Q&A: Get to know the sole candidate for Cy-Fair ISD board Position 1, Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson signs the final beam for Middle School No. 19 during a u201ctopping ceremonyu201d on July 30.

Tom Jackson signs the final beam for Middle School No. 19 during a u201ctopping ceremonyu201d on July 30.

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Tom-Jackson
Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees, Position 1

Tom Jackson*

Occupation: president of Green River Oil Inc.
Top priorities: hiring and retention of quality staff, safety and security, enhancement of academic attainment leading to college and career readiness
Years in CFISD: 39 years
Contact: board@cfisd.net, attn: Tom Jackson

*Incumbent


Why are you running for the Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees?
I want to continue the work with my colleagues and the superintendent in the ongoing pursuit of excellence of opportunities with equitable support for all students while exercising financial prudence.





What experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve on the board?
With 42 years of experience as a C.P.A, I bring analytical skills for review of educational goals and financial matters. Having been a teacher and a contributing textbook editor I know the importance of supporting our teachers and students in the classroom.

Serving 30 years as an elected official, the last eight as a CFISD trustee, I have learned the importance of being a public servant and the ability to help shape a common vision. As a member of the CFISD board of trustees I have served as secretary and vice president. My first 22 years of elected public service was as a [municipal utility district] board director in the Cy-Fair area, serving in all capacities including president.

Developing a global view, I have served as one of 42 directors for Texas Association School Boards at the state level and was a graduate of the 2015 TASB Leadership class earning master trustee status. I have researched, written and presented on the value [of] pre-K and the implications of Fast Growth School Districts at numerous venues including the TASA/TASB state convention and [Texas Association of School Business Officials].

I have endowed two college scholarships with the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation for CFISD graduates and have been a financial sponsor at their events. I engage in philanthropy with the CFISD FFA. I have taken these financial steps because I realize that we must provide equitable support for our students to be successful.

To gain a broad understanding of the complexities and needs of the school district it is important to be a volunteer, not just in the activities of your own children, but in those of others. The following is a listing of some of the volunteer activities in which I have been engaged: member of Cy-Fair Leadership Committee (2008-2011), chairman the last year; active member of Band Booster Clubs (1996-2004), three years as an officer; Science Olympiad, Amoco, [Volunteers in Public Schools], PTO; invited presenter at [New Arrival Center], [Advancement Via Individual Determination] and [Gifted and Talented] program. I have served as a judge and speaker for the JASON program since inception.

It is important to be active in the community to hear concerns of stakeholders. Member [of the Cy-Fair Houston] Chamber of Commerce, member of the education/workforce and governmental relations/transportation committees, education presenter for the education/workforce committee, point of contact for first responder recognition. First president of the Copperfield homeowner’s association; Leader for BSA and GSA. Active member and officer of local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, which awards scholarships at the middle and high school level.





What are the most significant challenges the district faces?
1. CFISD remains underfunded compared to other large districts.
2. An achievement gap still exists between economically disadvantaged students and those who are not.
3. Safety and security
4. Hiring and retention of quality staff





How do you plan to address those issues?
1. CFISD is financially penalized by providing homeowners the optional homestead [exemption]. The magnitude of the penalty has been estimated to be $80 million by the chief financial officer for CFISD. The solution is for Austin to repeal or reduce the penalty. The community must continue to be encouraged to support CFISD by adopting schools and providing alternative support. I will continue to push for the recognition and realization that the funding gap penalty needs to be addressed by Austin as I have since before I was first elected as trustee. Stakeholders must be galvanized to request Austin to redress this matter. Some improvement has been realized, but more must be done.

2. I have been and will continue to be a strong supporter of programs which aim to bridge the gap, including pre-K, Camp Summit, which addresses literacy, and Algebra Camp. In addition, I support participation and completion of advanced placement and dual-credit courses. Evolving demographics require classroom relationships and productivity to be strengthened through adherence to best practices, prudent application of technology, purposeful agility and enhanced equitable support to achieve growth for all while closing the achievement gap. This approach requires continuous board support, which I will encourage.

3. I have supported the design of layers of security and the requisite funding through board action and by attending relevant seminars in the area. I will continue this practice. Having made over 100 campus and facility visits. I maintain a watchful eye on the implementation of our security measures with fidelity. I will continue this practice. Evolving enhancements in safety require continuous review of best practices. CFISD has a safety committee, and I will monitor the actions of that committee.

4. Each year I have been on the board I have supported raises for all employees of the district while maintaining a budget where reserves are safeguarded. I will continue this practice. Eight years ago, the salaries of full-time employees were not competitive. I pushed for increasing salaries to where salaries would be at the top range for comparable area districts. The issue of equitable and affordable insurance for staff must continue to be reviewed. I have volunteered to be a member of a committee that has the ability to examine this issue.


By Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


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