Q&A: Get to know the candidates running for Klein ISD board of trustees Position 4

Twelve candidates are competing for one of four Klein ISD board of trustees positions up for election this fall, including three incumbents. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Twelve candidates are competing for one of four Klein ISD board of trustees positions up for election this fall, including three incumbents. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Twelve candidates are competing for one of four Klein ISD board of trustees positions up for election this fall, including three incumbents. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Twelve candidates are competing for four Klein ISD board of trustees positions up for election this fall, including three incumbents.

This year, KISD will hold a general election for Position 3, held by Chris "CT" Todd; Position 4, held by Julie Benes, who is not seeking re-election; and Position 5, held by Ronnie K. Anderson. A general election will also be held for the remaining term of Position 2, held by Doug James.


The election will be held Nov. 2 after an early-voting period from Oct. 18-29. The last day to register to vote was Oct. 4.









Dustin Creager



Occupation: financial advisor with Edward Jones


Experience: I have spent the last 24 years working in senior leadership positions for large companies focused on legal compliance and risk as well as finance. The skills I have developed over the last 24 years would be valuable on the board.


Campaign Website: https://dustincreager.com/
Contact: N/A




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



DC: I have been involved in the school district for over three years as part of the Friends of Klein group and the Klein Leadership Coalition. While supporting these groups and observing the board activities for three years, I have seen the great job they do. I want to join the board to use my business experience as well as my 24 years of emergency services experience to provide leadership and support to our thriving school district.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



DC: As a trustee on the board, "Promise to Purpose" means that we must ensure that our school district continues to focus on developing every child to achieve academic excellence. We must support programs that are best for educating the students and developing them into tomorrow's leaders.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



DC: The school district has faced numerous challenges over the last two years. I will ensure our faculty has the support and programs to continue to strive and achieve excellence. I will do my part to help eliminate the noise and distractions that stand in our educators' way to providing the top-notch education that our district is known for.











James C. Fluker



Occupation: financial controller


Experience: Working as a controller for 15 years, I have learned leadership isn't about an individual, it's about a team approach to accomplish goals and objectives. Working in emergency medical services for nine years and as a volunteer on the Medical and Safety Committee with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 12 years, has taught me compassion for others and how to work under stressful situations.


Campaign Website: N/A
Contact: N/A




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



JCF: [I am running] to be an additional voice for the teachers and students in the district. I also want to ensure KISD provides a quality education to our students and our future children.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



JCF: [It means providing] the necessary skills and knowledge to students in order to succeed in life and a career path of their choice.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



JCF: Finding qualified individuals in all levels of the district from teachers [and] administrators [to] bus drivers and even substitute teachers [is challenging]. Recruit locally and throughout the state. Streamline the process for former teachers to become a substitute teacher within KISD.











Rhonda Foster



Occupation: director of asset management


Experience: I have 25 years of professional experience in direct services, providing support to at-risk youth, women, adults and families to eliminate barriers that prevent them from living out their purpose. I also possess 20 years of managerial leadership in nonprofit organizations in roles as director of programs, contract and compliance officer, and chief operating officer, and more than five years in government programming.


Contact: N/A




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



RF: My love and dedication to serve the community is my main purpose for running for this position. By engaging students, parents and educators, I will work to aid in mapping a structure that will allow creative opportunities and out-of-the-box thinking that benefits students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to nurture unconventional talents and skills.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



RF: "Promise to Purpose" is a commitment of the district to meet students where they are and explore opportunities to develop student talents and skills that will lead to successful student achievements. I will encourage educators' and community feedback to weigh in on decision factors that affect the district and student learning.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



RF: Two of the major challenges faced in our country and specifically in the district are the growing uncertainties of COVID-19 and the effects it has with our children and parents, and the learning loss suffered by students within the district during the height of the pandemic. I am committed to fostering collaborations with nonprofit organizations to offer better support to our families in the areas of employment, basic needs, mental health support, after-school programming, grief counseling and more.











Denise Morrison



Occupation: retired


Experience: I have over 24 years of experience in corporate America working as a financial analyst up to a director over budget planning. These positions taught me leadership, planning, policy development/implementation, budgets and organization.


Campaign Website: 832-377-5491




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



DM: I want to have an impact. The pandemic has brought many challenges to parents, educators and students. I cannot assist in improving things without being involved.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



DM: When children graduate from high school, not only should they be ready for college but also be ready for the world in front of them. KISD has a promise to educate them and to ready them for their purpose as a productive citizen.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



DM: There are many challenges ahead, but the most prevalent are the mask mandates (yes/no), teaching of critical race theory (I say no), and bringing our children back onto grade-level education. Because of the pandemic, our children now are behind. We need to challenge them to work hard and get back to where they should be.











Dara Osborn



Occupation: homemaker and volunteer


Experience: Working on global change management projects for 19 years in the corporate world strengthened by ability to communicate clearly and deliver positive outcomes. Raising a child with Down syndrome opened my eyes to the world of special education and individual needs.


Campaign Website: N/A
Contact: N/A




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



DO: I felt led to run for this position because I want to serve in a helpful way for future generations. It seems the foundation on which we stand is shifting; however, it seems we were more likely to take a stand for what we believe. I believe that every child is a gift from god and deserves the opportunity to be academically challenged in a safe and engaging environment.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



DO: I'm proud of the motto because I believe in the shared expectations of learners, leaders and teachers. This culture is exactly what it takes to keep improving year over year. I'm proud of the district's accomplishments to date and as a trustee, I would hold myself accountable. I would like to see children create personal goals that tie into the motto and track their progress. This would make the motto come alive to them.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



DO: The impact of social media can be harmful to children and disruptive to the learning environment. Having a strong partnership with parents to educate them on current social media trends, cyber bullying and parental controls would help parents take the lead to reduce the impacts at school. Additionally, educating parents of younger children can help address the challenge at a younger age.











Michael Robert Walsh



Occupation: e-commerce merchant


Experience: former KISD student, State Farm risk advisor for two years, online business owner


Contact: 832-766-9637




Why are you running for the KISD board of trustees?



MRW: I'm running because I am devoted to serving our community and providing our children with safe schools and the best educational opportunities possible.



What does the district's motto "Promise to Purpose" mean to you, and how would you support that mission?



MRW: "Promise to Purpose" is a meaningless catchphrase intended to distract voters from the issues. As your trustee, you will never hear me speak in catchphrases. I will always communicate clearly through statements of fact. I will answer every question I know the answer to, and if I don't know the answer, I will find it.



What are the most significant challenges facing KISD, and how would you address them?



MRW: The biggest challenge facing KISD is school safety. The district has been slow to follow even the most basic Texas Education Agency guidelines on COVID-19 safety and this is unacceptable. If elected, I will doggedly pursue safe COVID-19 procedures. Another important challenge is rising property taxes. The recent tax decrease has been touted as a boon to KISD homeowners, but with rising property values the average KISD homeowner is going to see a tax increase. As trustee, I would enforce constant fiscal transparency by the board.



By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.



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