Voters will elect Austin ISD board trustees to serve for single-member trustee Districts 2, 3 and 5, and At-Large Place 8.
Among candidates' priorities are improving graduation rates, increasing communication and forging stronger relationships with the public.
Jayme Mathias, a Catholic pastor and learning center founder, is running for District 2.
"The largest challenge we had last year was the loss of trust in our AISD leadership, particularly at the level of the board of trustees with the decision to bring in IDEA Allan into the community," he said, adding he wants to bring the public's voice to the board. He said he will address funding and graduation rates if elected.
District 2 incumbent Sam Guzman said AISD is "going in the right direction." He said his greatest accomplishment as trustee was working with the community when the Texas Education Agency wanted to close Johnson High School and reopening it as Eastside Memorial High School. Guzman, a parent, has worked in PTAs, booster clubs and civic organizations, and founded the Youth Advocacy Program.
Candidate Ann Teich said addressing overcrowding in District 3 schools, primarily those in the Lanier vertical team—a network comprising a high school and the elementary and middle schools that feed into it —is one of her top priorities along with increasing equity of education and graduation rates. Teich, vice president of the North Austin Civic Association, has worked with Austin Interfaith, North Austin Community School Alliance and the North Austin Coalition of Neighborhoods. She retired from teaching after 27 years in the district. Trustee Christine Brister will not seek re-election.
Mark Williams, board president and District 5 trustee who was first elected in 2004, is not seeking re-election. Amber Elenz and Charlie Jackson are running for District 5. Elenz has been an Austin Council of PTAs president, has been active in advisory councils and volunteers with The Junior League of Austin. She has been a broadcast journalist and worked in finance at United Airlines.
Jackson, a parent and high-tech entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience helping school boards, districts and campuses, has served on AISD's Educational Technology Advisory Committee.
Mary Ellen Pietruszynski is running for Place 8, held by Annette LoVoi. She said she would address inequities with districtwide, high-quality education and an environment that respects teachers. She is a parent, former teacher and current executive director for the Sooch Foundation, which assists the economically disadvantaged by funding educational activities and social services. She manages a $20 million budget and reads data on AISD daily, she said.
"We need to work on rebuilding trust," said attorney Gina Hinojosa, running for Place 8. She is a mother of an AISD student and has worked with community groups for 15 years.