Candidates in the races for Alvin ISD board of trustees positions 1, 2, 3 and 7 took part in a debate April 11 held by the Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce and Pearland Chamber of Commerce.

For these races, early voting will run April 22-30, and election day is May 4, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

The forum was not broken up into individual races, allowing every candidate to answer each question. The AISD board of trustees candidates discussed topics, such as roles as a school board trustee that spans through multiple cities, personal passions for serving on the school board, budgeting, college and career preparation for students, and retaining educators.

Position 1

For this race, incumbent AJ Johnson will face lifelong Alvin resident Millard Norris.

Norris said he is running for election due to his positive experience as a grandfather to a student that went to AISD.

While Norris was content with his experience as an AISD grandfather, he said he is also content with how the district has managed its budget, especially toward campus security.

“I think [AISD] Alvin has done a great job with the financial budget,” Norris said. “One of the things I’m pretty proud of seeing is the protection of the schools with the school police. We want our kids to have the best, and also to come to school and be safe and come home. I know it’s a tough decision to where the money should go and what’s the biggest need.”

Johnson said he is rerunning for election due to his passion for wanting to prepare students for their future.

He said in order for students to prepare for college, careers and military service, it’s important to encourage teachers to “be their authentic self and use [their] God-given talents.”

“We need to show our kids what it looks like to reach and attain goals,” Johnson said. “We have some outstanding teachers in this school district that got into this business ... to make a difference. Kids don’t know what their opportunities are unless we allow them to do it. If they fall short, that’s OK, but it’s a learning lesson and we have teachers that can get them over the hump.”

Click here to read the Q&A for this race.

Position 2

For this race, incumbent Cory Scott will face small-business owner Travis Boldt.

Scott said he is running for re-election to prioritize every student in the district. He acknowledged the district for the amount of programs the district provides for students, and said the district needs to continue these programs.

“Our graduate certification has improved, whether that’s welding certification, whether that’s dental certification, whether that’s animals or sports, the data will show we have more enrolled in dual credit,” Scott said. “I think we’ve done good, and we just need to continue to support those programs.“

Boldt said he is running for election to prioritize teachers with hopes to better the environment for public educators. He said he believes in order to attract and retain educators, it’s important to prioritize their mental health.

“My wife would trade every jeans day in the school district if she could have adequate sub coverage so she could take off when she has a doctor’s appointment,” Boldt said. “Being able to offer mental health support or child care support ... is going to have so much more impact, and ultimately it’s going to cost a fraction of what jacking up their pay rates is going to actually do.”

Click here to read the Q&A for this race.

Position 3

For this race, financial service professional Danielle Swiney, retired school administrator Dixie Jones and real estate professional Rebecca Zavala are competing for a seat.

Jones was not present for the debate.

Swiney said she is running for election due to her family’s history with education, enabling her to want to continue to support educators. She said in order to support educators, it’s important to prioritize culture.

“While compensating our teachers fair and equitable is critically important, I think more so than anything ... [it’s] really about culture. I think when attracting new talent, it’s about creating a great benefits package and a part of those benefits is culture. Truly being able to review things that are important to our educators and putting that in a package and enforcing and ensuring that those things happen within their environment.”

Zavala said she is running for election to accommodate and empower students and teachers. She believes in order to prepare students and their careers, it’s best to prioritize curriculum and seeing where the district can improve.

“I think that the curriculum is the most important thing,” Zavala said. “Not just stopping at a state level, but moving on to the best knowledge that we can give them. I think creating opportunities for them and actually taking a deeper dive into the classrooms and seeing where there’s any lack that we can make up from other teachers.”

Click here to read the Q&A for this race.

Position 7

For this race, incumbent Gabe Garza will face attorney Cheratta C. Roberts.

Roberts said she is running for election due to her love for education, and from an experience in which she had to advocate for her daughter after struggling with a subject.

Roberts said in order to prepare students for their future, it’s important to open up more opportunities for students besides college.

“Every kid is not going to go to college, every kid doesn’t want to go to college, so we need to have opportunities available for all of our kids,” Roberts said. “We need to have more diverse trade schools ... because it gives kids an idea of the other things that they can do besides going to college and it does not lead any kid feeling like they’re left by the wayside if college is not in the cards for them.”

Garza said he is running for reelection due to his passion to serve, as well as being a parent and advocate for students.

Garza said it’s important to advocate for every student through the programs offered throughout the district.

“Educational success is very different for every student,” Garza said. “A lot of the time our funding and everything is so focused on scores and academic progress, [but] it’s finding out what is the pathway for your student, for your child and Alvin ISD has the program and has a solution for them to find the way they want to go.”

Click here to read the Q&A for this race.

More details

The full debate can be viewed on the Alvin-Manvel Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel.