Q&A: Heather Wang is running for Place 4 seat on Plano ISD board of trustees

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Heather Wang is running for the Plano ISD board of trustees Place 4 seat.

Wang is running against Lisa Kolodny and Katherine Chan Goodwin.

The seat is currently held by trustee Yoram Solomon, who is not seeking re-election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Wang a set of questions about her candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. Her answers have been edited for publication style.

1. Why did you decide to run for this position?

Children are the future of the world. In my mind, nothing is more important than the education of our children. Education has always been near and dear to my heart. I have been an involved parent and committed volunteer in the PISD learning community for over 10 years. It comes naturally to me at this stage of my life to run for school board in order to help all PISD children succeed.

We moved to Plano to raise our family precisely because of its excellent public education. Both of my children have gone through PISD schools and benefited greatly. The PISD community has given us so much over the years. To whom much is given, much is expected. I feel a personal responsibility to ensure that PISD schools continue to be top notch, and every kid in the PISD community will continue to benefit from what our excellent schools can offer.

Additionally, both my husband and I deeply believe in leading by example. We want to make our children aware of the great value of being a public servant by running for school board. It will be such a great honor and privilege to represent the community by serving on the board.

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

I earned my bachelor’s degree in German studies from Beijing Foreign Studies University. I then graduated from New Brunswick Graduate School at Rutgers University with a master’s and doctorate in German language and literature. I taught German while I was in graduate school. I was also the German House residence hall director, supervising undergraduate residents. After graduation, I established my own business, and I am currently broker-owner of my real estate company. As a successful business owner, I am an expert in budgeting, planning and negotiating for my business and for my clients.

My two daughters have gone through PISD schools. I have a combined 20 years of experience with our school system. I have been an involved parent, a long-time PTA member, and an enthusiastic volunteer. I currently serve as the vice president of ways and means for Jasper High School PTSA. I am also serving on the Diversity Advisory Committee and the Gifted and Talented (PACE) Advisory Committee, appointed by the PISD board of trustees. I have been attending PISD board meetings and work sessions for the past two years, and I attended the strategic planning retreat last December. My engagement with PISD enables me to feel the pulse of the district on so many different levels, which makes me the perfect bridge between our community and our school district.

My engagement with the community goes beyond PISD. I am a member of the Library Advisory Board, appointed by the Plano City Council in 2017, and a graduate of Plano Citizens Academy. Over the years, as a civic-minded, grassroots person, I have worked closely with local candidates and elected officials and have communicated frequently with our legislators. Most recently, at the PTA Rally Day on Feb. 25 I met with state Sen. Angela Paxton, R-Plano, and state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, in Austin to advocate for school finance reform. I will continue visiting with other state legislators and advocating for the PISD community’s collective best interests. My active involvement both inside and outside of PISD will be invaluable to me when elected as your next board trustee.

3. If elected, what are some specific policies you would implement in PISD?

PISD is a great school district with a lot of great policies already in place. However, if elected, I would like to encourage tighter collaboration between the district and its individual schools to ensure each student’s success. The district must set and monitor clearly defined goals for achievement, help schools achieve efficient instruction and provide intervention, if needed.

I would like to promote community engagement, build trust, and strengthen relationships among all parties of the PISD community.

I would also like to promote financial transparency and accountability. We should make important and relevant information easily accessible to our taxpayers.

I would also like to implement policies that address the means of incorporating advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence, into PISD’s curriculum, possibly in partnership with local high-tech companies, in order to prepare our students for a digital future.

I would like to see a more rigorous civics education for our students.

Finally, I would like to ensure a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment for all students. Furthermore, I would like to see policies that protect the data privacy of everyone in the school system.

4. Are there specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?

I would consider allocating more funding for instruction. Each child is special. Classroom teachers need all the resources they can get to give each student the individual attention he or she deserves. We need to pay our teachers competitive salaries and provide them with greater support so that we can recruit and keep outstanding teachers. Money to the teachers is money to the classroom.

I would invest more in English language learners and in providing equal access to education for children with special needs and gifted and talented students. Funds need be spent on our children’s education. All students are precious. We want every child to reach his or her full potential. Special mention goes to the middle-of-the-road kids, who equally deserve the teacher’s attention and need to be making sound academic progress too.

I would always budget enough funds to keep all of our buildings well maintained. Deferred maintenance is costly.

Considering that the most basic educational needs of so many students have not been adequately met, I would refrain from funding any non-essential items. My guiding principle in budgeting will always be: Do more with less; put children first. I believe that a responsible board member needs to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money.

5. What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?

My husband and I have been living in Plano since 2006. We both have had great careers while serving the community and raising a family. Our two daughters are PISD students attending Jasper High School.

I was born in a small village in China. My father was a mechanic who worked in a city 50 miles away from the village and could come home only on weekends. My mother had to take care of four children, mostly by herself. Without the sacrifices my parents made and my own hard work in school, I would not have been the first in my family to go to college.

I eventually earned both master’s and doctorate in German language and literature from Rutgers University and became a business owner. I am a passionate advocate for public education because I believe that, for most people, public education is the greatest power equalizer and serves very well as a means to achieve personal success and upward social mobility.

I love reading, painting, traveling and cooking for my family when I am not working.

To know more about me and my campaign, please visit www.heather4pisd.org.

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Gavin Pugh
Gavin got his chops as a reporter when he was editor-in-chief of the Baylor Lariat. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Baylor University and has since come on board as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's Plano edition. His beat includes transportation, Plano ISD and municipal government.
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