Here are my responses to a Q&A with Community Impact. Read on to learn about why I’m running, my extensive qualifications, my top 3 priorities, and the district’s COVID-19 response.
Why are you running for office?
I am a firm believer in Servant Leadership and in giving back to this community which has been a wonderful place to live and raise our family since moving here more than 20 years ago. By staying focused on GCISD’s core values of Purpose, Community, and Innovation, and our strategic plan LEAD 2.0, GCISD stands as one of the top school districts in some of the most desirable, safest cities in not only the state but the country. This is evidenced by numerous recognitions such as Top 100 Place to Work 3 years in a row, H-E-B Excellence in Education Board of the Year finalist, campus distinctions including Colleyville Middle School “School to Watch” and Cannon STEM School of Excellence(only one in Texas), and many other awards. My parents instilled in me a commitment to be an active participant in my community, and I am honored and humbled to be a part of the team that has contributed to the academic success of GCISD.
List your qualifications for office.
I have an extensive record of work and civic experience, and have held numerous campus, district, community, and organizational positions. My work history includes former Park Ranger at Grapevine Lake and experience as a PreK Assistant Teacher, and I am currently an assistant public housing coordinator with the Grapevine Housing Authority.
Within GCISD, I have served on the Budget & Finance Committee, the District Excellence Committee, the Safety & Security Committee, Legislative Committee, Community PTA member, GCFFA sponsor, elementary Room Mom, middle and high school sports, band, and academic booster club volunteer, and SAGE member.
As a trustee, I earned my Master Trustee certification in 2016, and represent Region 11 on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of School Board, where I have served on the Budget & Finance Committee and Legislative Committee.
My community involvement includes former Ronaoke City Council and mayor pro tem, Roanoke 4B Economic Development Board, Grapevine Planning and Zoning Commission, Keep Grapevine Beautiful, GRACE Board of Directors, Grapevine Chamber, Grapevine Women’s Division, and current GCISD liaison to Grapevine Parks and Recreation board.
My husband John and I have three children, and we attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.
If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?
Students will always be my top priority. Given the challenges of 2020-2021, I want to ensure that unfinished learning is addressed and students have opportunities to fill in any gaps, such as bridge courses and collaboration between grade levels to transition to the next school year. At the same time, their social and emotional health is also important, which is why I support the continuation of sports and fine arts, access to mental health support and resources, and keeping all campuses open for in-person instruction.
GCISD has paid down debt, improved the district’s bond rating to Aa1, earned Financial Integrity recognition 18 years in a row, lowered the tax rate, and provided teacher raises. Work remains to be done including educating taxpayers on their rights to protest unreasonable property valuations, encouraging homeowners to access heir homestead exemptions(SB1943) and maintaining relationships with GCISD’s legislators to advocate for additional shifting of the burden of property taxes away from homeowners.
Community involvement is vital; I support opportunities for parents and community members to participate in our schools including Safety & Security, Student Health, Budget & Finance, and Campus Excellence committees as well as business, church, and civic organization partnerships.
Discuss the district’s COVID-19 response and what you think is working well and what needs to change.
Thanks to the hard work of teachers and staff, GCISD opened on time in August, well before other DFW school districts, and parents could choose online or in-person instruction for their children. With the fiber optic project partnership with the cities of Grapevine and Colleyville and the voters’ support of the 2016 bond, GCISD was well-prepared to meet the digital demands with 1:1 devices and connectivity. Increased health and safety protocols for teachers and students resulted in GCISD’s positivity rate consistently trending below Tarrant County and allowed students to stay in-person and to participate in extracurricular activities, and at no time did any GCISD campus shut down.
The district’s covid response was hampered by contradictory, over-reaching directives out of Austin from TEA. Also, a shortage of substitutes has been a challenge; the district added compensation to teachers who cover additional classes. Reducing the number of days in quarantine has made it possible for students and staff to return to campus faster, as in-person instruction is vital to their academic success. I would like to see teachers prioritized to receive the vaccine, and with its availability, next school year should look even better.