Election Q&A: McKinney ISD Board of Trustees for Place 3

Ahead of the May election, meet the three candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 3. (Community Impact staff)
Ahead of the May election, meet the three candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 3. (Community Impact staff)

Ahead of the May election, meet the three candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 3. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees Place 3 seat ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is from April 19-27.

Editor's note: An asterisk (*) indicates the candidate is an incumbent.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



McKinney ISD Board of Trustees Place 3










Kathi Livezey*



Occupation: Contract software trainer, office manager






Why did you decide to run for the McKinney ISD board of trustees?



KL: Being a board trustee is a good opportunity for me to give back to my community in an area that I have knowledge and experience in and to advocate for the teaching profession and public education.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



KL: I am a McKinney native and have been a student, parent, employee and board member for MISD, giving me a unique insight on district policies and procedures, curriculum and my community. The qualities I feel that make me a good team member are I am a problem solver, a good listener, reliable and committed to seeing MISD students have access to an excellent education.




What is your stance on the McKinney ISD bond measures on the ballot and why?




KL: Vote “yes” for all four. This is one instance where "yes" votes mean less taxes. By voting for all measures, you can support your district and lower your tax rate at the same time. Bond money is essential for the district to improve, update and add additional facilities. The proposed bond projects are a joint effort between the district and a committee of community members who prioritized the district’s needs for the next 5 years.




What do you think are the biggest issues facing McKinney ISD today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?




KL: Issue 1: Ability to stay ahead financially to maintain programs/offerings currently available, retain quality educators, and keep our campuses updated and safe. Action: Educate voters; continue community awareness of programs/offerings available to students in our district. Issue 2: Help our students manage mental health issues. Action: Making sure our school staff is equipped to recognize and give support to students who need extra help in managing stress, depression or any other mental health concerns.




What else do you want voters to know about you?




KL: Education is in my heart. I have known since I was in fourth grade that I wanted to be a teacher. I taught at JW Webb for seven years and McKinney High School for 23. My current job allows me to travel (in a non-COVID-19 world) or interact digitally with other school districts. It has given me a cross-the-country comparison of resources, policies, facilities and staffing.












Erwin Garcia



Occupation: Sales with The Armstrong Company






Why did you decide to run for the McKinney ISD board of trustees?



EG: Being a member of the board of trustees is a privilege only few have been granted. I aspire to attain as much knowledge as past and present members of the board have. What better way to learn, continue building off of the greatness that has been built, and maintain those traditions that make McKinney so grand than actively being a member. It is our duty to faithfully serve.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



EG: My experience has taken me to various regions of the world. I have had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and meet many people. The various positions I have held allow me to understand the weight that one carries to be a leader as well as responsibilities of being a servant. Communicating up and down the chain to ensure that transparency is ever clear and present is of utmost importance. Students come first, they are the future, we need to continue to lead by setting the example.



What is your stance on the McKinney ISD bond measures on the ballot and why?



EG: I am for the bond measures. In 2016, bond measures were approved by voters, and the McKinney school district has benefited greatly. MISD has set a high operating standard. To remain in the forefront and continue to lead by example are ways that we as a community can continue to do that. The students are the highest priority, and we can show them how much they matter by providing them the best opportunities to gain knowledge and advance in the pursuit of their dreams.



What do you think are the biggest issues facing McKinney ISD today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



EG: An issue that comes to mind is enrollment numbers declining last year. It can be attributed to varying factors, from the coronavirus to increased values of single family homes and even to certain generations having fewer children. With MISD being proactive in all matters from schools being modernized and educators being properly compensated for their efforts in educating the young men and women of the future, the enrollment figures will change to meet the appropriate figures that best benefit the community and above all the students.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



EG: My attitude in every endeavor is optimistic. Whether easy or difficult, there is an opportunity for advancement in every obstacle. Whatever issue or obstacle may present itself, we will advance.









Chad Green



Occupation: CEO, Five Star Innovation






Why did you decide to run for the McKinney ISD board of trustees?



CG: I have experience in helping students and districts excel. I could see that help was needed two years ago and began to pursue a position on the board. I also have a beautiful 11-year-old daughter who is incredibly smart. I want her to be able to have access to excellent certifications in technology that could be offered in our high schools and middle schools.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



CG: I have worked with districts and state agencies across the U.S. on school and district improvement. I have worked on research studies with accountability, and I know what testing can and cannot do. Our greatest asset is our teachers, and we must give them the opportunity and means to excel.



What is your stance on the McKinney ISD bond measures on the ballot and why?



CG: I am worried about the amount we are spending on AC systems all at once. I haven’t been able to find anyone in the community that was on the bond committee, which suggests that this is being driven by the administration without the input of the community. We will be spending $35 million on a new elementary school while we have already purchased the land and poured the pad. It seems to be at least $15 million more expensive than it should be. I would like to see a breakdown and reasoning for the line items, including the STEM items. 1,000 kids have withdrawn from McKinney ISD. That’s a large population decrease. Why are we rushing this bond issue?



What do you think are the biggest issues facing McKinney ISD today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



CG: Our biggest issues are performance. A “B” rating pushes new families to surrounding communities that are “A” rated. High-performing colleges are much less likely to pursue high-level scholarships for our students because of the district's lower performance rating. As our English learner population grows, we need to either become experts in bilingual education, creating a magnet campus that leads to business tracks, or we need to focus on building academically fluent English learners. If we solve this issue, we will be an “A” rated district again.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



CG: I have helped develop highly successful programs in both economically depressed and affluent areas. The biggest thing that stands in a student’s way is our low expectations. I know a 17-year-old in the Collin County area who has two contracts with DARPA because he is able to solve problems. Let’s not let our perception of students get in the way of their opportunity! It is amazing what our kids can accomplish if we give them the opportunity and the right coaching. My goal will be to provide those opportunities for every student. I want us competing with other districts that excel like Highland Park and Southlake Carroll.


By Francesca D' Annunzio
Francesca D'Annunzio covers K-12 and higher education, development, planning and zoning, and transportation in Frisco and McKinney. She attended college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she reported for the Daily Texan and interned for the Austin Chronicle. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen.