Questionnaire Response

Why are you running for a trustee position on the school board? If you are an incumbent, include what you wish to pursue through continued service? If you are a new candidate, include what you hope to accomplish?

I strive, through volunteerism in our district, to set an example for my children, showing them the importance of both service to community and a quality education. By serving in schools and across the district, I’ve been able to do that. I decided that continuing my service at the school board trustee level was a good way to take my experiences serving on campus and use them to help impact the entire district. I hope, if elected, to be able to lead the district in improving outcomes for students across our entire district.

 

Describe your approach to school board leadership, and how you intend to enhance the current board’s efforts for the betterment of the students served by this district. Provide at least one concrete idea on how you intend to support SBISD students over the next 3 years.

My approach to school board leadership is to be a leader who engages with the community in different ways and as frequently as possible. My belief is that the board is best served by spending time with students, parents, and administrators on campus to figure out issues and drive solutions.  I will utilize my process improvement skills and experiences to evaluate issues relative to learning losses from Covid and shortcomings in literacy so that we can make recommendations to the district administration that would impact meaningful changes.

Describe your approach to school board leadership, and how you intend to enhance the current board’s efforts for the betterment of the students served by this district. Provide at least one concrete idea on how you intend to support SBISD students over the next 3 years.

My approach to school board leadership is to be a leader who engages with the community in different ways and as frequently as possible. My belief is that the board is best served by spending time with students, parents, and administrators on campus to figure out issues and drive solutions.  I will utilize my process improvement skills and experiences to evaluate issues relative to learning losses from Covid and shortcomings in literacy so that we can make recommendations to the district administration that would impact meaningful changes.

How will your leadership focus the board’s discussion on student outcomes when making budgetary decisions?

As a board member and leader I would always advocate for using resources in the most meaningful and cost effective way. Solutions to student outcome issues should be crafted so as to minimize impact to budget while delivering services where needed across the district.

Imagine that you are holding a community meeting tomorrow to inform constituents on the state of the district. In bullet point format, respond to the following: Which successes would you share? Which primary challenge would you share? What would be your goal for the meeting? How would you follow up?

• Reports provided by the State of Texas show that SBISD has done better than average in regard to learning loss due to Covid and both numeracy and literacy have improved the last 2 years

• One of the primary challenges facing SBISD remains closing the learning loss that occurred due to Covid

• Inform the community of all where we are as a district relative to meeting established goals on T-2-4 and soliciting feedback from the community about how they see the district is doing in meeting these goals

• The most effect means for follow up with the community would be via email or digital communication and seeking direct feedback from administrators on campus and parent leaders.

Given the data found in the 2020‐21 TAPR Report, what conclusions do you make regarding the state of student success at SBISD and what goals would you recommend the district apply? Provide analysis at both district level and a comparative analysis of high school regional performance.

Based on 2020-21 TAPR it is clear that from 2019 to 2021 we can see that like all of TX, SBISD has seen learning losses, presumably from Covid. That said the district has fared better as compared to state and regional results. Regardless, SBISD is not doing well enough in any area reported on.  When it comes to high school regional performance SBISD experiences higher dropout rates than state or regional peers as well. The district has established literacy and numeracy goals that increase incrementally each year but they have not typically been met. The district should continue with setting literacy and numeracy goals with year over year improvement. That said setting unrealistic or unachievable goals doesn’t work. Any literacy and numeracy goals set must be reasonably achievable while being as aggressive as possible.

What do you believe are the top causes of teacher attrition over the last years? Aside from compensation and benefits, what policy changes or enforcements do you propose to draw new teachers to the district and retain current educators?

Teachers face a long list of challenges but, like many professions, it’s not typically pay that is the main driver for turnover. Resources and support are important to any job. Teachers need support from both administration and parents. More teachers, teachers’ aides, and support staff would ease the burden individually. Not burdening teachers with things that go beyond teaching in the classroom and trying to find ways to lessen their load administratively would help. Parent engagement in the students learning is critical and having parents who engage in meaningful and constructive ways would help too. Having staff that could help guide parents through what is often a burdensome path to engagement between parents and teachers would be a great option.

Share your volunteer experience within SBISD. What other organizations have you volunteered with? Specify which of these roles included your own child. What is your professional field and expertise? How do each of these experiences support your candidacy with Spring Branch ISD?

