Election Q&A: Alvin ISD board of trustees Position 1

Three candidates are running for Alvin ISD Position 1. (Community Impact staff)
Three candidates are running for Alvin ISD Position 1. (Community Impact staff)

Three candidates are running for Alvin ISD Position 1. (Community Impact staff)

* Indicates incumbent


HOUSTON



Alvin ISD board of trustees Position 1










Albert "AJ" Johnson III



Occupation: insurance and financial services


Contact: 281-245-0695, www.ajforalvinisd.com




Why did you choose to run for the position?



AJ: I believe the opportunity to serve is an ongoing effort. My parents were both in higher education, and I value the commitment level of all teachers, counselors and administrators. My goal is to have the opportunity to dialogue with leaders in the district and continue the path of growth, development and advancement in Alvin ISD. I am running for this position to aid in the decisions that will directly impact our students for years to come. I have a genuine passion for helping youth and developing relationships, and if elected, those skills can help Alvin ISD continue to operate with a growth mindset.



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



AJ: Oftentimes, in leadership, there is a fear of making unpopular decisions. Deciding on when to send our children back to school during the pandemic was one of those pivotal moments. Alvin ISD did an exceptional job developing a plan and sticking to it. The district provided options that allowed parents to make the best decision for their family, and I applaud them for that.



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



AJ: In line with the district’s improvement plan, I really would like to work with our leadership team to grow our student mentoring program. Allowing community members to aid in our students' development can be extremely rewarding for their future.



What are your priorities for your term, if elected?



AJ: I would specifically like to work in the area of community engagement to continue meeting the needs of all families in our district. There are several early learning programs that are provided which give students a head start on their transition to all-day learning environments. My youngest child has personally benefited from the READy program that Alvin ISD provides, and it played an integral part in his success. I truly believe that students have a better youth experience when their parents/family members are actively involved. Additionally, preparing students for the next phase of their academic journey has been a focal point for the district. Alvin ISD is home to a great College and Career Academy that provides students over 30 unique opportunities to earn certifications in industries/trades that interest them. I’d like the opportunity to continue that progress.



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



AJ: Data is the key to measuring this. If given the opportunity, I will work with the trustees and Alvin ISD leadership to continue monitoring scores, participation and performance of our district’s programs. If the demographics of any area of the district show a disparity, we as leaders and trustees need to determine why and execute a plan for improvement. For example, we know access to technology can be a barrier to academic development. A plan of improvement would include providing options and/or resources for those individuals that are in need.



Anything else to add?



AJ: Candidate did not provide a response to this question.









Elanza Pitre-Wilson



Occupation: educator; real estate broker






Why did you choose to run for the position?



EPW: I have lived in Brazoria County since 2002. I have watched Alvin ISD grow at a very rapid pace, and I’m excited about the opportunities this growth is bringing to our community. I teach entrepreneurship classes at a Title I school on the east side of Houston. This district has one high school. Whenever I attend business competitions with my students, I look for students from Alvin ISD, but they are rarely in attendance. Alvin has always had a thriving AG department, and the athletic department is often highlighted. Alvin’s CTE department could benefit from additional career pathways, especially in business-related content. As a board trustee, I will be a strong advocate for academic programs that will increase college and career readiness skills in all students K-12. School leadership is responsible for allocating resources to keep curriculum resources competitive with current market demands. By creating additional college and career pathways, Alvin ISD will be able to increase opportunities for a larger population of students. Along those same lines, active recruitment of experienced practitioners will strengthen the CTE department and enhance student engagement in business-related pathways.



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



EPW: Alvin did a great job at adapting to quick change and doing what was necessary to keep their students and staff safe. I have firsthand knowledge of teaching during a pandemic. Teaching and learning requirements have changed. Alvin ISD collectively and resourcefully gathered and disseminated resources and information that was critical in continuing the work of educating students. They maintained a level of transparency and kept the community informed.



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



EPW: I would love to see a greater focus on instilling college and career readiness skills in every student. This focus should begin with building partnership alliances with community stakeholders. Growing relationships with local business owners can increase vocational opportunities to help equip students with job readiness skills. Learning experiences can be impactful both inside and outside the classroom. I would like to see stronger academic programs that will benefit more students.



