Alvin ISD has two positions on the May 4 ballot: Positions 4 and 5. For Position 4, incumbent Tiffany Wennerstrom faces challenger Paul Needham.
Community Impact Newspaper interviewed Wennerstrom and Needham about why they want a spot on the board. Here are the candidates and their responses.
Occupation: husband, father of two, manager of professional learning
Occupation: retired, former teacher
Why did you choose to run for Alvin ISD Position 4?
Paul Needham: I have lived in the Alvin ISD community for seven years, have worked in education for my entire career, and have fallen in love with both. In my roles, I strive to be the best for myself and those around me while developing others to be the best versions of themselves. I know that all students are capable of phenomenal things, and it is up to us as a community to guide them and clear their paths of unnecessary obstacles. I want to work with the Alvin ISD community to ensure all our students have access to a world-class education.
Tiffany Wennerstrom: Supporting public schools has always been a passion of mine and when my oldest daughter started junior high, I realized I wanted to become even more involved. I was then encouraged by a former principal to run for school board; she had seen how I not only worked to help my children but to help others as well. There were seven really great men on the board, but no women and no parents. I believed I could bring a point of view that was missing. My work on the board has been incredibly fulfilling so I am dedicated to serving another term.
What makes you qualified to run for the position?
Paul Needham: I’ve held many different positions in the field of education since I moved to the Houston area in 2005. Since then, I’ve been a teacher and have worked for high-performing schools and districts in both curriculum and talent-development positions. I have seen what success looks like at all levels from Pre-K through 12th grade and believe that these experiences will make me a strong trustee for our students.
Tiffany Wennerstrom: My education and experience have prepared me for this role. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in education from Texas A&M in 1994, I taught junior high at a public school until my daughter was born. In addition to serving on the AISD board currently I am second vice president of the Gulf Coast Area of School Boards, secretary of Go Public Gulf Coast, and President of Soroptimist International of Alvin. I also work hard with the AISD Education Foundation to raise funds to support our staff and students and travel to Austin and Washington D.C. to advocate for our staff and students.
If elected, what will your priorities in office be?
Paul Needham: If elected I will work to ensure that all the district’s decisions are rooted in student-outcomes, that all our students are safe and cared for in our schools, that campus administrators have the autonomy to do what they know to be best for their students and their local context, and to be responsible with our community’s financial resources.
Tiffany Wennerstrom: Increasing opportunities and choices for our students has always been a priority for me. I am proud to have testified before the House Education Committee to expand high school diploma choices for our students which led to an increase in CTE options. Making sure our students have numerous opportunities for fine arts as well as sports and other extracurricular activities is also important to help secure their success in life. I will also continue to support our efforts to increase our SAT/ACT and advanced placement scores.
Anything else you would like the voters to know?
Paul Needham: The prosperity of our community and the high-quality education of our students are intimately tied. I’m looking forward to working for the success of all our students, and therefore our community, for a long time!
Tiffany Wennerstrom: It has been my honor and pleasure to serve the students and staff of AISD for the past nine years and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve. I have seen the district grow from 16,000 students to 26,000 students. I will work with my fellow trustees to continue to manage the ongoing growth while keeping a balanced budget and attracting the best personnel possible by providing a positive working environment. We must remember every student counts every day.
Candidate answers have been edited for length and clarity.