Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Tomball ISD Position 5

Two candidates are running for Tomball ISD Position 5. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Two candidates are running for Tomball ISD Position 5. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Two candidates are running for Tomball ISD Position 5. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



Tomball ISD board of trustees Position 5





*indicates incumbent






Lonnell Graham



Occupation: Yoga instructor


Experience: I grew up in the public school system, and I worked as a substitute teacher while earning my business degree. I have worked as a paraprofessional or substitute teacher in three different school districts.






Why are you running for election to the Tomball ISD board of trustees?



LG: My son Donovan, is entering the fourth grade at Creekview Elementary. My daughter Sofia, is entering the sixth grade at Creekside Park Junior High School. That means we're committed to eight more years in Tomball ISD. I am running for them, their neighborhood friends and their future. As a parent, my kids are the motivation for 99% of the things I do.



What do you believe is one area in which Tomball ISD can improve, and how do you plan to help the district improve in that area?



LG: We should have a better connection between administrators, teachers and the parents. Virtual meetings between all interested parties would facilitate more input on the best way to educate our kids. My plan is to create a community that embraces involvement. Whether large or small, each of us has a role in our kid's development.



What do you believe is the most important role of a school board member?



LG: Our duty is to maintain high expectations for our students and provide them with the tools and knowledge to reach their goals.



As a fast-growth district, what do you believe are the biggest challenges facing TISD in the next four years?



LG: While we continue to build new schools and expand on our current ones, we can't overlook our more established schools. As we grow our district, we'll be challenged with maintaining a budget that aligns with the increasing needs of the district without putting an extra burden on the taxpayers.









Matt Schiel*



Occupation: commercial appraiser for Waller County Appraisal District


Experience: I was elected in November 2016. Both my grandfather and great-grandfather were school board members, and I grew up hearing about their involvement in public education.






Why are you running for election to the Tomball ISD board of trustees?



MS: I have a deep love for and deep roots in the community of Tomball and in Tomball ISD. Over the last four years, I have made myself publicly available for parents, students, staff and community members to share their joys and concerns with me. I care deeply about our community and our schools, but I continue to run because of the people who continue to make Tomball an amazing place to be.



What do you believe is one area in which Tomball ISD can improve, and how do you plan to help the district improve in that area?



MS: Our district has not always taken a “whole child” approach to learning. Two years ago, the district began launching programs that addressed the social-emotional needs of our students and families. While we have made great strides by implementing several programs in our schools, we need to continue to assess and add to these programs. Our students and families’ needs are constantly changing. We owe it to them to equip them with the best resources available.



What do you believe is the most important role of a school board member?



MS: The most important [role] that I have is to be available to parents, staff and community members to hear their joys, concerns, happiness and frustrations with our district. We are tasked with huge decisions. Listening to people is important. Our district encompasses over 19,000 students and employees. Decisions are never made lightly. We know that things we put into action, discuss and vote upon have [a] profound affect upon your households.



As a fast-growth district, what do you believe are the biggest challenges facing TISD in the next four years?



MS: While being a part of a fast-growth district is exciting, we have and will continue to experience growing pains, especially when our growth is projected to be between 4%-6% per year. In order to continue to make Tomball ISD a place where parents want to educate their children, we will need to face several issues head on. Building infrastructure, keeping up with ever-changing technology, and retaining, training and hiring excellent staff top my list of the challenges that we will meet during our years of rapid growth.



By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.