Early voting will begin April 24.
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.
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Experience: Served on parent teacher organizations; parent cohort; bond committee; currently serve as MISD trustee; risk and PR manager; former asset optimizer for multimillion-dollar assets; strategic plan analyst for multibillion-dollar annual capital budget; former youth sports coach and board director
Occupation: Head of compliance, North America, energy commodities and investments
Why are you running for election to the Magnolia ISD board of trustees?
I currently have five children attending four schools [in MISD]: Magnolia West High School, Magnolia Junior High, Magnolia Intermediate and Nichols Sawmill Elementary. Parental involvement and representation at the board level is paramount in district initiatives. Few, if any, in the district cover this firsthand better than my family currently does. <br>
What do you believe is the most important role of a school board member for the district?
As a board member it is our duty to ensure we are providing the best possible education for the students of our district while maintaining excellent fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers who fund us. MISD under [Superintendent Todd Stephens] has a strong record of success and continued improvement; our job is to continue this. What many people don't understand about this is that while we are elected, board members are part-time, unpaid volunteers.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge currently facing the district?
Growth. Trying to optimize the growth model for the correct number of schools, teachers, buses, campuses and other myriad items. We have new subdivisions being developed with thousands of new home sites across the district in an inflationary economy. Getting the forecast completely correct is impossible, but as I told many folks who opposed our latest bond proposal, we may not have it 100% correct, but the only incorrect action is no action.<br>
What ideas do you have to help improve teacher retention?
The layup here is increased salaries. We just approved a teacher bonus program, which has been successful in allowing the district to manage budget while incentivizing retention, but it's not the same as overall salary increase. The challenge for us is in school finance and budgeting. With the legacy state funding plan [recapture], we don't necessarily get to keep every tax dollar collected in the district. We cannot use bond funds for salaries by statute.
Experience: worked in K-12 for 11-plus years; volunteered in K-12 schools for 18 years; parent of students in the K-12 education system for 18 years; experience with school and bond finances; experience with district administration; grandmother of a future Magnolia ISD student
Occupation: Information technology director
Why are you running for election to the Magnolia ISD board of trustees?<br>
I am running for election to the Magnolia ISD board of trustees because I believe in the strong foundation that Magnolia ISD has created for students; [I] love the MISD community, and [I] want to serve our exceptional students and staff. With my experience in the K-12 system as a parent, volunteer and employee, I am uniquely qualified to serve the students and staff of Magnolia ISD. … I want to give back to the community.
What do you believe is the most important role of a school board member for the district?<br>
The most important role of a school board member is listening to staff and students so that they can be a voice for those they serve. It is crucial that school board members build trust and a culture of kindness, respect and excellence.<br>
What do you believe is the biggest challenge currently facing the district? <br>
Staff retention, lack of funding, security—physical and data—learning loss and discipline issues are some of school districts' biggest challenges.<br>
What ideas do you have to help improve teacher retention? <br>
Stipends and bonuses are nice but do not resolve the underlying problems. Burnout is real; we must find ways to better support administrators and staff. When people think of school district employees, they think, "You have it so nice, summers off, only working 7 a.m.-4 p.m. each day and all those holidays. … Wow, you're lucky.” But that is not the case for most district employees. Nights and weekends are spent supporting students.