Montgomery ISD board of trustees, Position 4

Trey Kirby

Occupation: commercial real estate advisor

Experience: two terms as MISD trustee; wife and mother are both longtime educators

What are the top three issues facing MISD? How do you intend to solve them?

TK: Budget, salaries and growth. I cannot solve them, but as a team we can. With directives and goals set by the board and the help of our new superintendent, Heath Morrison, and [Chief Financial Officer] Kris Lynn, we have been able to balance the budget. This has given us the ability to work on salaries for our exemplary staff as well as other programs. Our growth plan will be determined by the analysis of our new demographic study.

What makes you qualified for this position?

TK: The position of a trustee on a school board is one of seven, and including the superintendent, makes you a team of eight; team being the most important aspect of running a district. If I've learned anything in my six years of being on the board, it's that patience, accuracy and understanding are a priority in making decisions with your team. With the experience I’ve acquired over this time, it has given me the ability to step back and make decisions that are best for the district as a whole.

Jay Grimes

Occupation: regional sales manager at M&I Electric

Experience: parent of two MISD students

What are the top three issues facing MISD? How do you intend to solve them?

JG: We’ve lost great educators to neighboring districts over pay, which is unacceptable. We must provide competitive pay by evaluating all current district expenditures and eliminating waste, such as third-party contracts. We must seriously consider student and teacher mental well-being in a post-pandemic society. We need to equip our district to manage this crisis that has strained all aspects of our life. Also, we must provide well for the [approximately] 40% of non-college-bound graduates.

What makes you qualified for this position?

JG: My best qualification is my experience growing up in public schools. Coming from a single parent/income home, my mother worked tirelessly to make sure my brothers and I had all the essentials. In Spring ISD, I witnessed their diverse school system support students of all abilities, from special needs to gifted and talented, and all the way to college readiness and career and technical support. I want to advance that experience here in Montgomery.

Christina Sato

Occupation: investor

Experience: parent of three MISD students, former intern for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, performer at the Crighton Theatre and Owen Theatre

What are the top three issues facing MISD? How do you intend to solve them?

CS: One, 40% of MISD graduates do not attend university. We must educate our students on other career opportunities and begin planning for trade school options. ... Two, teacher salaries are the lowest among the eight surrounding districts. I will advocate to ensure ... teachers and staff are heard, appreciated and receive a competitive salary. Three, drug and alcohol abuse, cyberbullying and effects of the pandemic. ... I want to promote mental health awareness for our teachers and students.

What makes you qualified for this position?

CS: Growing up in a family business I learned how to operate finances, value employees and provide exceptional customer service. My education and time on Capitol Hill allowed me to learn from leaders, listen to constituents, and study policy creation and implementation. As a volunteer in my church, local theatres and civic associations I enjoy bringing people together. I care about our students, teachers and staff and I want to ensure a return for our taxpayers.