Election Q&A: McKinney ISD Board of Trustees for Place 7

Ahead of the May election, meet the four candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 7. (Community Impact staff)
Ahead of the May election, meet the four candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 7. (Community Impact staff)

Ahead of the May election, meet the four candidates running to serve in the McKinney ISD board of trustees Place 7. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees Place 7 seat ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is from April 19-27.


McKinney ISD Board of Trustees Place 7

Serena Ashcroft

Occupation: Licensed Realtor and private music teacher

Contact: serena@standwithserena.com

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

SA: I have a natural desire to serve and have been an advocate for our children and teachers for years. With three children in the district, I am concerned with the school environment and the current direction of education, especially fine arts. Virtual learning has not been successful for many students, and our wonderful teachers are just in survival mode. They have had to work extremely hard to teach both in-person and virtual students and have had tremendous burdens placed on them. The masks have impacted fine arts and the children's ability to sing and perform. We must return to a sense of normalcy for everyone to succeed. We need to make decisions that benefit the education and well-being of the children in our community and better support the teachers. I will help make McKinney a leader in education!

How has your experience prepared you for board service?

SA: Served twice as a PTO president, including Cockrill Middle School. Substitute and music teacher including McKinney Children's Choir Director, licensed Realtor. Co-founder of the Make Greatness Academy for home-schooled and disadvantaged children. Children's advocate.

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

SA: With the growth of McKinney, we need another school up in the north section of town. However, we also need to have more transparency on the "other" items as the school is only $35 million out of the $250 million bond. This is a significant amount, especially with enrollment down by 1,000 students.

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

SA: Right now, the "COVID crisis" is the biggest issue facing McKinney ISD. Not from the virus itself, but from the "safety measures" in place that are harming our children's education and well-being including masks, distancing and virtual learning. The children need to be able to learn and engage with teachers and peers in a normal healthy environment. My first goal is to help remove these unhealthy protocols, so our students' emotional well-being can soar and education can improve. We can then focus on providing the best educational experience and opportunities for our students.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

SA: My family and I have been very involved in our community, and I am a supporter of the fine arts and sports programs. From organizing talent shows to chaperoning choir field trips, volunteering as coaches and serving the teachers at school, we love our MISD community and are prepared to serve.

Joy Booth

Occupation: Program evaluator

Contact: schoolboardjoy@gmail.com

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

JB: I have two young children in elementary school, and they are my vested interest in MISD. I believe that we need to sharpen what works in our district, be open about what needs improvement, and work together to draw a vision for all our children’s future. McKinney has good schools and a vibrant community, but our district should operate in a posture of continuous improvement to best serve our students. We need to be more transparent and accountable—sharing more about the programs we offer; who participates; who gets left out (and why); and what results come from our investments. I want to help develop an annual report to the community on these matters and work with all sectors of our city to craft a strategic plan with measurable goals, baselines, targets, and time frames.

How has your experience prepared you for board service?

JB: I have more than 20 years of service to our nation, evaluating how well federal programs work and reporting to Congress on how they should be improved. As a federal auditor, I assess the root cause of problems and recommend actions to address them—a skill set that will greatly assist the board. I’m also a business owner in McKinney, an active community and church volunteer, and a graduate of Leadership McKinney. My experiences give me a unique perspective on governance and management at various levels. Most relevant is my role as a mother of two daughters enrolled in MISD. I’ve directly experienced some programs MISD operates, including speech and dyslexia, and I know the challenges and opportunities our children and teachers have.

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

JB: I have studied these measures extensively and attended two distinct sessions where MISD officials justified each. I now feel that all my questions have been answered, and I can fully offer my support. The purchase of attendance credits addresses the recapture policy that the state requires, and this method is a practical way to preserve McKinney’s commercial tax base. The voter approved tax rate measure addresses the state’s cap on school funding, and if passed would allow MISD to maintain class sizes and the recruitment and retention of teachers. The school building initiative funds a new school located in an area where MISD enrollment continues to grow and also includes improvements to 10 campuses that are due for their 15-year cycle refresh. Finally, the technology bond allows MISD to provide hardware to each of its students to level the playing field on access and also funds classroom and laboratory computers.

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

JB: MISD faces a range of issues that require healthy and informed discussion, and the biggest issues I see relate to a lack of transparency and engagement with our community to tackle these issues together. Whether it be polices about COVID-19, the use of technology and measures to safeguard devices, bullying prevention, or equitable distribution of resources across campuses, the board needs to welcome and facilitate public discourse. Before I began my campaign, I recommended that MISD update its website to explain how one could engage with the trustees at meetings. I was surprised to see this information wasn’t publicly available, and then I was glad to prompt the change. As your trustee, I will always be mindful of ways to involve you, listen to your concerns, leverage your insights and knowledge, and engage you in our discussion.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

JB: My parents didn’t complete high school, but they supported me to be a first-generation college graduate. I know that college isn’t possible for everyone, and some have other paths in mind. Yet our community has tremendous diversity of talents and backgrounds. We have an abundance of resources in our district for a variety of passions and needs. I will strive to ensure that we are using them most effectively to advantage every student, regardless of circumstance, to nurture their interests and develop their skills.

