Dallas, Tx 75238
Campaign or Work Phone Number
School district - 13 years
Trustee district - 4 years
BS Nutrition University of Texas Austin, TX
BS Physician Assistant Studies UTSouthwestern Dallas, TX
Masters Physician Assistant University of Nebraska Omaha, NB
Pilots N Paws Volunteer
Board of Directors Dallas Day School, Parent Member, 2013-2014
Medical Volunteer, 911 Memorial Stair Climb, 2012
Foster Mother, 2007-2008
Friends, I have no contributions over $500.00
I am running for office because public education is under fierce attack. I expect my trustee to be committed to DISD and public education. I am 100% committed to DISD as evidenced by the fact that I send my daughter to DISD. This is in stark comparison to my opponent who has school-aged children all of whom are in private school. Additionally, I am opposed to diverting public money to private schools unlike my opponent who voted against a resolution opposing vouchers and the A-F grading system.
Struggling schools. I will work to implement the Community School concept for our struggling schools. This concept is evidence-based and shown to transform struggling schools into thriving schools. DISD is primed for such a concept in that it currently utilizes many of the components that are typically incorporated in a Community School.
Teacher morale/retention. In DISD currently 42% of teachers have zero - one year of teaching experience and 52% have five years of experience. Teachers with whom I have met feel very deflated due to the TEI evaluation system. I understand from them that many of their colleagues have left and won't return due to this system. Teachers deserve to be paid fairly for the extraordinarily difficult job of educating our children. I will work to ensure we provide a fair evaluation system and thus pay so that we can maintain a quality educator at the helm of every classroom.
Yes I have attended school board meetings. To be an effective board member it is important to be educated on the issues, maintain a respectful demeanor and consider the opinions of those you disagree with as well as those with whom you agree.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
I would like to see the community school concept implemented in the low performing and lower socioeconomic schools and I would like to begin building a mentoring program between DISD and the business community to help children define their career goals.
Examples of current programs in place are Accelerated Campus Excellence, Early Childhood Education, Collegiate Academies and Choice/Best-fit schools. DISD is engaged in public-private partnerships to educate both students and families, boost participation and bring awareness to the importance of early childhood education for example. The District also provides free meals to all students to ensure the nutritional needs are met.
Before considering any tax increase, I would want to see a top to bottom analysis of processes to identify waste and streamline the way DISD operates.
The collegiate academies are proving hugely popular with I believe around 5000 applicants this year. The opportunity to obtain an associate’s degree seems to be having a positive impact on graduation numbers. The level of preparedness is assumed to be improved and will be assessed over time as the program evolves. The DOI initiative is being formed and depending on the specifics of the final proposal could be impactful for this initiative.
Rogers has had great success in improving reading and math performance with the implementation of the personalized learning curriculum. Milam, Williams, Lakewood, Stonewall and Longfellow are also performing well in these areas.
Based on recent PASA report, DISD will need to concentrate on maintaining and growing student enrollment in the years to come. I agree with the expansion of choice schools in DISD. This program serves as an avenue to grow student enrollment while also allowing students to attend a school that is the best-fit.
The program is partnering with reputable industry leaders and our established community college district whereby students are participating in internships and have the opportunity to gain employment. Having these experts will ensure quality both in program content as well as practical application. Following outcome data will guide program curriculum and any needed adjustments to maintain quality and success of the program.
I think it is deeply flawed and needs a major overhaul. It is a factor in poor teacher morale, teacher turnover and hurts DISD when it comes to attracting new teachers. Education must remain a collaborative endeavor and should not artificially cap the number of teachers that can reach the top ratings, thus incentivizing those with less experience and those just becoming experienced while leaving the truly experienced teachers without the same opportunity to advance and gain fair compensation.
I think he has managed a difficult situation well; that is guiding a large, high-poverty urban district with continued funding shortages. He continues to seek creative, innovative methods to improve the District. A survey last fall indicated three-fourths of District employees are more confident in the direction the District is headed.
Quality Early Childhood Education is very important for continued student success. I would like to see other avenues explored for pre-K expansion before moving to increased class sizes.
