Community Impact Newspaper sent Linn a set of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing Nov. 5 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His answers have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this position?
I believe I am the best candidate to represent District 2 on the RISD school board. Having lived in what is now District 2 for over a decade, I have built lifelong relationships with parents, residents and community leaders. In this critical election, District 2 needs someone with the skills and experience to work with the administration and the rest of the school board to get positive results on behalf of all of RISD’s 39,000 students. If re-elected, I will continue to stand up for what I believe is right, ask difficult questions and vote accordingly. I am excited and energized to serve my community in this new district.
What experience—professional or otherwise—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
My tenure as trustee has reinforced the importance of teamwork to ensure organizational success. Before my election in 2015, I proudly served my community through appointments to numerous community and civic groups. The Richardson mayor and City Council appointed me to serve as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and after that as a commissioner on the City Planning Commission.
I served for six years on the Richardson Chamber of Commerce board, twice as chair of the Public Policy Committee. I also served two years on the board for the Richardson YMCA, where I still volunteer as a youth sports coach. I am a graduate of Inside RISD [Class of] 2011 and Leadership Richardson Class XXVII.
If elected, what are some specific policies you would advocate in RISD?
RISD is responsive to the community when it comes to modifying existing practices and procedures. Policies, once adopted by trustees, are more rigid and provide a framework for the superintendent and staff. The first policy I’d recommend for adoption is the newly created community engagement process for capital projects. RISD, students, neighborhood and community leaders now work side-by-side to design projects based on the needs of the school, the neighborhood and the community before a project is considered by trustees.
Second, I support the recommendation made by the 2017 Strategic Plan that RISD adopt a Neighborhood Schools policy. A policy with a clearly defined process that includes metrics could help RISD determine when it’s appropriate to either modify school attendance boundaries or expand a campus.
Third, to avoid future salary compression issues, RISD should consider a policy that ties the percentage increase of the first-year teachers salary with the annual pay raise for existing teachers and staff.
Are there any specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?
I support increased funding on strategies that elevate student outcomes. Results from the first year of the Accelerating Campus Excellence program are encouraging, and efforts are underway to implement ACE best practices in other high-needs campuses across RISD. As a trustee, I remain 100% committed to the goal of all students reading and writing on grade level.
I support increasing funding for the new safety/security programs recommended by our recent audit. RISD has done an outstanding job to increase the safety of our schools with features like the installation of double buzzers and vestibules at all of our campuses. However, new technologies and practices to enhance student and teacher safety should always be considered.
What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
My goal as a person, husband and father is to be a part of the solution and to leave the world better than I found it. Something I care deeply about and feel I can impact is public education. As the father of three elementary-aged children in RISD, I have a vested interest in providing each of our students with the knowledge and skills needed to compete on a global stage.