Q&A: Meet candidates Lee McLeod and Annisa White running for Tomball ISD Position 7



HOUSTON



Tomball ISD board of trustees Position 7





*Indicates incumbent






Lee McLeod*



Occupation: owner of Lee McLeod Insurance Agency


Experience: 10 years as a youth minister; four daughters in TISD; served as homeroom dad, School Health Advisory Committee, Watchdog dad, booster clubs, TISD Vision 2020 committee member, TISD Leadership cohort 1; appointed to the board in 2017






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



LM: TISD has been such a gift to my family. I desire to help further all the good that is happening in the district.



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?



LM: Because the job market is ever changing it seems plans for college or career readiness must consistently adapt. Add this to the cost of higher education, and alliances with the private sector for apprenticeship and training are increasingly valuable. Wouldn't it be amazing if the small businesses in the area continued to turn to TISD to help them build their workforce? Imagine a software programming or coding academy in partnership with a local IT firm.



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



LM: A board member has a lot of roles. We approve of the property tax rate. We call for bonds when the district needs improvements. We set policy. We uphold or promote community standards. We make one hire—the superintendent. We hear formal complaints. We recognize our parents and students at numerous points along their journey to graduation. We have a lot of roles, but I would say of these the charge to listen, to consider thoughtfully and prayerfully what is presented, and to ask the right questions—these are most valuable.



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



LM: As one of the fastest growing districts in the Gulf Coast region, we have challenges, but here are what I see as the top two: wise growth management and nurturing a deep sense of community. Fortunately, we have an amazing team in finance and facilities, along with the executive cabinet, they pour over demographic data to help anticipate the who, what and when of TISD. ... The other challenge—nurturing a deep sense of community is something everyone is responsible for. I'll refer to it as "the second mile." Here is what I mean: Jesus was the smartest man to ever live. He said, "If your neighbor asks you to go one mile, go with him two." The world our kids inhabit is a world we are building. The school district is a large part of how we build it. Will our kids find their future neighbors and will they themselves be second-mile kind of folk, excelling in help and service of others? Responsible for making the most of their days and bringing good where they're planted? Or will they be in it only for themselves living like they're responsible to no one?









Annisa White



Occupation: senior environmental analyst


Experience: PTO board officer and active PTO member; experience as a project manager that includes budgeting, goal setting and strategic planning






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



AW: Public service is important to me, and it would be an honor to serve on the Tomball ISD board. I have the time, education and ability to lend expertise in educational planning and local governance necessary to work as a member of the school board to make tough decisions. As a former International Baccalaureate chemistry teacher, I recall having the desire to be heard, especially, when it came to curriculum delivery. ... Statistically, the demographics and population in the TISD community has increased in the last few years, and I want to add an accessible platform for parents to voice their concerns. My work with public and private entities has prepared me with a firm background in strategic planning and project management to move the district forward.



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?



AW: My goal is to listen to the community of teachers, administrators, parents and children whose feedback may impact positive change. I have new strategies for the board to review as we work through the new Schoology platform. We must navigate now and create a seamless interaction with our students whether they are virtual or face to face. We have a great opportunity to improve upon how we communicate with our students now and going forward. My intent is to operate within our current budget constraints. ... In addition to the above, I plan to take a survey of our educational team to assess the policies in place as they relate to student-to-teacher classroom settings and teacher development.



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



AW: The boards’ responsibility is to have difficult conversations to make the best decisions for everyone to succeed. The most important role of a board trustee is to listen to our educators, students, parents and community. As a team, we must define the goals, organize our efforts and mobilize. Provide consistent dissemination of information to our leaders and properly equip our staff. Preparation and consistency allow us to succeed in continuing to be excellent in our educational platform. Keep the community informed on the budget prior to expenditures. Continue to include details of the budget during scheduled public meetings, carefully considering line items, and using best management practices when reviewing bids. I would be looking for ways to save money wherever possible. ... Most importantly, the trustee must care deeply for their community.



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



AW: The next four years will bring continued growth in the district. The steady growth in Tomball will yield challenges such as an increase in student-to-teacher ratio and the utilization of more school transportation. The district will see an increase in educational tools, support staff and transportation. I anticipate with the growing population there will be some rezoning of our neighborhoods to mitigate the increase number of students in certain schools. My plan is to consider the changes as they occur. A reconciliation of the budget would be conducted to accommodate staff and transportation needs versus increasing the school tax.




Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.
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.



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