What motivated you to run for a seat on the school board this year?
I BELIEVE that it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE VISIBLE AND AVAILABLE FOR ALL STUDENTS, PARENTS, TEACHERS/STAFF & STAKEHOLDERS. While I am running at large I will represent all people. I believe that the east side has been under represented for many years. So in my decision to run, one area I looked at was where board members lived BUT MOST IMPORTANT - how often I saw them in my 12 years as a teacher in the district.
I AM COMMITTED TO SERVING ALL STUDENTS, FAMILIES AND STAFF OF HAYS CISD! I pledge to not only be visible but be AVAILABLE across the district. To be active at campuses and encouraging to increase parent engagement and involvement at all schools.
EQUITABLE EDUCATION – As a classroom teacher I saw students at my campus feel less than that of other schools in the same district. It is perceived that West side schools are better. As a teacher on the East side, we had to work extremely hard to make sure our students were getting the tools and resources they deserved in order to be compeitive with other schools. Hays CISD is the fastest growing district in Texas. It is changing as we move forward, and I believe I can bring a unique perspective not only as an educator of 15 years, but also being an African American teacher/leader. I would also like to increase support for Diversity and Inclusion. Recently the District created a Diversity Advisory Council – that will support and advise the Superintendent on the coordination and development of policies, programs, resources, and methods, which will increase maximum achievement for all students and staff in a multi-cultural, gender equitable environment that is safe for all stakeholders of the Hays CISD Community.
I have seen firsthand, students having to work to help their families and maintain their education. Students I have worked with have large families they have to help support.. So I encourage YOUTH LEADERSHIP! I want to empower our youth to be prepared for life after high school. I want them to be prepared to live a successful and productive life after they leave our campuses. We have to give them the tools necessary to be productive citizens in the real world. “I’VE BEEN A CHAMPION FOR STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM, NOW I WOULD LIKE TO BE ADVOCATE FOR STUDENTS ON THE SCHOOL BOARD.
EQUITABLE PAY & SUPPORT STAFF
We need to focus on the mental health and safety of our teachers and school staff. When covid hit we were faced with lots of unknowns. We had to learn how to sanitize our rooms before and after each class periods. We had to make sure students were wearing masks. We had to ensure that students were adhering to the 6ft social distancing rules. As classroom teachers we practically had to refine our teaching skills and find ways to engage and connect with our students on many different levels. We had to increase our technology skills and usage. We had to learn new platforms in order to support our students in a world that was foreign to us all during the pandemic. There has been an increase in depression for students and teachers. We need to make sure to keep up with the trend in competitive salaries for our staff. Our area is growing rapidly. Can our teachers afford to live in the district where they work. Are we providing a competitive salary in order to keep our highly qualified teachers long term? We don't want to be a stepping stone district, where teachers and staff come for a year or two and move to higher paying districts. We need to take care of our teachers and be aware of their mental health and well being.
Clear communication of why the board makes the decisions that they make. How are items brought to the board table? Keeping the community, teachers, and students informed on board policies and goals. Engaging and encouraging the community to vote on items presented. Keeping the community abreast of the changes surrounding the growth of our district. Making sure each decision that is made is connected to student outcome. Also, making sure decisions that are made are aligned with board goals in order to hold the board accountable.
What particular skills or experience qualify you to serve as a school board member?
As an Educator of 15 years, I have first-hand experience in what students, parents, teachers, custodians, and staff experience on a daily basis, which qualifies me to serve as a school board member. I have taught in the district for over a decade and served in leadership positions such as Superintendent’s Cabinet, Campus Leadership Team, and College & Career Readiness/Advanced Academics Committee. However, let me share how I got from there to here. I have always been inspired to become a leader in the education field. For me that started as a permanent substitute teacher, a Teacher Assistant, Life-skills and Inclusion and a Track Coach assistant in Austin ISD. In 2009, I was hired as a Speech teacher/Cheer coach/ Later I would become a Dance asst at Lehman HS. I served as a teacher in Hays CISD from June 2009- October 2020. I hold a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Concordia University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA).
What are the greatest challenges for Hays CISD?
There are many challenges facing our district today. One of the greatest challenges in the district is learning loss and keeping our staff/students/teachers safe during this Coronavirus pandemic. According to TEA, students are estimated to have lost 6 months of education this includes the summer. The district will need to provide summer school for students to make up the loss and offer additional tutoring, intervention, and resources to help students get back on track. There needs to be assessments and data to figure out the areas in which students lost the most when it comes to learning.
What are your ideas to improve the future of Hays CISD? How would they help our students?