Facilities are an issue in some schools, with JL Long and Woodrow Wilson being particularly crowded. In general, special education is under-resourced, as are counselors. Now there is a proposal to cut school librarians to save money. There has been an absence of a curriculum guide with the exception of Title I schools, which given the number of inexperienced teachers in the District would be quite helpful.
As a parent, I feel that DISD communicates in an effective manner via phone calls and text messages in both Spanish and English. On occasion short notice is given of upcoming programs when more lead time would be beneficial.
I think parental involvement is crucial to each child’s education and more community outreach will need to be done. Being a welcoming district will help. I am advocating for the development of the community school approach as an effective way to increase parental involvement. Also, the development of sister schools and/or organizations to reach out to schools with low parent involvement I think would be impactful.
Campaign or Work Phone Number
I have lived at my current residence for approximately 6 years.
I am CEO of Hazel’s Hot Shot, which is a national expedited freight and logistics company headquartered in the DFW Metroplex.
Bachelors of Science in Economics (2000), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Masters of Business Administration (2007), Kellogg School, Northwestern University
I have served as the District 2 Trustee on the Dallas ISD Board since June of 2016. Immediately prior to running for Trustee, I was the Chair Elect for the Board of Reading Partners North Texas, which has brought in over 1,000 volunteer literacy tutors into our schools. I have served extensively as a volunteer tutor in our schools, and have helped to open literacy centers in multiple DISD schools – including most recently, at Mt. Auburn Elementary.
I was also on the Board of Dallas After School, which is an umbrella organization working through over 100 partners to ensure quality after-school programming for Dallas kids. I was on the Board of Dallas Social Venture Partners, where my wife and I have invested our resources alongside those of other education advocates to help scale effective non-profits that are helping kids. I was on the Board of Governors and Chair of the Governance Committee for Uplift Education, which is the largest charter school operator in North Texas. I was also on the Education Council of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. I also currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation which works to provide resources to all schools in the Woodrow feeder pattern.
I have been working as a volunteer and public education advocate for over 15 years. When I moved to Boston right after college to take my first job as a Consultant with Bain & Company, I immediately started volunteering every Saturday as a tutor for the Steppingstone Foundation. Following that experience, I helped to launch a “Cristo Rey” model high school (which is a Catholic work/study program) as a pro-bono consultant in Boston. I also helped the Boston Renaissance School expand from an elementary school through 8th grade. In Chicago, I worked with other members of my Bain office to help start Rowe Elementary School.
Since I have been in Dallas, I have worked as an advocate, a donor, and a volunteer with over fifteen different non-profits (all of which are education-based non-profits). I am an alum of Leadership Dallas and the Presidential Leadership Scholars program which selects approximately 60 people per year from around the country to receive intense leadership training over the course of a year from the former U.S. Presidents and their senior advisors. I am a winner of the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” award and a finalist for the Dallas Foundation’s annual “Good Works Under 40” award. I have previously served on the Mayor’s Poverty Task Force, as an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and a member of Entrepreneurs for North Texas.
I have served as the Dallas ISD Trustee representing District 2 since June of 2016. Prior to that I had not sought or held any public office.
As of my last Campaign Finance Report, I had raised just over $27,000 for this election.
As of my last Campaign Finance Report, my top 3 contributors were Jack Lowe, Stacy Schusterman, and Mike Terry.
In college, I was arrested for being involved in a bar fight, but all charges were dropped. In 2000, I was arrested for DWI, but since the evidence clearly demonstrated that I wasn’t guilty, the DA reduced the charge to Obstruction of a Passageway (Class B Misdemeanor). I pled guilty to this reduced offense and received probation.
I’ve always had a passion to help kids find a pathway to success. I started working as a tutor right out of college and since that experience, I have never stopped working in public education. I have helped to launch schools in both Boston and Chicago, and I’ve worked with over a dozen different education non-profits. Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve felt called to help children. I think that drive dates back to my own childhood. I grew up poor in a single parent household, but I had a mother and a grandmother who prioritized education. Even as a young child, I recognized how fortunate I was to be at a great school, so I worked hard to take advantage of that opportunity. I was blessed to get into an ivy league college and to get a great job after school. I credit my mom, my grandmother, and my education with getting me where I am today, and I think every child deserves to get a great start in life.
