Dalia Begin was elected as the new Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Place 2 trustee in May. She brings over two decades of strategic leadership experience, which includes financial planning and organizational management, to her new role.

Begin recently spoke with Community Impact about what attracted her to serving on the school board, what’s on her to-do list and more.

Why did you decide to pursue a position on the GCISD board?

My desire to serve our schools started immediately after our family intentionally relocated to Colleyville because of the exceptional Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. With our children enrolled in GCISD schools, we are deeply committed to their educational journey and the district’s overall success. As a proud law enforcement family, community service has always been at the forefront of our values. This sense of responsibility extends beyond our home. Leveraging my professional background and diverse skill sets, I am dedicated to contributing significant value to the board and ensuring the continued excellence of our schools.

Please explain how your background/experience will help prepare you for the position.

With over two decades of strategic leadership experience, I bring knowledge in various critical areas. My expertise spans strategy development, financial planning, organizational management, people leadership and effective decision-making. As we move forward, my background will play a pivotal role in overcoming challenges and enhancing our service to students.

I firmly recognize the paramount importance of fiscal responsibility. Consequently, I pledge to allocate resources diligently, ensuring they benefit our schools and students optimally. My track record speaks to my ability to achieve more with less while maintaining the highest standards of excellence. Every decision made by the school board carries inherent risks. Leveraging my background in risk management, I am committed to making informed choices that prioritize student well-being while minimizing potential pitfalls. This proactive approach is essential to prevent unnecessary and wasteful spending.

What are the top three things on your to-do list as a board member?

As a new board member, my highest priority this summer is listening and learning. Stepping into a new role can be challenging, but also an opportunity to make a positive impact.

Meeting community members was the most rewarding part of my campaign. I had the privilege of meeting many passionate individuals who deeply care about the future success of our district. I am eager to continue engaging with stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators and community members. Your concerns and aspirations are vital for making informed decisions. I believe that building trust and rapport can foster open communication and collaboration, and I am committed to this process.

In any leadership journey, a commitment to continuous learning and improvement is paramount. I am dedicated to participating in training sessions that will provide valuable insights into the workings of a school system and the challenges it faces. This is a top priority for me, as I believe that continuous learning is the key to effective leadership and positive change.

I am learning about the district and its culture to gain a deep understanding of the strategic plan, people, governance structure, policies and procedures. GCISD leaders and employees have been extremely gracious with their time to bring me up to speed. I continue to be extremely impressed with the caliber of our district staff and their genuine desire to do what's best for our children and community. I am thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with these outstanding professionals.

What are the top three things that you wish to see the board accomplish as a whole during the upcoming school year?

Our school board plays a crucial role in shaping GCISD's education policy. We must maintain our unwavering commitment to ensuring every student's success. We achieve this by setting rigorous academic standards, ensuring excellence in teaching and providing abundant resources and opportunities to foster student growth. Moreover, I hope we cultivate a passion for lifelong learning, empowering students to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Let us embark on a journey of new and innovative community engagement events that foster and promote open communication, such as hosting town hall meetings. Your input, as parents, teachers, staff and students, is invaluable. We actively seek to involve community members in our decision-making processes, recognizing the importance of your perspectives and experiences.

Now more than ever, we must leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of sustainable financial solutions. Financial planning, an ongoing exercise, must be regularly adjusted to remain effective, relevant and aligned with the district's objectives and priorities. This commitment to financial stability, always keeping children at the center of our decision-making, ensures our ability to weather external pressures and internal changes, providing a secure foundation for our students' education.

We must reduce costly and disruptive staff turnover. While advocating for increased staff salaries, I recognize that pay alone is insufficient to retain the best talent. We must empower our teams, foster autonomy and create an environment where everyone can thrive and have rewarding career opportunities.

A number of school district officials and school board members across Texas have criticized the governor and other state politicians about the lack of funding, especially since the state is sitting on a record surplus. What's your take on this situation?

Public education funding has been a hot-button issue for years. I am disappointed that we saw very little legislative progress this year that directly benefits Texas school children. While Texas has a substantial surplus, public schools still face funding challenges. It’s crucial for policymakers to allocate funds wisely, especially in areas like education where additional investment is needed. Investing in quality education for our children today not only contributes to a thriving community but also strengthens our entire country. I plan to advocate fiercely in this space.

When you reflect on your childhood education, what are your favorite memories? Do you feel GCISD provides similar experiences?

Growing up, I attended international schools while living abroad. These schools, magnets for students from diverse countries, provided a rich tapestry of cross-cultural interactions that profoundly shaped my worldview. At these schools, I wasn’t just learning from textbooks; I was immersed in languages, traditions and viewpoints. This exposure enriched my learning journey, fostering empathy and a global perspective. As a result, I forged lasting friendships with peers worldwide. Our shared experiences transcended borders, creating bonds that endure to this day. International schools are hotbeds of educational innovation. Their forward-thinking pedagogies—such as project-based learning, interdisciplinary studies and technology integration—captivated me at an early age. I engaged in critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity. These methods prepared me for the rapidly evolving world and ignited my passion for lifelong learning. Beyond the classroom, they offered a long list of extracurricular activities.

I stepped onto the stage, embodying characters like Oliver in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” Rosette in “Little Shop of Horrors,” and Skimbleshanks in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Cats.” These theatrical experiences built my confidence and kept me highly engaged. In high school, I donned my cheerleading uniform with pride. I am grateful that my children have had the chance to flourish in their academics and the arts at Bransford Elementary and as part of the phenomenal [Colleyville Middle School] band program. Additionally, I eagerly anticipate their involvement in sports and various extracurricular activities during high school. Many of the staff members in GCISD remind me of the outstanding educators I had the pleasure of learning from as a young student. I am very grateful for the selfless teachers and staff members who poured into my educational journey and those who are doing the same today with my children.