My ideas to improve the future of Hays CISD would be a 3-prong approach to assessing and addressing the needs of our students, teachers, and staff. First, let’s address equitable education. We are stronger when every single student in Hays CISD is lifted up. All Hays CISD students deserve quality education, resources, and opportunities to reach their fullest potential. We need to find district-wide strategies to assure that schools on both sides of I-35 are receiving quality education, resources, and opportunities. Secondly, teachers are leaving the field of education because of Coronavirus pandemic stress, pay, and the amount of stressed put on them. The way to improve the future of Hays CISD and retain teachers is to increase their pay and provide additional support staff for them in the classroom. When I was a teacher, I had 40 students in my class at any given time. Not only are we teaching, but we are also dealing with social and emotional issues from home or life in general. Some students need more guidance than others and this would provide support, help students improve their performance in the classroom and prepare them to excel beyond the classroom.
If elected, how will you work to address disparities in our communities and areas that the district serves?
Living on the eastside for 17 years, teaching at Lehman, and having my own children attend Science Hall, Pfluger Elementary, Chapa MS and Lehman HS, I would always hear students say, “how they feel they are left out and questioned why one school over the other have better things.” This was almost a daily conversation, especially when UIL (University Interscholastic League) competitions would take place at other schools or just in general. I would like to make it a goal of the school board to do a needs assessment across the campuses to see where all the disparities exist, make a plan for improvements, and tie it to the Superintendent's goals. Secondly, going with the motto of “Stronger Together” and 100% HCISD, that to me included everyone! I would encourage my fellow board members to form a committee that includes parents and stakeholders from all areas of the district that brings diversity and diverse backgrounds to the table. When you have parent buy-in, you have greater participation. Third, provide more resources and experienced teachers in the areas where the disparities exist in the district. For example, create a reading program in the areas where there is a higher student need and make a goal to increase student participation in the Gifted and Talent (GT) program. This could increase students’ performance across the district and keep students engaged in learning.
What will be your budgetary priorities as a school board member?
It is important that the budgetary priorities be connected to programs and goals with deliverables that impact student learning. In agreement with the HCISD belief in which the allocation of resources will support high quality learning. If elected as a school board member my priorities would be to continue to increase technology services across the district. What we learned during the pandemic was that there was a huge struggle for the district to supply laptops/ipads at all schools. Some students had to go to restaurants to have access to wifi on their phones. That type of learning environment is not conducive to students learning at their fullest potential. In addition, as more and more programs are driven through technology, it is imperative that we increase our funding in that dept for our students/teachers. Safety is paramount in my budget priority. Protecting our bus drivers/custodial -auxiliary staff/teachers are essential to serving the whole student. I would like to see an increase in pay to retain essential workers. We need to know moving forward that all of our staff is able to care for themselves and that means their health and safety. They have had to do a tremendous shift to their daily schedules and tasks. It is important that these workers are compensated properly.
COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years old may not be available until 2022. In light of that, do you support required mask usage by students and staff during the next school year for grade-levels in which students are not able to be vaccinated?
I am in favor of anything that will keep our students and staff healthy and until we can get everyone vaccinated, I feel we should all continue to wear masks at school. At this point we have been doing it for a year, so it should not hurt to wear them for another year at least. The most important thing is the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff, and community.
How can voters contact you?
Masters of Education-Educational Administration Concordia University
Bachelor of Arts-Communication University of Texas at San Antonio
What is your experience participating with the Hays school district or at a particular campus?
Teacher at Lehman HS June 2009- October 2020
The election will take place in Hays CISD. Specific polling locations and times depend on the county in which the voter resides. These dates and times are listed in the election order and notice (below), and linked from this webpage and the Hays CISD interactive election map.
Hays and Travis Counties use vote centers, meaning Hays and Travis County voters may cast ballots for any election in which they are eligible at any vote center in the respective counties during the times the vote centers are operating. Caldwell County will have a specific polling location for early and election day voting.
Hays County Voting Dates and Times
These are Hays County's May 2021 Election Day Voting locations. Registered Hays County voters can vote at any of these locations.
Early Voting: April 19 — April 27, 2021
- Monday, April 19 — 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 20 — Friday, April 23 — 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday, April 24 — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Monday, April 26 — 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, April 27 — 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Election Day: Tuesday, May 1 — 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Click on the image below to see an interactive map of the Early Voting locations in Hays County. Registered voters can vote at any location.
Click on the image below to see an interactive map of the Election Day voting locations in Hays County. This is the first year that Hays County registered voters can vote at any vote location on Election Day.
May 2021 Bond Election Information
The voter information brochure details the propositions (and projects included in them) that will be on the May ballot. The brochure includes links to learn about specific projects found in each proposition.
For more information, visit the district's bond election webpage.