I feel that I’ve already had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of kids via my non-profit service, but there is more that I can do. I know that the greatest impact I can have on the lives of our children is by serving as a Trustee. I believe that all kids deserve a strong start in life, and that it is the obligation of our public schools to offer them the best education possible. I am confident that my passion for kids, my business experience, and my knowledge of the education space can help more kids to be successful. DISD has made a good deal of progress over the last several years, and I desperately want to see that continue. I think I am well suited to help push the board and the administration to continue that progress.
The District 2 Trustee has long been a strong voice for reform on the board. I have already demonstrated my commitment to continue this legacy. I am the only candidate who is familiar with the successes and challenges of each of the District 2 schools, and who has a deep background in education. Serving as Chair Elect of Reading Partners North Texas, and as a Board member with Uplift Education, Dallas After School, the Woodrow Community Foundation, Dallas Social Venture Partners (DSVP), and the Education Council at the Chamber has given me a deep understanding of the education space and an appreciation for reform of our system.
I also believe that my business training and my role as the CEO of a national expedited freight company - where I have tripled the size of the business – has taught me the leadership skills required to set a vision, implement policy, manage a budget, and provide the oversight required to steer a large organization towards its goals.
I believe that the two most significant leverage points to improve educational outcomes are effective teachers and world-class principals. First, we need to make sure every classroom has an effective teacher. Research is clear that a high-quality teacher is the most important controllable factor in determining the future of the kids we serve. This means we need a focus on recruiting, training, developing, measuring and rewarding the best people to teach in our schools. It means standing behind the TEI initiative already passed by the board and ensuring that it is implemented with fidelity. Our educators deserve an accurate, real-time assessment of the quality of instruction they are providing their students and a system of professional support that develops their instructional knowledge and skills. Second, we need to focus on principals. Good principals foster an environment where good teachers can shine. They create a culture that makes great schools. So we need to roll out a world class principal training program. Not something intermittent, done during in service days. Rather, constant, focused, ongoing efforts that make sure our principals are the best educational leaders out there. This means implementing cost-effective programs to develop great principals by using the right partners who are ready and willing to help the district. It means giving principals the freedom to do their jobs without bureaucratic meddling, and holding them accountable for student achievement.
In the short time I have served, I have worked hard to develop strong relationships with my fellow Trustees. In most cases, I have succeeded in forging strong relationships built on trust and mutual respect. In some cases, I am still working to build those relationships. In both cases, I know that I have become more effective as a Trustee by prioritizing trust, authenticity, and integrity over policy disagreements in my interactions with my peers.
There are impactful and innovative initiatives that we can learn from both locally and nationally. Locally, Grand Prairie ISD is doing some exciting work around school choice. Despite having one of the regions highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students and one of its lower tax basis, Grand Prairie has managed to grow enrollment while eliminating student achievement gaps with the state. GPISD has accomplished this, in part, due to a steady transition to a robust district-wide school choice model (since 2012). DISD could also learn from Uplift Education’s continual advancements in using technology and data to target learning strategies on a student by student basis. DISD should also mimic Uplift’s “college-going” culture and their Road to College program which provides mentorship and guidance throughout the college selection process, the application process, and during the child’s time in college. DISD could learn more about how to provide greater access to quality pre-K from Lancaster ISD which has offered expanded access to pre-K, a simplified enrollment process, a holistic marketing strategy, and partnerships with community child care providers.
On a national level, DISD could learn a lot from the approach of the Washington D.C. public school system which has seen tremendous gains in student achievement over the last 5 years by focusing on recruiting, training, measuring and rewarding high quality instruction. DCPS has rolled out a rigorous teacher hiring process where they actually observe every applicant while teaching. They hire teachers earlier in the cycle, and they give them frequent feedback – with observations five times per year. Teachers are aggressively measured (similar to DISD’s TEI system) and then compensated according to their performance. DCPS offers top-performing teachers the highest starting salary of any district in the nation and gives them additional incentives for taking on challenges. There is also a well-funded central office team to focus on recruitment, selection, measurement and retention. Retention rates for DCPS’s highly effective teachers approximate 92%.
There are exciting and effective strategies being implemented through the DFW region, throughout Texas, and throughout the U.S. – we just need to study what is working and develop the collective will to make changes to our system.
