Here are the two candidates vying for the Position 4 seat on Fort Bend ISD's board of trustees in the upcoming May 6 election: incumbent Shirley Rose-Gilliam and Cheryl Buford.

Candidates were asked to keep responses under 75 words, answer the questions provided and avoid attacking opponents.

Answers may have been edited or cut to adhere to those guidelines, or for style and clarity.

Early voting began April 24 and ends May 2.

* indicates incumbent

Cheryl Buford

Experience: teacher for 10 years; U.S. Department of Education associate director of program analysis and evaluation; policy advisor and advocate, advocate for STEM; education policy committee member for Governor Young's campaign; Rice Center associate, evaluated university career development public programs; Social Capital Valuations vice president, advising nonprofits on [return on investment] of their efforts

Occupation: president, Signature Impact Consulting (career advising and team building)

Candidate Website:

Contact Information: 713-303-4888

What can residents expect from you, if elected?

My breadth of experience gives me a strong frame of reference for addressing challenges confronting FBISD. I won’t just stick with the familiar approaches when faced with mediocre results nor embrace the latest unproven fads. I will work constructively with staff but will not shy away from asking tough questions and holding them to strong results. I will be publicly engaged and accessible to build stronger feedback and trust.

What are your top priorities?

I will be laser focused on Improving learning outcomes across our diverse district. Literacy in K-second grade deserves immediate attention. I will also ensure we are adequately serving our special needs and gifted and talented students. Similarly, I will focus on improvements to career and technical education in view of declining enrollments. I will pursue ways to recruit, empower and retain the best teachers—last year’s 20% attrition rate is unacceptable.

The school district is facing a $24 million budget shortfall. What steps would you take to ensure the district is able to meet the educational needs of its students and offers a competitive salary for its teachers and administrative staff?

I will dive into the details of current priorities and program performance, and work closely with FBISD staff, other trustees, and the budget oversight committee to ensure core priorities are fully funded and efficiencies are maintained through objective performance criteria. Any savings still needed should be achieved in lower-priority areas. I will also have an open-door policy, seeking out community input and robust communications with stakeholders, so the community remains well-informed.

Shirley Rose-Gilliam*

More Information: The candidate did not respond to the questionnaire by press time.