax dollars from our schools and adversely affect the quality of public education without the accountability to our taxpayers and state. GCISD already sent more than $30 million to the state this year. Any form of voucher takes additional dollars from our local school district, places further burden on our taxpayers, and will negatively affect the quality and variety of programs we are able to offer in coming years. I oppose the A-F campus and district ratings that reduce to a single letter grade the numerous accomplishments achieved by our students, campuses, teachers and administrators. I am in total support of accountability for our public schools; however, the accountability system must be fair and provide families with accurate information about our schools, including details of their successes and accomplishments.

Julie Lawrence has also filed for Place 5.

Election day is May 6, and the polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Early voting will run April 24-29 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 1-2 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
By Sherelle Black
Sherelle joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2014 as a reporter for the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. She was promoted in 2015 to editor of the GCS edition. In August 2017, Sherelle became the editor of the Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. Sherelle covers transportation, economic development, education and features.