To be honest, it is very difficult for DISD to meet the needs of all of its students given the current funding provided by the State. We have several very effective programs that we know are successful but it is a challenge to scale them up across all of our schools. The Board and the Administration have already made some progress in this regard by working to eliminate excess district spending so that we can reprioritize that money to scale our best programs. We have already found approximately $30M in savings by reducing headcount in the central administration, and about $20M in savings by bringing teacher to student ratios closer to alignment with our peer districts. That said, we still have a gap.
When the opportunity for a Tax Ratification Election came before the Board last year, I voted to give the voters an opportunity to consider a tax increase to fund our most successful programs. I believe that the DISD administration structured a very transparent tax proposal with clear and measureable accountability metrics that would have unwound the tax if the district failed to meet certain performance hurdles. This was an innovative structure, and I think voters should have been given the right to evaluate the merits of the proposal.
I applaud the district for increasing graduation rates. Since 2011, we’ve seen an increase in our graduation rate from 80% to 87% making it one of the higher graduation rates in the state. However, I am concerned that we are graduating students that are not college ready. Despite an improvement in our graduation rate, we still graduate less than 15% of our seniors ready for college and a huge proportion of our college-going students require remediation to be successful. To further improve in this area, we need to increase students’ exposure to rigorous coursework - including dual credit, AP/IB, and early college high school programs.
No school that I’m aware of has gotten every child up to grade level in reading and math, but the schools in District 2 with the most success have been Lakewood Elementary and Stonewall Jackson Elementary. Lakewood Elementary, as an example, has about 80% of its students reaching post-secondary readiness standards in reading, and 84% in math. Lakewood Elementary, is unique, however, in that its demographic makeup is not reflective of that of the rest of the District (e.g., only 7% mobility, 10% low income, 3% ELL, and 78% white).
I believe that one of the ways in which we can improve educational outcomes (there are several others) is by increasing the socio-economic diversity in our schools. Over 50 years of research shows that economic diversity among students improves educational outcomes via peer to peer learning, higher teacher quality, and higher parental involvement in schools from upper income families. The data also suggests that students in more integrated schools have better long-term career outcomes, better health, lower rates of incarceration, less racial prejudice, and higher life-time earnings. To accomplish this, we need to bring middle and upper class families back to DISD. I believe that the school choice program currently underway within DISD's Office of Transformation & Innovation is the most promising tool in our arsenal to bring middle class families back to the district. The current plan to establish 35 Choice Schools by the year 2020 will help to provide an attractive portfolio of options for those families considering the best school for their children. By offering schools with a dedicated focus on STEM, leadership, the arts, or single-sex education (as examples), DISD can help attract more parents to the district. As an example, the newly created SOLAR Prep received about 50% of applications from families not currently in the district. That said, I think we will need to be thoughtful about how to expand choice options without undermining the important role that neighborhood schools play within our communities. We will also need to be creative with transportation options to limit the budget impact of choice schools.
I am very excited about the expansion of our Early College High Schools, which give students the ability to graduate with 60 hours of college credit and an Associate’s Degree for free. I think we have taken a very deliberate approach to ensure quality in these programs by partnering with local corporations on the development of a specific curriculum for each school’s career pathway. We are also working to ensure quality by removing obstacles to hiring experienced community college professors to teach the DISD classes. Finally, we are starting with limited enrollment (a max of 125 students) and focusing on high school freshman so that we can ensure quality before a full scale rollout.
I am supportive of TEI, and I believe that one of the most important jobs of the D2 Trustee will be to ensure that the administration implements the program with fidelity. As with any new policy, there are some opportunities for improvement (e.g., the 148 high performing teachers that originally did not get a raise). That said, there is no doubt that TEI is moving the district closer to having an effective teacher in every classroom. TEI has helped us to identify our best teachers, give them more money, and use them to mentor other teachers. It has also served as a retention tool for good teachers (with over 70% receiving a raise in year 1), and as a recruiting tool to draw excellent educators to the district. TEI also allows us to tailor feedback and coaching to the specific developmental needs of each teacher.
