Q&A: Steve Kent challenges incumbent Mark Lewandowski for Tomball ISD board of trustees Position 4

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Meet the two candidates running for Tomball ISD board of trustees, Position 4, in the Nov. 6 election. Early voting begins Oct. 22.

Steve Kent

Occupation: automotive industry consulting engineer, electronics and control systems
Experience: 16 years in Tomball ISD, test engineer at Epson America Inc., regional service manager for Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., hardware application engineer for Hewlett Packard Inc.
Top priorities: maintain our level of high standards, manage district growth, reduce waste

kentfortisd@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/kentfortisd

Why are you running for election to the Tomball ISD board of trustees?
I made the decision to run for the school board because I believe strongly in our district. With two of our children still in the district for four more years, I have a vested interest in our district. I am confident that my involvement with our school board can positively impact the future of our growing district.

What are the biggest challenges for TISD in the coming years?
Projected growth of 5.2 percent for TISD over the next two years is significant. Balancing the needs of our district with changing economic conditions is what I believe needs to be the focus of our school board.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve on the TISD board of trustees?
I am a fresh face for the school board with a long history of district involvement. I have been actively involved with each school my children have attended. My oldest daughter just graduated from Tomball High School in June, and my twin daughters are freshmen at Tomball High School this year. Our family has lived in this district since 2005, and we have seen firsthand the growth and changes within our district.

What do you believe is TISD’s greatest strength?
Our district is one that consistently and competently prepares our students for success in college as well as in many sought-after careers, including the military, but [it] still maintains a hometown feel. This is a district that parents want to bring their kids to.

What do you believe is one area in which TISD can improve, and how do you plan to help the district work toward improving in that area?
Preparing students for a college career is important, but an area that is often overlooked is when a student desires to enter the trades. In the next few years, many of the fastest-growing jobs are going to be in health care, information technology and the skilled trades. Career and technical education, such as automotive technology, HVAC, electronics, and oil and gas careers are areas that I believe our district can make improvements in. By placing the proper tools and resources in our teachers’ hands, this goal can be a reality for our student population. I would like to explore our district partnering with local businesses in the above-mentioned areas. I believe it will be beneficial to both the host businesses and to our district but most importantly, to our students who desire to acquire real-world experience.

*Incumbent
Mark Lewandowski

Occupation: engineering manager at Houston facility of SPX Flow Inc.
Experience: first elected to Tomball ISD board of trustees in 2003 and has held positions of assistant secretary, secretary, vice president and president; immediate past president and a director in the Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards; graduate of the Texas Association of School Board’s Leadership TASB program; district resident since 1964
Top priorities: continue to work to make TISD one of the best school districts in the state and ensure that we provide the best education possible for all of our students; advocacy—inform and educate our community and legislators on the importance and successes of public education as well as the issues that affect TISD both positively and negatively; strategic plan for 2025

713-294-5920
marklewandowski@tomballisd.net

Why are you running for election to the Tomball ISD board of trustees?
I am running for re-election for the Tomball ISD board of trustees because I think that with my board experience I am highly qualified and have a great record to rely on. It is my passion to see Tomball ISD excel. I truly believe that Tomball ISD is a great district that has not peaked and that our board governance has helped guide the district to where it is. We have a great board that works well together and with our superintendent and her staff, and we have one common goal, which is to do what is best for all of our students.

What are the biggest challenges for TISD in the coming years?
I believe that Tomball ISD has several challenges in the coming years that include continued growth, state legislative issues and financial support, and maintaining the excellent staff we have as some of our employees begin to reach the age of retirement.

What makes you uniquely qualified to serve on the TISD board of trustees?
I feel that I am qualified to serve on the Tomball ISD board because I have devoted much of my personal time working to understand public education and to be an advocate for it. I have board experience and have been president several times proving my leadership skills. I have earned the Master Trustee title from the Texas Association of School Boards, having graduated from their yearlong Leadership TASB program. I am a graduate of Tomball ISD and have great pride for our district and the hard-working teachers and administrators who make it successful. I have an open mind and look at every issue from all sides to ensure making the right decision. And most importantly, I care about our students’ success, our parents and taxpayers, and the employees of our great district.

What do you believe is TISD’s greatest strength?
I think that Tomball ISD is truly blessed with a great superintendent; we have a great staff, including teachers, administrators and all other employees that work hard to ensure student success; we are financially sound; and we are in [a] great community that supports our school district.

What do you believe is one area in which TISD can improve, and how do you plan to help the district work toward improving in that area?
While there is always room for improvement, I do not see one area that we have a major weakness in. I see TISD continuing to make incremental improvements in our student scores, our staff training, our culture and the programs that we offer our students. I see us taking a more active role in educating our parents and the community about issues that affect the district and how they can help us work with our legislators to change the status quo.

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Anna Lotz
Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in the Tomball and Magnolia communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.
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