Hicks is running for the seat recently vacated by former trustee Katie Patterson. Her opponents include Regina Harris, Sakennia Reed and Taler Jefferson.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Hicks a set of questions about her candidacy. This article is part of ongoing Nov. 5 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. Her answers have been edited for publication style.
Why did you decide to run for this position?
Education is the fabric of my life. I love it! It has allowed me to embrace many new challenges in the field of education. My teaching career spans 30 years. I developed the motto: “All children can learn.” I swore to the Texas Education Agency to uphold the values of the profession. I taught gifted students; latchkey students; (voiceless) deaf and mute students; and students with no coats, socks or adequate clothing, rambunctiously craving attention—the haves and the have-nots. [I taught] students living in foster care, abused students, bullied students, mentally challenged students, adult students pursuing GEDs and court-ordered juvenile delinquents. In addition, as a fiduciary, I managed the ordering of instructional materials for grade levels, planned student excursions and [was] responsible for disbursement of payments for events. Through instruction, research, observation, and administrative duties, I possess a plethora of educational experiences. I no longer must prepare for school with thematic bulletin boards, classroom procedures, [or] a lesson plan with TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills] to correlate with national standards. My experiences will add to the goals and values of the RISD school board trustees and District 4 in the pursuit of excellence. That’s why I’m in it to win it.
What experience—professional or otherwise—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
I bring a diversity of experience, from the corporate sector of business to county government, and especially in the field of education, where I am a retired Texas public school teacher. I earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Prairie View A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in government and sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice from Texas Woman’s University. In addition, I have Texas teacher certificates in government and sociology, elementary grades 1-8, and early childhood education—grades pre-K through kindergarten. I have worked in multiple school systems, including Wilmer-Hutchins ISD, Dallas ISD and Cedar Hill ISDs and Dallas Can Academy. One of my most rewarding experiences in education is being selected by the Texas Education Agency to conduct test analysis for Pearson Publishing Company in Austin, Texas.
My career has propelled me into positions, like [being a] co-op teacher for student teachers attending Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas. I have also enjoyed being a mentor teacher and lead teacher. I was appointed as the facilitator for professional development and staff development and selected by the principal as chairperson for textbook adoption and for the site-based decision making committee. I met weekly to strategically disaggregate TAAS [Texas Assessment of Academic Skills], TAKS [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills] and STAAR [State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness] test data with teachers.
If elected, what are some specific policies you would advocate in RISD?
Due to recent mass shootings, senseless murders and exposure of high-risk sex offenders in communities, I [would] strongly advocate all elementary, middle and high school campuses follow the district’s security protocol. I would also hire full-time resource officers at every school and would recommend administrators conduct routine lockdown, evacuations and drills.
Are there any specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?
I [would] strongly advocate funding teacher pay increases with RISD recruiting, supporting and retaining principals and teachers with a pay scale competitive to other districts with similar population. Teachers spend numerous hours beyond the instructional and work hours to prepare and gather resources and deserve adequate compensation. I [would] advocate additional funding for paraprofessionals to be placed in schools performing below district goals to help close the achievement gap [and improve] yearly growth and student performance.
What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
My service to the Hamilton Park community was securing the historical marker in collaboration with the Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough. I was appointed by Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel, District 1, to the Dallas County Historical Commission. I have diligently worked as an election judge in Dallas, Irving and Richardson in many elections. The most rewarding job has been working in the field of education. That’s why I know I can make effective decisions as a school board trustee to create positive outcomes for the students in RISD.