Candidate Q&A: Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees election preview

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Residents will vote for two of four at-large candidates in the Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees election this May. Candidates include incumbent trustee Marisa Grijalva and challengers Joanna Day, Kara Mayfield, and Rob Satterfield.

Ahead of local elections, Community Impact Newspaper sends questions out to candidates and publishes each candidate’s responses. For fairness, candidates were given a word limit and answers to questions were not edited. A version of this Q&A appears on page 29 of the April 2019 issue of Community Impact Newspaper’s Southwest Austin – Dripping Springs edition.

Early voting in the Hays County election runs April 22-30 and election day is May 4.

The candidates

Joanna Day

Occupation: part-time compliance and ethics consultant with Morehead Compliance Consulting

www.votejoannaday.com

Marisa Grijalva (incument)

Occupation: part-time reading interventionist at Baldwin Elementary in Southwest Austin

www.votemarisa

grijalva.com

Kara Mayfield

Occupation: consulting business owner, The Association of Rural Communities in Texas executive director, Texas Star Alliance principal

Rob Satterfield

Occupation: pastor of a church in Southwest Austin

www.robsatterfield.com

How long have you lived in Dripping Springs ISD?

Day: Four years.

Grijalva: Seven years.

Mayfield: My family has lived in the district for 12 years.

Satterfield: I have lived in DSISD for seven years.  I lived oversees in Istanbul, Turkey, for 10 years prior to moving to Dripping Springs.

What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the position?

Day: I have a demonstrated, lifelong commitment to children, education and public service.  As a litigator and former adjunct law professor, I learned being a strong problem-solver means I must consider issues from multiple perspectives. As a compliance and ethics professional, I understand the board’s role and what makes good governance. As a DSISD volunteer, I have experience navigating many of the complex issues facing our district. I am committed to building consensus around solutions.

Grijalva: I offer a unique perspective for the DSISD community as I bring firsthand teaching and volunteer experience at nearly all of the DSISD campuses as well as direct experience working with DSISD administration. I am passionate about children and educators, and my recent experience allows me to give a voice and perspective for them. Finally, I have built relationships with parents and their children across the district’s vast service area.

Mayfield: Throughout my professional career, I have worked to solve problems for people and communities.  I believe there is always a solution, although it is not always the simplest or easiest answer.  It is important to think ‘outside the box’ to find answers, and I am willing and prepared to engage, listen and collaborate with others to find the best solutions to the issues impacting our children and students within DSISD.

Satterfield: I have served as chair of the student health advisory committee (SHAC) for the last two years.  We make annual recommendations to the DSISD school board. I currently serve on a board of trustees for a nonprofit.  I have also served under the oversight of a board of trustees. I have a working understanding of budgets and have been a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and accountability in all of the organizations I have served.

What are the biggest challenges currently facing Dripping Springs ISD?

Day: DSISD’s most significant challenge is rapid growth. We need a fiscally conservative plan that addresses teacher retention, space limitations and funding considerations. As a member of the long-range facilities planning committee, I’m prepared for the challenge. We must simultaneously maintain the quality education that our district is known for. A continued commitment to maintaining a healthy culture where educators feel heard and valued will help us achieve that goal.

Grijalva: The most significant challenge facing DSISD is the rapid population growth. Our community continues to grow at a challenging rate, and it is important to me that our schools keep their high level of standards while accommodating the influx of students. It is important that all our children continue to experience an outstanding education while diligently managing existing district infrastructure and planning for future growth.

Mayfield: Growth within our community is one of the biggest challenges facing DSISD.  Decisions made today will impact our community for the next 20 to 30 years.  Additionally, it is important for the district to focus on the emotional preparedness of our youth, fully ensuring students have the skills needed to be future leaders in the workforce and addressing ways to curb epidemics facing our students such as vaping, anxiety, bullying and emotional health.

Satterfield: One of the biggest challenges facing DSISD is managing rapid population growth.  We must seek solutions that preserve educational excellence while advocating for greater transparency, increased accountability and more responsible stewardship of tax dollars.  I recommend implementing a bond oversight committee. In today’s world we must do everything we can to provide a safe environment where our students can thrive and reach their full potential.  Every student needs to feel valued and supported.

If elected, what goals would you have for your term in office?

Day: Our district’s mission is to provide a personalized, exceptional education to all students. Achieving this mission is my No. 1 goal. Toward that end, I will work to expand individualized instruction and ensure that students of all abilities and backgrounds have a pathway to success. Educators are, of course, a key component in this. I will advocate for the kind of salaries, resources, and support that will attract and retain excellent educators.

Grijalva: My primary goal is to ensure that our district continues to provide a high-quality education for all students while utilizing our resources wisely as we experience rapid growth. I’m passionate about providing excellent educational opportunities to all DSISD students (bilingual, special education, gifted and talented, etc.) and will be a champion for those continued services.

Mayfield: Listening to our community and students will be my first goal and the issues they bring forth.  Together they are a huge asset to the district. Additionally, finding ways to ensure our students are emotionally prepared for the challenges they will face during their educational career and provide them the tools to pursue their greatest path for success.  Finally, working within the bounds of a fiscally responsible budget while being innovative to finding solutions. 

Satterfield: I desire to serve our students, teachers and community with the highest integrity and to earn and be an effective steward of public trust.  My goal is to increase transparency and advocate for more fiscal responsibility and accountability.  One specific way to increase fiscal accountability is to create a bond oversight committee (BOC).  I will advocate for educational excellence and learning environments where students are valued, supported and safe.

Do you have any conflicts of interest that could prevent you from voting on future board actions?

Day: I have no known conflicts of interest. All board members should know that conflicts can arise at any time.

Grijalva: No, I do not have any conflicts of interest.

Mayfield: I do not have any conflicts of interest at this time which would prevent me from voting on future board actions.

Satterfield: I do not have any conflicts of interest, and this allows me to make decisions that are in the best interests of those in our district.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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