I have been a PTA Vice President of Fund Raising, Treasurer, and PTA President. I have chaired numerous events through those roles. While my children often participated in events that I chaired or organized as a PTA leader, there were many times my children did not. As a PTA leader we frequently organized and hosted Teacher and Volunteer Appreciation events. The annual Carnivals where something my children attended but they were large scale community events that benefited the campus and surrounding community. I served on a committee that raised money for the Spark Park at Northbrook Middle School which my children did not attend. I was in the Lead SBISD program and have served on 2 SBISD committees.

I have volunteered at events for campuses across the district regardless of whether my kids attend that campus or not. Currently I volunteer daily for a cycling weight training class on the campus my kids attend (neither will take my class though!).  When I was younger, in the Marine Corps I was a troop leader for the scout troop on the Air Station I was stationed.  I am a Director for an auto finance company currently, with 24 years at my current employer. My team is responsible for auditing all operational areas for the company.  My work experience involves a lot of process evaluation and process improvement work.  I lead a team that is responsible for holding all areas accountable to federal rules and internal guidelines. My budgeting, process improvement, and staff management experiences are directly correlated to many tasks required of a trustee.

Define your understanding of the role of a school board trustee. Does the administration in its current form accomplish the goals set by the board of trustees? If not, how should it be changed to do so?

The role of a trustee is to work with the other 6 trustees to set goals for the district and approve its budget.  Then insure accountability to those goals and budget. This would include things like hiring and evaluating the superintendent and making sure district policies follow goals and meet legal thresholds. Trustees, approve bond elections and school district tax rates (with voter approval when necessary). Trustees are also responsible for fostering engagement between parents and the district.

I believe the current board mostly accomplishes the goals they have set but recognize the call by some parents for more transparency or a more open forum. I believe the board of trustees should strive to be as open to the parents across the district as possible. If at any time they get feedback that is not happening, they should evaluate how they engage with the community and look for ways to resolve the problem or perceived problem.

What current issues are your top three priorities for the district, if elected, over the next 3 years? What is the most important issue facing students today, and what is their greatest need from the school system?

My top 3 priorities for the district in no particular order are funding, improving outcomes, and teacher retention. Funding is becoming a bigger issue as our recapture dollars continue to increase. With 85% of the budget going to payroll and benefits there is little room for anything else. If we don’t mobilize the community and directly engage at the state capital our recapture costs will eventually cost us our most important resource, teachers. While funding impacts teacher retention, it’s not the only, and often not the most important thing when speaking of employee retention. Aside from having the money to offer competitive wages we will need to make sure they have resources and support. Not overburdening them with things that aren’t directly impactful in the classroom and finding ways to help encourage or facilitate parent engagement would help with retention.

While SBISD has done better than our state and regional counterparts in the last couple of years, we have still suffered learning loss from Covid and outcomes across the district are not good enough. The current focus on reading, writing and math is good; we need to work to speed up the efforts to improve in the basics.  The most important issue facing students today is whether or not they will finish high school on a path for future success.  The greatest need from the school system for our students is a system that provides the best facilities, teachers, and programs possible for their success. A great example of this is the Career and Technical Education programing that is included in the upcoming bond election.  Having options for our students and making them available as early as possible gives them the best opportunity to identify and explore potential paths of learning early on.

Should you not be elected during this race, how do you intend to continue supporting the school district and its students? In what other capacities to you plan to serve?

If I am not elected during this race I will continue on the same path of volunteering and service across the district that I am on today. I will remain an active PTA member and volunteer on campuses across the district and volunteer to teach classes and lead wherever I can.  I hope to be able to work with the elected board of trustees as often as possible and will seek out ways to impact parent engagement.  I will work with new PTA leaders, as I always have, anytime someone needs suggestions or help of any kind.

  1. Describe your approach to school board leadership, and how you intend to enhance the current board’s efforts for the betterment of the students served by this district. Provide at least one concrete idea on how you intend to support SBISD students over the next 3 years.

The school board has seven members each with unique experiences, insights, and qualities that contribute to the process of leading SBISD.  My approach to school board leadership is to listen, learn and contribute. Listening to teachers, students, parents and community members can provide valuable insights to the issues of concerning each and guide the decisions we make and the goals we set.  One specific area of interest for me is working to engage parents and our community in a greater capacity at each of our underperforming schools.  Our students will benefit, and so will the community.