Rebecca Fox was elected to her fifth term on the Katy ISD board of trustees May 7 and was named as president after the board repositioned itself May 31. In her 13th year, Fox is the longest-tenured board member. Her term will last through 2019. “I love it more today than I did when I first started,” she said. “I love serving this community more everyday.”
What are the biggest challenges the district faces this year?
New leadership. We’re relatively a new board, and with each new board member becomes a new ‘What does our team look like?’ ‘How do we respond to challenges?’ and ‘How do we develop goals and plans?’ And with [Superintendent Lance] Hindt and his vision and with our new vision statement, ‘Be the Legacy,’ it’s not as much a challenge as it is an opportunity; it’s an opportunity to really set the bar high—our expectations high—and develop our plans and our goals.
How does KISD maintain its competitiveness in attracting teachers, staff, students and parents?
We have the best people on the planet working in Katy ISD, I believe it with all my heart. We want to offer competitive pay, really good benefits like our health care package and an exceptional work environment. We work hard to get the resources to our teachers so they can be highly effective and to deliver the level of excellence in education that’s expected from Katy ISD.
How do you envision the three new campuses and, by extension, KISD’s growth rate fitting into the district’s mission statement?
It’s important to know that the students who are in our buildings right now are going to create our future. Things we haven’t thought of yet will be designed and developed and innovated by the very children in our classrooms every day. So, we give them unparalleled learning opportunities so they can create the future. It really doesn’t matter if your building is new or old. We certainly take care of our resources that the community has given us. We renovate our buildings to bring them up-to-date.
Are you satisfied with the budget that was passed on Aug. 23?
I’m very proud that our district has a balanced budget, and we’re able to provide the high excellence of education to our students and really strong facilities. [Facilities that] meet their needs where they are for the 21st century learning. I wish we could do more for teachers; I wish we could pay them more. I wish we could pay them what they’re worth, which would be for star [value]; superstar athletes and superstar artists and music people around the country. I wish [teachers] got paid what they get paid. During a decreased funding from the state and an increased demand with more students coming, balancing a budget is a difficult task for Katy ISD. And I’m proud that we were able to do it and still give all employees a raise.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
We’ve grown exponentially, but we continue to deliver a high-quality education. And we’ve emerged as one of the leaders in public education and become a destination district for families moving to the Houston area. It’s the best accomplishment; people seek to come here.
What important topics need to be covered during the State Legislative session?
We have a system that talks about high achievement but funds minimum standards, and we need to really address that. So, I’ll—we all will—be talking to our legislators about, if you want high achievement, you can’t fund minimum standards. Of course the other passion that I have is about the testing and assessment. It’s a flawed model that doesn’t allow us to really let go of those handcuffs that keep us tied down to state assessments at the end of the year. Let us show you what potential looks like when we live in a high-performing district like Katy and without an every year, every child assessment.