Two candidates are running for Richardson ISD at-large Place 6 race in the upcoming May 6 election. Blake Sawyer will face off against incumbent Eric Eager.

Board members in the school district serve three-year staggered terms and are not subject to term limits. Five of the seven seats on the board are chosen by registered voters of specific districts, while the remaining two seats are elected at large by all voters. This voting system is the result of a lawsuit settled in early 2019 that accused the board of Voting Rights Act violations.

Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 75 words, answer the question provided and avoid attacking their opponent. Answers may have been edited or cut to adhere to those guidelines, or for style and clarity.

Early voting is from April 24-May 2. Voters County may cast a ballot at any Dallas County polling location during early voting and on election day.

Visit or to see a full list of where to vote during early voting and on election day.

Eric Eager

Experience: RISD board of trustee Place 6 (2020-current) RISD 5-year strategic planning design teams (2017, 2023) RISD Board Bond Committee RISD Board Policy Committee RISD facilities planning Committee 6th grade transformation Committee

Occupation: CEO of AI/Analytics Software Company

Contact Information: [email protected]

What are the biggest challenges facing Richardson ISD? How do you plan to address these issues?

Funding -Texas ranks No. 42 in the U.S. in per-student spending. It has been proven the more personal attention and assistance you can provide a child, the better the outcomes. This requires great teachers with more time to help students. We must find ways to provide fair compensation for great teachers, so they stay in the profession. I have been and will continue to advocate in Austin with our Legislatures for increased state education funding.

If elected, what would be your top priorities?

Creating Life-Ready Students- Every child needs to be equipped with the foundational academic tools to succeed in life after graduation. Teacher retention and recruitment – The teacher shortage is real and is only getting worse. Our children’s success starts and stops with quality teachers. Education Funding – RISD, along with surrounding school districts, are facing a financial shortfall due to bidding wars for teachers, inflation, and flat school funding from the state.

What qualities or expertise make you uniquely qualified for this role?

I have served as RISD trustee for the last three years and helped lead our district through one of the most challenging times in the last 50 years. My 30 years of business leadership experience has equipped me to handle making critical decisions affecting our kids. I have served on multiple RISD committees, the RISD foundation board, Leadership Richardson graduate, plus more. Finally, I am a parent of recent twin graduates (RHS-2021) who attended RISD K-12.

How should school board members evaluate school and student performance in your district?

I believe student performance is best measured by looking at a portfolio of work demonstrating growth over time versus single one-day high-pressure assessments. By frequently monitoring the growth of every student, we can identify learning gaps and respond quickly to provide assistance. A growth focus better prepares and reduces stress on state assessments on students and teachers. We should also consider a survey of parent satisfaction as a measure of overall school performance.

Blake Sawyer

Experience: District Experience: PTA VP: Webmaster for Arapaho Classical Magnet; Committee Member: Technology Advisory Committee, SEL Family Involvement Committee, District Planning Committee; Engagement and feedback member in current Strategic Plan; Westwood Junior High School: CTE speaker

Occupation: Director of U.S. Operations

Contact Information: [email protected] - 214-253-9719

What are the biggest challenges facing Richardson ISD? How do you plan to address these issues?

RISD faces three significant challenges in 2023: student achievement, declining enrollment, and financial stewardship. To tackle these obstacles, we must carefully examine our budget, evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, and efficiently steward our resources to empower each student to reach their highest potential. I am committed to our students and staff, and I believe I can make a meaningful impact in the next three years by focusing on these areas.

If elected, what would be your top priorities?

I'll prioritize student growth and district excellence by looking at three critical factors. First, effectively managing resources to support student needs and plan for the future. Secondly, prioritizing student achievement for high-quality education and post-graduation success. Lastly, supporting educators to focus on students. As the son of an educator, I understand the dedication and sacrifices needed to help students succeed. Let's work with our excellent staff to empower them for the best education possible.

What qualities or expertise make you uniquely qualified for this role?

With three kids in the district, I am invested in improving our schools. My experience serving at the local school and district level help me see the needs of others. I desire to find common ground to issues using common sense and a level-headed approach. My business degree and work experience provide skills to forecast growth, plan for the future, and manage budgets. Combined, I think I am suited to help RISD excel for years to come.

How should school board members evaluate school and student performance in your district?

Every student is unique, and success should not be reduced to test scores or activities. To ensure that every school is resourced and students can reach their fullest potential, we must rely on foundational curricula with strategies to evaluate weekly growth. Instead of long MAP tests, we could look to shorter comprehension check-ins. It's not about expecting equal results but about creating equal opportunities and inspiring growth and achievement in every student in every school.