What are your priorities for term, if elected?



EPW: As a board member, my priorities will be to support the goals of the superintendent to the best of my abilities. My goal is to be an active contributor and offer my unique experiences and perspectives to the collaborative efforts of the school board. Decision-making should include multiple and diverse perspectives to produce the best possible outcomes.



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



EPW: Board members should be open to new ideas and community feedback to carefully consider all perspectives when making decisions that will impact all students. The board can also collect data and utilize the collected metrics to guide any major decisions.



Anything else to add?



EPW: I am running for a school board trustee position because I am passionate about growing our next generation of leaders. I want to make a difference and be active in the process of change that is happening my community. My desire is to be impactful.









Julie Pickren*



Occupation: business owner


Contact: 832-725-1046 http://juliepickren.wordpress.com




Why did you choose to run for the position?



JP: Originally, when I ran in 2015, it was after requests to run from parents, teachers, community leaders and former Alvin ISD school board trustees. I am a business owner in the community for several years and have been involved with our school auxiliary programs. After careful consideration and much prayer, I decided to run because of my love of children. For many years, I have served and led children's ministries in the area. Also, I felt my common-sense approach to business and finance would be beneficial to the school district.



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



JP: Alvin ISD excelled at many things this school year, but what I am most proud of is our teachers and administrators. We first began discussing COVID-19 and the impact it might have on the district in February 2020. The Alvin ISD Forward 2020 Plan was created from hours of meetings with administrators and principals and became known as the gold standard for reopening schools in our region. Several ISDs throughout Texas adopted our plan and best practices concerning student and teacher safety for reopening schools in fall 2020. I am especially proud of our Alvin ISD teachers who adapted to the new normal with courage and grace because of their love for educating our kids.



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



JP: What I would like to see changed next year is the elimination of the STAAR test. I have already started conversations with state-level elected officials concerning better ways we can measure academic achievements at a local level that will be acceptable to the state. We have proven in Alvin ISD that we can measure student achievement with more accuracy and less stress for students and teachers.



What are your priorities for term, if elected?



JP: The priorities I have for the 2021-2024 term center around my “Three Commitments to Excellence.” (1) Our Kids: Because each child is unique, we need to tailor their education according to their strengths and weaknesses to ensure they receive the highest=quality education for their success. (2) Our Teachers: Provide the tools and resources necessary for teachers to achieve successful outcomes in the classroom. (3) Our Taxpayers: I stand for making sure people's hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.



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



JP: Alvin ISD is one [of] the fastest-growing school districts in Texas. We have in the past few years and will continue to see families moving here from all over the world. It is important for the school district to reach out and provide access to resources to the families that are new to America, Texas and Alvin ISD for many reasons. By strengthening our English as a Second Language programs and building relationships with families, we will ensure student success. I have learned from many studies and experiences that our socioeconomic disadvantaged students are the most at-risk kids. I have voted for and supported technology resources for our economically disadvantaged students. Alvin ISD has provided Wi-Fi hot spots and laptops for families who could not afford them. Also, we have been building community programs with our local places of worship and service organizations to provide support for our disadvantaged families outside of the school setting. There are basic human needs that need to be met in order for kids to be successful. Families need to be fed, need a home, need utilities and need to be clothed. I will work to strengthen these community relationships to ensure families' needs are met to ensure student success.



Anything else to add?



JP: I have a proven record serving as an Alvin ISD trustee over the last six years that has resulted in many student successes and awards, lower tax rate and responsible growth. Some of the awards and accommodations I have been the most proud of are AISD being named Houston Chronicle's Top Places to Work, Texas Association of School Boards Honor Board Award, Financial Integrity Rating Systems of Texas "Superior Achievement 2020" and Association of School Business Officials International "Excellence of Financial Reporting Award" 2015-20. It has been my pleasure to serve as an Alvin ISD trustee for the last six years and I hope to continue serving our great community another three years. God bless Alvin ISD.


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.


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