Election Q&A: Pearland ISD board of trustees Position 4

Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Voters will cast ballots on May 1. Early voting is from April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

*Indicates incumbent


HOUSTON



Pearland ISD board of trustees Position 4










Jessica Garcia Shafer



Occupation: epidemiologist






Why did you choose to run for the position?



JGS: I feel that my perspective as a scientist and a Hispanic is something needed on the board, as well as a fresh look at how the district does business. We need leadership motivated to face the complicated and painful issues in the district that aren’t easily solved.



What is one thing you think Pearland ISD excelled at during this unprecedented school year?



JGS: PISD did a good job of rolling with the punches and sticking with the conservative approach to COVID[-19] outlined at the beginning of the year.



What is one thing you would like to see changed next year?



JGS: This year highlighted difficulties with the technology we adopted, so I would like to see a thorough review of the lessons learned, with input from teachers and students used to guide the procurement for next school year.



What are your priorities for your term, if elected?



JGS: Maintaining a safe and effective plan for COVID response, identifying ways to support and improve students’ mental health, and working to address the concerns about racism that have been reported to the board many times.



What can board members do to ensure Pearland ISD students and families from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds have equitable access to the resources they need for success?



JGS: The most important thing board members can do is to listen closely to what the students and families are saying about their needs and experiences, without judgement or preconceived notions.



Anything else to add?



JGS: Candidate did not provide a response for this question.









Sean Murphy



Occupation: SVP HomeTown Bank


Contact: 281-412-8000




Why did you choose to run for the position?



SM: I wanted to serve my community and make sure every student has a pathway for success, not just certain groups. I want to ensure that every student is either college-ready or ready to earn a living wage.



What is one thing you think Pearland ISD excelled at during this unprecedented school year?



SM: We excelled at utilization of resources that began with purchasing one-to-one devices for students; this allowed all students access to technology for remote learning as well as helped families by them not having to purchase new or multiple devices. Additionally, the district supplied hotspots for students that did not have internet access. It also allowed teachers to be able to teach students in the classroom more efficiently, since all students had the same devices.



What is one thing you would like to see changed next year?



SM: A safe return to campus instruction for all students and a reduced pre-COVID workload for all teachers.



What are your priorities for your term, if elected?



SM: Safety and security of students, whether from COVID or security in general, as well as mental health of students who have experienced trauma or loss during COVID. We need to address barriers to student learning, whether those are academic or emotional. [My other priority is] hiring and retaining the best teachers!



What can board members do to ensure Pearland ISD students and families from all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds have equitable access to the resources they need for success?



SM: My role is to make sure all kids get a quality education. Race, ethnicity and family income should not determine a student’s opportunities at school. I need to watch for disparities in the district and/or at campuses and support an inclusion model, knowing that all campuses are not alike.



Anything else to add?



SM: Health and mental well-being is critical to any student and teacher success. It is my job as a trustee to ensure that we provide all the needed resources to achieve success.


By Haley Morrison
Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.