I believe that Superintendent Hinojosa has done an excellent job in improving morale and repairing some of the “wounds” created during the tenure of Mike Miles. Although I supported many of Miles’ policies, I believe that he did not implement his policies in a collaborative and consensus building manner. As a result, Dr. Hinojosa rejoined the district during a low point in morale – and he has been able to improve teacher and administrator morale very quickly. I am also pleased that Superintendent Hinojosa has decided to continue many of the reforms passed during the previous administration, and I hope that he continues to implement those reforms with fidelity.
Early childhood education is one of the most important opportunities to improve DISD. Research is very clear that 85-90% of brain development occurs in a child before the age of 5 and yet only 5% of education dollars are spent on early education. If students are not reading on grade level by the 3rd grade, they are four times more likely to drop out of school. The board has made some progress on this already, but we need to go further. We need to ensure access to quality pre-K for all 3 and 4 year olds, and we need to partner with our communities to leverage the resources of third-party child care facilities to expand access. By investing wisely in early education, we can better prepare our kids for success and save money in the process.
In addition to the academic gains we can realize via expansion of pre-K, we will also see a long-term financial benefit for the district since we are likely to see more students attend DISD schools in Kindergarten and beyond if they enroll in pre-K. In the short-term, I think we should pursue opportunities to become more efficient in order to fund an expansion of pre-K before we increase class size ratios.
The biggest resource issue we confront in District 2 schools is the lack of resources to adequately improve facilities. Several District 2 schools were rated as having “poor” facility conditions in the 2013 Parsons report. In fact, Lakewood Elementary, Dan D. Rodgers, Preston Hollow Elementary, Hillcrest, and Franklin each have among the worst facility ratings in DISD. As a results, District 2 parents rightly feel that the bulk of DISD’s facilities spend has historically gone to other schools despite the fact that the physical condition of the buildings are often far worse in North and East Dallas. The bond will start to alleviate this issue, but it will not address the full extent of the resource issue in District 2 schools. To deliver resources more effectively, DISD needs to prioritize bond dollars towards the schools that are in the worst physical condition.
From a macro- perspective, there are several other reforms that would make DISD operate in a more cost effective manner. We currently spend over 50% of the district budget on administration instead of classroom instruction. To become more efficient, we need to look for opportunities to lower our technology spend to ensure that we maximize efficiency, and we need to look for opportunities to cut transportation costs. We also need to ensure that we are operating at consistent teacher to student ratios throughout the district.
We need to welcome all parents – regardless of race or primary language – into our schools. We need to scale programs like the partnership with the Concilio, which enables parents to become more effective advocates for their children. We need to reach out to all communities, in their locations and in their language, to make sure that we are listening to their needs and understanding their feedback for the district. Principal Jackson at Sudie Williams, for example, has started hosting “Coffee with the Principal” events held in the community centers of the local apartment complexes where many of the students live – and he provides translation services for native Spanish speakers.
Parental involvement varies widely within District 2. Some schools, like Lakewood Elementary and Stonewall Jackson Elementary have very high levels of parental involvement in the schools via participation in volunteer activities, PTAs, Site Based Decision Making groups and fundraising activities. Many other schools have much lower levels of engagement. To improve parental involvement, I believe we need to teach parents that there are opportunities to get involved within the walls of the school, but there are also important ways for parents to be involved in their child’s education without visiting the school. We should certainly encourage parents to join their local PTA or Site-Based Decision Making (SBDM) groups, and we should create more affinity groups – like the very successful “Friends of Lakewood” Dad’s Club at Lakewood Elementary. Many parents, however, will not have the time or willingness to participate in those organizations. For these parents, we need to teach them how best to support their child’s education by encouraging them to read at home with their kids, teaching them how to create a conducive environment for homework, and making sure that they know the importance of getting their kids to school rested and ready to learn.
