Candidate Q&A: Meet the candidates for Humble ISD trustee Position 3

Meet the candidates running for Humble ISD trustee Position 3. (Community Impact staff)
Meet the candidates running for Humble ISD trustee Position 3. (Community Impact staff)

Meet the candidates running for Humble ISD trustee Position 3. (Community Impact staff)

Editor's note: This article was updated to include responses from candidates.


HOUSTON



Humble ISD trustee Position 3




Responses have been edited for length and clarity.






Jesse Givens



Occupation: Urban planning


Experience: Humble ISD graduate, community planning and development






What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



JG: I want Humble ISD to be the Number 1 district in Texas. Humble ISD needs to be responsive to the needs of its various communities and the local schools. I would give teachers additional resources, especially in special education and in Title 1 schools. The arts, languages, and sciences need greater funding. More emphasis needs to be placed on college and workforce preparedness. I would provide more support toward UIL, dual-credit, AP, and IB participation.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



JG: School board duties include adopting priorities and adopting the budget. In the budget, I would value community, teacher, and administration input. If elected, I would prioritize retention and training of excellent teachers and providing resources that improve parent-teacher relations for each and every student. Additionally, I would ensure resources are directed toward campus security. I would fund activities that lead to student scholarship like academics, sports, and extracurriculars, including UIL, Pre-K, STEM, arts, and languages.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



JG: I graduated from Humble High before going on to graduate from Ivy League universities. Public education should be geared more toward student scholarship instead of standardized testing. Subject-matter proficiency should be nurtured, from special education through advanced-level programs. Parent-teacher support and training should be prioritized. UIL, STEM, sports, arts, and languages should receive additional funding from the state level. Humble ISD has done a good job with campus security, and that model should be supported.









Chris Parker



Occupation: licensed property, casualty and life/health insurance agent for more than 20 years


Experience: longtime volunteer with several local nonprofits, including Deerwood Elementary PTA, Humble Area Assistance Ministries, Humble ISD, "Lives Over Levels''






What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



CP: Every child should be college-, career- or military- ready when they leave our district. Whether you are on a university pathway, career pathway or military, the district needs to continue to provide opportunities that engage students on every level of the academic spectrum.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



CP: The budget process in the district includes the input of staff and teachers’ requests. As funds are available, priorities are made. I would not propose cutting back on teachers, staff and/or salaries. Creative ideas should be researched to help meet district needs without having to rely on budget cuts that may adversely affect key programs.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



CP: No matter our opinion, distance learning is here to stay, and I’m excited at the prospect of being included in the solution and watching innovation at work. I look forward to seeing what our legislators decide in this 87th Texas legislative session as well as learning the TEA’s new policies and directives.









David O. Popoola





What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



DP: This candidate did not respond.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



DP: This candidate did not respond.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



DP: This candidate did not respond.









Donté Washington



Occupation: owner, Pharmacy Tech Lessons


Experience: minister, Refuge Temple Ministries; regularly volunteers with students






What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



DW: COVID-19 brought challenges never seen by this generation. According to recent studies, there has been a significant decline in elementary students’ ability to meet their expected literacy skills in the 2019 and 2020 school years. We must encourage parents to become actively involved in their child’s academic development. Teachers need the teaching tools, skills and support to remediate the students, and they may desire further professional development for this challenge.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



DW: When elected, with the help of the board, we will examine our expenditures to ensure they are aligned with the vision and best interest of our district. We must examine each unplanned expense to determine if the benefits derived justify the additional cost. We will find some of these expenses are not in vain but will continue to be fruitful in helping our students and staff in the years to come.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



DW: One change that should be made is ensuring that schools increase student proficiency levels before passing the student to the next grade level. The original intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act is to ensure that all students are taught according to academic standards that prepare them for success. We must ensure that our low-performing schools are provoked to excellence by not giving students an unearned pass, which is a practice that could possibly cripple students for a lifetime.









James C. Banks



Occupation: executive director of technology, Texas City ISD


Experience: 35 years of service in public education as a teacher and technology director






What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



JB: There needs to be a more coordinated focus on the development of virtual learning as a continuing platform. The district needs to make an academic and economic commitment to developing a one-to-one laptop program for all students.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



JB: Part of the role of serving on the board is helping to determine this. I cannot answer this question until I have the opportunity to explore the issue firsthand.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



JB: There needs to be a greater emphasis on school security and student safety. This includes taking issues of bullying more seriously. Teacher pay also needs to continue to increase as we ask our educators to wear more and more hats. Last, there needs to be restrictions set on the endless array of standardized tests our students are required to take each year, which is an incredible interruption to the education process.









Wilbert C. Baker



Occupation: senior pastor, Lakeland Missionary Baptist Church; chaplain, Humble Police Department


Experience: project management and ministry for three decades; served as a substitute teacher for special-needs students; taught theology on local, state and national platforms




What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



WB: I would love to see a strong focus on early education, particularly reading and math. As a district, we have some opportunities. I would love to see more of our students graduating with associate degrees. I would address this by encouraging and enriching our dual-credit program. I would reach out to Lone Star, San Jacinto and Houston Community College to form partnerships.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



WB: Based on the Texas Academic Performance Report, Humble ISD may be underfunded in the area of at-risk students because the scores for reading and math for these students are lower than the scores for reading and math for students who are not considered at-risk.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



WB: We need to revisit processes and procedures to restructure school funding. The average school district’s budget has 85% of its resources allocated to salaries. Salaries are important, and I believe our educators should be well-paid. Two things must happen simultaneously: The authorities that fund public education must allocate more funding, and the local school districts must look within the districts and discover what areas can be refined and reallocated to other distressed areas.









Liz Diaz





What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



LD: This candidate did not respond.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



LD: This candidate did not respond.



What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?



LD: This candidate did not respond.









Clint D. Horn



Occupation: training specialist, MD Anderson Cancer Center


Experience: pastor; servant to the community as precinct chair; HOA treasurer for the Summerwood community; member, Humble Area Democrats; chaplain, Houston Black American Democrats; former superintendent, Port Arthur ISD






What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?



CH: I feel that Humble ISD staff and teachers have worked hard to ensure that great academic programs are in place for all students. As a board member, I would strive to ensure that each campus offers each of these programs and classes for students. I want to ensure that all students have the same accessibility to these programs regardless of the school they attend.



What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?



CH: Humble ISD is a large, diverse district, and funding comes from different sources to meet specified needs. As a board member, I would be willing to listen to all sides of each issue and help the board make decisions that are fiscally sound for now and the future. However, I will certainly help look for ways to increase funding for our pre-K and after-school programs, as all children should have access to these resources.



What changes should be made on the state and local level regarding public education?



CH: We should find a solution to reduce money given to voucher programs and charter schools over public schools; a solution moving forward on how we handle in-person and virtual learning and our safety for teachers, staff and children ... during and after this pandemic; methods to reduce spending while still fulfilling necessary programs to help our students and staff; and ensure Title I and all campuses have the necessary resources needed moving forward.


By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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