Suzanne Smith has filed to run for the State Board of Education District 12 seat. She defeated Tina Green and Laura Malone-Miller in the March 6 primary election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Smith a list of questions about her candidacy. Below are her answers, which have been edited for publication style.

1. Why did you decide to run for this office?
The Texas economy is ranked No. 6 nationally by U.S. News and World Report. We are thriving economically. But, I have become increasingly concerned that our education system is not keeping pace with our needs. Texas’s education system is ranked No. 41 in the country. If we do not make innovative and smart decisions over the next decade to change our course, tomorrow’s future will not be as bright. My goal is to take this fight to Austin to make Texas No. 1 in education and prepare our children to be the global citizens of tomorrow. 

2. What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position
Four things:

1. Strong background in public education as a student, professor and daughter of educators

2. Two decades of experience and leadership through boards and commissions

3. MBA from Duke University

4. Track record in community as a consensus builder

3. If elected, what would be your top priorities?
1. Strong start through pre-K: Quality early education from birth to third grade provides the highest return on investment for the success of our students.

2. Whole child: Attention must be given to children who come to school hungry, whose asthma problems inhibit their activity or who feel unsafe.

3. Teaching recruitment/excellence/retention: Teachers are a big driver of student success.

4. What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
I have seen firsthand how Dallas and its suburbs have grown into a truly metropolitan area. I grew up in Rockwall. My first job was for the city of Garland, and I attended University Interscholastic League tournaments in McKinney, Wylie and Plano. I now have a business that works across the DFW area. Our community has evolved in the past four decades. We need leadership that knows the past, but can help chart the future.