Campaign or Work Phone Number
Midlothian High School
Fort Hays State University: B.G.S. General Studies w/Education 07/2013
Fort Hays State University: M.S.E. Education w/ESOL (3.8 GPA) 05/2015
Northcentral University: Ed.D. Education w/Organizational Leadership (in-progress)
National Paralegal College: Paralegal Certificate (in-progress)
Current Member of the National Education Association (since 02/2015)
Current Dallas ISD School Board Candidate 2017
Midlothian ISD School Board Candidate 2013
Dallas ISD Home Rule Charter Applicant 2014
Dallas ISD Focus Group 2016 (seeking to ban suspensions from lower grades)
(Please keep confidential to the extent as possible)
NO CONVICTIONS, NO FELONY CHARGES
served deferred adjudication for physical altercation with roommate in 2001
served deferred adjudication for insufficient checks in 2005
Currently a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against Dallas I.S.D and Zachary Hall (principal of Foster Elementary)
Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against Midlothian I.S.D., cased disposed 2012
I am running for District 2 to help bring about many great changes, that are years long overdue, that would benefit our children, parents, community, and district as a whole. I have eighteen years of faithful public service to Texas public schools, serving in many capacities. My voters should choose me over my opponents, because I have years of knowledge and expertise that I could use to make sound decisions when voting on agenda items that would greatly benefit our district.
If elected, the two issues I would give the most attention to and resources to would be: Making sure ALL students safety, academic, and learning needs are met, with a special emphasis to students labeled as having a disability and/or being labeled as Bilingual/ESL. The second issue would be increasing the communication and feedback among ALL staff members across the district.
I have attended school board meetings in and outside of Dallas I.S.D. I have learned that a board member can be effective just by listening to constituents and other board members, maintaining professionalism and decorum, and using expertise and knowledge when making important decisions that would affect our schools.
The Dallas Morning News did not receive a response from the candidate prior to the deadline.
When looking around the country, Innovative ideas I would recommend for improving classroom performance is increasing parental involvement, listen more to our children, decrease the number of local and state-wide assessments, make staff and professional development more relevant and meaningful, and increase more reading and writing without diminishing the use of technology.
Dallas I.S.D is not fully meeting the academic needs of its low-income students. I am willing to ask voters to approve a tax increase to create or expand such programs.
I would continue to communicate with all interested and responsible parties to assess and evaluate the district's efforts to improve graduation rates and increase the number of students prepared for college. Further improvements that I would advocate is increasing more AP and Pre-AP courses at the high school level, and increasing more Talented and Gifted programs at the elementary and middle school campuses.
Sudie Williams Elementary has increased the use and type of technology, particularly with students whom are deaf or have hearing impairments, in getting every child up to grade level in reading and math.
I would assess Dallas I.S.D.'s current school choice efforts by seeking more information and closely monitoring on how students are benefiting from school choice efforts, what expenditures are being utilized, how school choice affects the current budget, and are current programs or departments being affected by school choice.
The district can ensure that it is creating high-quality programs by challenging the students, monitoring academies for rigorous and meaningful activities, and seek to get feedback from the students of these programs.
I do NOT support the Teacher Excellence Initiative. This system is subjective and moot. Teachers are not being properly or fairly evaluated on their effective teaching practices. Teachers should not have an increase in pay based on student evaluations, students test scores. Rather, teachers should receive "extra pay" for student evaluations and student test scores. Many students do not test or are exempt from many tests. Many students do not evaluate their own teachers. This is unfair to many educators. Administrators are easily seeking ways to unfairly using the TEI against teachers they want to get rid of.
I asses Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's tenure since he rejoined the district by looking at quality and quantifiable data such as climate surveys and test scores. I also speak to staff and seek responses from them to draw conclusions and make inferences on how Hinojosa is progressing, exceeding expectations, and going above and beyond to make sure the district as a whole is moving forward.
I strongly support the importance of early-childhood education. I would never support increasing class-size ratios at the secondary level in order to introduce or expand Pre-K programs. I feel there are other measures the district can take besides increasing secondary class sizes in order to gain or maintain early childhood or Pre-K programs.
I feel many homeless children in my trustee district are lacking safety, nutritional, and academic resources both at school and home. The communication from the "Homelessness" Department of the district should increase among campuses serving homeless students, as well as the parents and families with homeless children. The district should take a micro approach to these students and see what it is specifically they are lacking.
D.I.S.D.'s communications with parents in my trustee district can be improved by keeping individual school websites updated. Newsletters and invitations to special events needs to increase. Spokespersons of the district should also do their part by conducting home visits to families and asking questions and gaining insight from parents, whether it is invitations to events, or listening to problems and conflicts that plague families.