Q&A: Four candidates running for Houston ISD board of trustees District VII

Three candidates are running for District I on the Houston ISD board of trustees, which covers parts of the Greater Uptown, Upper Kirby, Afton Oaks/River Oaks, Lazybrook/Timbergrove, parts of Sharpstown, Montrose and Washington Corridor areas. (Community Impact staff)
Three candidates are running for District I on the Houston ISD board of trustees, which covers parts of the Greater Uptown, Upper Kirby, Afton Oaks/River Oaks, Lazybrook/Timbergrove, parts of Sharpstown, Montrose and Washington Corridor areas. (Community Impact staff)

Three candidates are running for District I on the Houston ISD board of trustees, which covers parts of the Greater Uptown, Upper Kirby, Afton Oaks/River Oaks, Lazybrook/Timbergrove, parts of Sharpstown, Montrose and Washington Corridor areas. (Community Impact staff)

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Mac Walker
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Bridget Wade
Four candidates are running for District VII on the Houston ISD board of trustees, which covers parts of the Greater Uptown, Upper Kirby, Afton Oaks/River Oaks, Lazybrook/Timbergrove, parts of Sharpstown, Montrose and Washington Corridor areas. Community Impact Newspaper reached out to each candidate to hear about what they believe are the top challenges facing the district as well as what their priorities would be to solve them.









Mac Walker



Occupation: small business owner


Experience: deep finance, operations background; mentored at-risk high school students; board experience; diverse life story; father of three


Campaign Website: www.macwalkerforhisd.com
Contact: 713-823-1697




Why are you running for the HISD board of trustees?



MW: Now is the time. New superintendent [Millard] House requires a new, bold board to work with him ... Second, I offer expertise in a critical area that the current board lacks:budgeting. On multiple occasions the board has passed budget deficits only to end up with a surplus. The reason this is so damaging is because it leads to bad decisions.



What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the district today, and how would you tackle it?



MW: While it’s tempting to point at student outcomes that are chronically below the state average, or the mismanagement of funds, the biggest issue is the declining enrollment in HISD. HISD has a trust issue. Families are leaving the district, placing tremendous financial strain on HISD. The board’s ongoing ethics investigation and votes against meaningful change have led to this. I would tackle this acting with integrity, competence and transparency for the benefit of all students.



What would some of your top priorities be if elected?



MW: Reform the budgeting process so that the board makes informed decisions when evaluating key items such as school funding and teacher raises. Provide incentives to get great teachers in the lowest performing schools. Adjust the funding model so that schools are funded equitably, and with more power placed in the hands of the principals on the front lines. Finally, I think the board needs to do a better job of working with the superintendent.











Bridget Wade



Occupation: homemaker and volunteer


Experience: product of Houston ISD, mother of three grown children, school [parent teacher organization] president, service on school trustee boards, leading and participating in both Blaffer Museum and Blanton Museum advisory boards and Methodist Hospital Task Force chair


Campaign Website: www.bridgetforthekids.com




Why are you running for the HISD board of trustees?



BW: I am running for the HISD board of trustees because I believe we have a great opportunity to step out of the current status quo. I know, we are in need of leaders who can work together, think creatively to engage the community, listen to the families and the desires they have for their children, advance school choice and reduce the difficulty in access to those choices. I have common sense know-how and believe that our kids deserve better. I believe that schools should reflect the pride of our city and neighborhoods and are the gateway to champion our future.



What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the district today, and how would you tackle it?



BW: The largest challenge that face[s] the district is debt. This issue bleeds into all the other problems we are facing. It is time to reduce spending on bloated contracts, central office staffing, [and] legal retainer fees, and look to outside vendors who are more effective in services.



What would some of your top priorities be if elected?



BW: My top priorities include kids and communities, accountability, restore campus pride, teacher salary, improve school choice











Dwight Jefferson



Occupation: Candidate did not respond.


Experience: Candidate did not respond.






Why are you running for the HISD board of trustees?



DJ: Candidate did not respond.



What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the district today, and how would you tackle it?



DJ: Candidate did not respond.



What would some of your top priorities be if elected?



DJ: Candidate did not respond.











Anne Sung



Occupation: Houston ISD trustee


Experience: mom; Teacher of the Year; Project GRAD chief strategy officer; Harvard Master of Public Policy


Campaign Website: www.anne4hisd.com




Why are you running for the HISD board of trustees?



AS: When we get education right, every student can reach their full potential. That’s what I’ve worked to deliver as HISD’s District VII trustee, strengthening special education, career and technical education, and college readiness, raising teacher salaries, improving budget efficiency, and putting $26.5 million back into school budgets. I’m running because there is important work yet to be done. I bring educational expertise and board experience that will help HISD’s new superintendent achieve our district goals.



What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the district today, and how would you tackle it?



AS: HISD’s biggest challenge is helping students, teachers and schools succeed in the wake of the pandemic. To tackle this, I have supported Superintendent [Millard] House to implement proven strategies, including bringing students back for in-person learning, with a nurse, counselor, and wraparound specialist for each school to address non-academic needs; small-group tutoring to help students who are behind to get caught up; [Scholastic Aptitude Test] and [American College Testing] tutoring and college advisors to help students prepare for college.



What would some of your top priorities be if elected?



AS: Student achievement—build on progress in college and career readiness and special education. Expand early childhood education and help third graders succeed in reading and math. Competitive teacher salaries—raise teacher salaries so we can keep the best teachers in HISD. 21st century schools—rebuild old elementary school buildings with strict audit oversight and without raising taxes. Transparency and community voice—ensure transparency and student, teacher, and parent input in all district operations.





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