Harvey Oaxaca

Occupation: Retired educator/educational administrator

Contact: hoaxaca62489@gmail.com

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

HO: My desire to run for the MISD board is fueled by a passion for education that has its roots in my 40-year educational career, 27 in MISD. I have seen firsthand the positive impact education has on our students. Students deserve an advocate. I will be that advocate. COVID-19 has presented our educational system with many challenges. We will continue to see fallout post-COVID. Passionate, experienced, visionary leaders will be required to guide us through the new normal. I am that leader.

How has your experience prepared you for board service?

HO: Like no other school board candidate on the ballot, I have invested over 60 years in public education, as a student, parent, teacher, coach, and both campus and central office administrator. This 360-degree perspective has allowed me to understand the challenges and benefits of public education inside and out. I will bring a vast amount of first-person experience and collaboration to the MISD Board discussions and decisions.

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

HO: I support it. It is all about the kids. All four ballot items provide stability for students, staff and our community for the foreseeable future. If passed, the bond will provide technological resources to help the district maintain a laser focus on 21st century skills for all students. The safety and security of students and staff are of the utmost importance, and the bond will provide further security updates and plans for a new elementary campus. The district’s ongoing exemplary fiscal management will still allow the tax rate to be lowered by at 3 cents.

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

HO: 1) The many academic challenges our students and staff face due the recent pandemic: Ensuring an academic foundation to provide not only remediation but enhanced curriculum for each student as needed; “Time on Task” must be protected; Providing students who have fallen behind academically with the resources to recover, may require extra time in the classroom; and COVID-19 provides the opportunity to gather input from parents, teachers and staff as we work together to address social emotional and academic challenges. 2) A continued effort to provide all students and staff a safe and secure environment: Allocate more resources to ensure security updates districtwide; An opportunity to continue partnering with the McKinney Police Department and collaborate with other first responders updating the preventive safety drills; and educational focus for all stakeholders on the importance of safety, security and mental health. 3) Continued district growth, will require enhanced communication at a high level between the school district and all stakeholders: I will bring transparency, availability and an open door to listen; I will welcome hosting virtual and face-to-face Town Hall meetings; Ensuring that our public has a forum to express, address and be heard on important current issues affecting MISD and our community; and upholding confidentiality for all parties, using integrity and professionalism in matters brought before the school board.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

HO: Retirement offers me flexibility and availability to all constituents. My wife, Rebecca, will retire in June, having dedicated her 30-year career to the students and families of MISD. She will continue to partner with me in this journey of service.

J.B. Franze

Occupation: Programmer analyst and entrepreneur

Contact: jb@jbfranze.com

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

JF: As a father of two children, I wanted to double down on my volunteer efforts within the community and have a say in the direction of their education. Having been involved with the philanthropic community for many years, I want to continue being a positive role model, leader and advocate for all children in the area.

How has your experience prepared you for board service?

JF: Throughout the last two decades of my career, I’ve displayed a strong work ethic and willingness to learn that spurred substantial growth opportunities within large Fortune-500 companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Texas Instruments and Microsoft. I’ve also been involved with the Texas oil industry for the last eight years and serve on the board of directors for the Milligan Water Supply Corporation. In addition, I recently earned a Leadership Essentials Certificate from Cornell University where I learned valuable management and administrative skills, including how to become a powerful leader; building high-performance teams; executing interpersonal communications skills; managing team performance, time and priorities; conducting effective interviews for hiring; and addressing workplace behavioral issues. Also, for the last five years, my family and I have sponsored a child in Kenya through the Hope Foundation of Kenya, and in 2017, I visited the country on a mission trip where we taught in the schools, played with the children, attended church and helped the village build new mud huts that were destroyed after heavy rains. Similarly, I also volunteered as a teacher’s assistant in 2016 in Thailand where I helped teach English to elementary school students who lived within impoverished areas and could not afford to employ native-English speakers in the schools.

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

JF: I support the McKinney ISD bond measures on the ballot as the technology and security improvements made possible with the bond should be a top priority for the district. The last bond election was in 2016. With such explosive growth in the area over the last several years and even more projected growth in years to follow, I believe passing the bond would be a wise decision.

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

JF: I believe the biggest issue facing McKinney ISD today is the disparity in performance between elementary schools. If elected, I plan to make sure all teachers have the proper resources and materials in order to run and maintain a functional learning environment that further sets our children up for success.

What else do you want voters to know about you?

JF: Driven by strong leadership skills and a passion for education, I believe that I can be a great asset to the community as well as the McKinney ISD board of trustees if elected. Having a child in the district myself, I share a lot of the same values, worries and ambitions as most other parents. At the end of the day, we all just want what’s best for our families, and I promise that with each decision I make it will come from a place that has the student’s best interest at heart.

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.


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