Tomball ISD School board
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your background?
I have worked in local public schools as a classroom teacher and an assistant principal. Before that, I was a Soldier in the United States Army, a cadet at Texas A&M University, and a sacker at Klein’s Supermarket.
How many years have you been in the Tomball area?
My parents moved our family to Tomball for the 1985-1986 school year and enrolled me in Tomball Elementary School. Tomball ISD was my parents’ number one incentive for that move. Tomball remained my home of record and legal residence while serving in the United States Army and during the time I was a student at Texas A&M University.
What is your current occupation?
I am a Professor of Education at Lone Star College - Montgomery. I teach courses that prepare future educators for education degrees and teaching certifications. I am also currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas State Guard.
Why did you decide to run for a school board position?
While serving as an assistant principal, it was my job to enforce District policy with students and staff. It was not my place to question any of those policies, even if I felt I had a different solution. I always trusted the decisions made by the Trustees and central office administrators, but over the years I began to think that I could make great contributions to making policy instead of just ensuring compliance. I began contemplating a future run for Tomball ISD Board of Trustees while serving as an assistant principal, but could not do so at the time without giving up my employment in the District.
In the spring of 2014, I was presented with an opportunity to become a college instructor beginning the following fall semester. Accepting that position was an easy choice, but at the same time, leaving my hometown school district that has given me so much was a very difficult one. After a lot of thought, I realized that in addition to the amazing new experience of teaching at a college, this move would also provide me with the chance to be a candidate for Tomball ISD School Board in the near future.
What makes you a qualified candidate for TISD school board?
If elected, I will be the only Trustee who has worked as a classroom teacher or campus administrator. I will also be the only Trustee with a master’s degree in education. This is a degree that emphasizes school administration and organization, effective leadership strategies, campus business management, and federal, state, and local school regulations in addition to providing the skills necessary to evaluate programs for overall school improvement, implement research to improve instruction and curricula, and understand how diverse populations and special programs affect a school and its community.
Our current School Board of Trustees is an incredibly successful group of men and women who have an impressive diversity of skillsets that are vital to the successful governing of the school district, but not one of the Board members has ever walked a mile in the shoes of our teachers. I believe there should be at least one member of the Tomball ISD School Board who has had to plan a lesson, gather materials, manage behavior in a classroom, administer a state mandated test, grade mountains of assignments on nights and weekends, and everything else our teachers do. I have done all of these things, and I feel qualified to speak to the effects that proposed Board decisions would have on students and teachers in the classroom.
I have a very unique perspective of our school district because of the many roles I have played within it. I have been:
1) A student, starting in Tomball Elementary and finishing at Tomball High School
2) A substitute teacher at Tomball Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Rosehill Elementary, Tomball Intermediate, Beckendorf Intermediate, Tomball Junior High, Willow Wood Junior High, and Tomball High School.
3) An assistant principal, at Willow Wood Junior High for four years, followed by a year as an administrator for Special Services working with special needs students at Tomball Memorial High School, Tomball Intermediate, and Decker Prairie Elementary.
This unique perspective is something that only I bring to the table in this election. Other candidates have seen the district from the outside looking in as parents, or as Board Trustees looking down from the top, but I've seen Tomball ISD from inside the trenches, where the boots get muddy. I believe that the things I have experienced over the years will allow me to add important thoughts to all discussions in the board room that would otherwise not be a part of the conversation.
In what ways do you see yourself as an advocate for who you will represent if elected?
One advantage my background as a former assistant principal in Tomball ISD is that in the execution of my duties, I spoke to at least five parents a day every day school was in session. Issues ranged from discipline concerns, academic issues, attendance matters, problems students were having with bullying, special education planning, and numerous other issues on parents' minds. I'd estimate that over the years, I've made personal contact with parents close to four thousand times. This gives me a deeper understanding of the feelings of our community members than any other candidate. I've internalized all those conversations and feel that I am the best person in this race to be able to represent not just my own feelings and ideas, but those of all our stakeholders.
Over the last ten years, I have also worked with thousands of students... not just GT students, and not just the students who are in the same activities as my own child. I have had the privilege to work with students who were at risk, students from low income families who were on free or reduced lunch programs, special education students, second language learners, students who were frequently visited by CPS agents, and students who had severe behavior problems. These students and their families need a representative on the Board of Trustees who has experience working with all kinds of kids and families, not just a few. I am the only candidate in this election who can provide this service.
Additionally, during my years as an assistant principal in Tomball ISD, I was able to establish strong, trust-filled relationships with staff members including custodians, paraprofessional staff, teachers, and administrators at numerous campuses and departments across the District. Because of this, I am confident that my professional relationships in the District will continue to allow me to have my finger on the pulse of the sentiments of District staff, who know they can continue to speak to me about concerns without fear of any negative consequences. This will ensure that I not only represent the students and parents in Board meetings, but also the District's staff, who are all working towards the same goal of student success.
If elected, what would your top priorities be as a member of the TISD school board?
The highest priority would be to build on the previous academic successes the District has already had thanks to the tireless efforts of our teachers in concert with the involvement and dedication of our parents. Without taking away any of these measures that have contributed to this success, we should implement additional programs that focus on math and science achievement in some of our subpopulation groups such as the economically disadvantaged and special education students. Different students with different situations have different needs and varied learning styles, and addressing this will lead to an even greater amount of student achievement than we currently enjoy.
How would you help plan for future enrollment growth in the district if elected?
One of the top things to focus on would be both the hiring and retention of the most highly qualified professionals to be the bedrock of our growing district. We can build state-of-the-art facilities and pack them with the latest technology (and we should,) but without the right people, we can’t expect the same successes we’ve had in the past.
Another priority is to make sure that we don’t get so big that we forget who we are. When my family first came to Tomball over 30 years ago, we were welcomed to “A Hometown with a Heart.” I am glad that we are growing, and I do agree that some things need to change with time, but the core of what is Tomball ISD needs to weather these changes and be a constant beacon to us to keep us on course.
Are you committed to transfer services from the District to the private sector to save District funds?
I would not advocate for transferring services to the private sector for jobs that involves direct contact with students. It’s not worth risking the safe environment our students currently enjoy on their campuses to save a few dollars. Any person who comes into a school and is in contact with students, even just walking down a hallway amongst students, should be subjected to the strict scrutiny that comes from being hired by a school district. Any jobs that do not involve contact with students should be considered for possible outsourcing to the private sector if it would save the schools money without impacting the quality of the service provided.
Should the school district expand or cut funding to extracurricular activities?
Many people, even some campus and district administrators I have spoken to, underestimate the importance of extracurricular activities. While instruction in the core subject areas should have priority, extracurricular activities are vital to the education of the whole child. Extracurricular activities build in our students a sense of pride in self, an understanding of what it takes to be a good member of a team, and they teach leadership skills. These programs also instill a strong sense of pride in self, school, and community that students carry with them into adulthood.
Therefore, I believe that funding these activities is important, but I must reiterate my sentiments from previous answers that funds must be spent wisely. I agree with things like purchasing new equipment and supplies for athletics and for the arts as the old things become worn out, but I have concerns about the money spent on other things like providing special transportation for students participating in extracurricular practice after school hours.
One blanket answer to this question would not be correct. I believe some costs should be covered by the district, and others should be the responsibility of booster clubs or parents. These decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis using good judgment rather than showing concern for the status quo.