Frisco Style Candidate Survey for FISD Board of Trustees, Place 7
What is your occupation?
Higher education professional, having served Southern Methodist University as a graduate admissions and marketing officer for the past 14 years.
How long have you lived in Frisco?
Do you have children attending an FISD school now or in the past?
Yes, our daughter attended Purefoy Elementary from Kindergarten-5th grade, and now attends Griffin Middle School and absolutely loves it.
Are you a member of any FISD campus PTA/PTO?
I was a member of the Purefoy PTA and am now a member of the Griffin PTA. I am also a current member of the Frisco ISD Council of PTA's (supporter level member for Riddle Elementary, Bright Elementary, Shawnee Trail Elementary, Nelson Middle School, Wakeland High School)
Detail your volunteer experience for the FISD, and other volunteer work within the FISD or City of Frisco.
I currently serve on the Frisco ISD Long Range Planning Committee (financial transparency sub-committee), Frisco Education Foundation Advisory Board, and Frisco FastPacs Board of Directors. I am a member of Frisco Women’s League (serving on the Junior Frisco Women’s League committee, which serves 90 high school young ladies across the district in building servant leadership skills and community engagement), Griffin Middle School PTA and volunteer with the Griffin MS Band Booster. I also serve as a member of the second annual Frisco ISD Insight program, a forum which provides community stakeholders a behind-the-scenes look at school district operations.
How many Frisco ISD meetings did you attend prior to filing for this election?
Twelve, in addition, I also attended the 2017 summer work session for the board.
What do you see as the role of a FISD Trustee?
The role of an FISD Trustee first and foremost is to advocate for ALL students and teachers, working in collaboration with the superintendent to promote and implement the vision and goals of our district of academic excellence. Advocating begins with making strategic, long-range decisions that adhere to the mission of our district, and the priorities of our community of students, teachers, parents, and citizens.
In how many local elections have you voted?
Explain your understanding of the relationship between FISD Trustees and FISD Staff?
Leading a district of over 58,000 students and over 3,800 teachers requires competency and deep understanding in many areas. To have the information and knowledge necessary to make intentional and strategic decisions, Trustees must have collaborative relationships with FISD staff, through our superintendent, Dr. Mike Waldrip. To implement the vision for the district, all constituent groups must work as a collective.
Explain your opinion of the relationship between the City of Frisco and Frisco Independent School District?
Frisco ISD and the City of Frisco have a tight knit relationship, both working to keep our growing community flourishing. Unique partnerships with city entities like our beloved Frisco Police Department allow our schools to be staffed with school resource officers and crossing guards. Many citizens don’t know that those positions are a shared cost between the district and the city, which is very unique. In addition, collaborative projects such as the Dr. Pepper Ballpark, Toyota Stadium, Dr. Pepper Area, and The Star bring together the district and the city to make an incredibly effective use of public funds to expand student opportunity. Building upon the already stellar efforts between the district and the city is one of my top priorities.
What is your vision for FISD?
My vision for Frisco ISD is to build upon the successes of our collaborative and caring learning community by expanding opportunities for ALL students, both academically and in extracurricular offerings, to foster learners who are prepared to excel in an ever-changing world.
What do you believe is FISD’s biggest success?
It would have been very easy for a district that grew over 2527% between 1990-2011 to lose its focus and begin to creep away from its mission to know every student by name and need. Frisco ISD kept its small school model intact and expanded opportunities for students (through innovative programs like the CTE Center which opened in 2008) through this massive phase of growth, and that to me, is the district’s biggest success, and is a model for other fast growing districts to emulate.
What is the most critical issue facing FISD, and how do you plan to solve for it if elected to the Board of Trustees?
Funding. Frisco ISD receives $300 less per student from the state than our peer districts. Multiply $300 x 58,000 students, and we are already underfunded by almost $18M annually. And that is just the tip of the iceberg in the lack of equity in the state funding of our district. For our district to continue to expand student opportunities, invest more in our teachers, and put more money back into the classroom, the community is going to have to work together on a solution. If elected to the Board of Trustees, I plan to advocate for and support a tax swap tax ratification election (TRE). This type of TRE is different from the failed efforts in 2016, in that it does not increase property taxes, it merely allows the district to move funding from one funding bucket to another.
What is your opinion of the efforts of FISD to provide a smaller high school environment?
Serving on the Long Range Planning Committee for the district, I was a huge proponent of staying the course with our current 5A high school model. This model (which I affectionately refer to as the student participation model), adopted over 20 years ago, allows for more opportunity for our students, both in academics and extracurricular activities.
I appreciated the outreach efforts of the district, not only to the members of the committee (all appointed after a thorough application process), but also to the community members at large. Over 4,000 members of the community responded to the survey, many of whom didn’t have children in the district. Almost 80% of those who responded mirrored the desires of the committee, which was to continue with the small high school model that has served this community of students and teachers so well for decades.
Do you believe the FISD is being operated efficiently? Why, or why not? Specific examples are encouraged.
I believe that FISD pays down district debt in a very efficient manner. Expanding student opportunities (examples: Bright Academy, International Baccalaureate Programme, AVID program, fine arts, athletics, CTE courses, dual credit courses), and parent opportunities (PTA/PTO, Student & Parent Empowerment Program, Watch D.O.G.S.) to meet the demands of our growing and diverse student population is another area that I feel is a well-organized use of taxpayer dollars, but I do believe that we need to spend some good time and energy on making sure that all of the students and parents of our diverse student groups have an equal voice at the table regarding expanding opportunities.
Areas that I believe are inefficient center on classroom resources. I would like to see more of our taxpayer dollars go into the classroom by way of increased investment in our teachers, expansion of our pool of qualified substitutes, stipends for new teachers and teachers changing grade levels, and subsidizing the start of school and mid-year costs that our teachers typically end up paying for out-of-pocket.
I've spent time with hundreds of teachers over the last few years as I've prepared to run for school board, and what I have realized is that there are functional areas of our district where we need to make better use of our resources. The work load of our educators is overwhelming our system, and I'd like to add additional support for our teachers.
What specific actions would you like our locally elected state reps to take in support of FISD students, parents, and teachers?
I expect our locally elected state representatives to advocate for our students and teachers (current and retired) in the bills that they write, and in the laws that they pass. To do that effectively, the funding mechanism for our public schools needs to be completely overhauled. Continually increasing property taxes to cover the shortfall in funding is not the answer, especially when a large portion of that revenue goes back to the state, and not into Frisco ISD. I was pleased that in the special session of the 85th Texas Legislature, a commission was established to study and make recommendations for improvements of our current funding mechanisms. Access to the commission’s full report should be available no later than Dec. 31, 2018.
Beyond funding, one of the areas that I believe is a huge detriment to public education is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). I am pro-assessment, but I fundamentally disagree with high stakes testing like the STAAR test, and the subsequent A-F accountability system (which uses STAAR results as the primary assessment marker for elementary and middle schools). If I am fortunate enough to be elected as a trustee, I will advocate in Austin to our legislators to repeal both the STAAR testing structure, and the broken and unequitable A-F accountability system.
Frisco is known for its abundance of breakfast options. What is your favorite Frisco breakfast?
I’d eat breakfast for every meal, so this is a tough one for me. My family loves The Depot, and the brunch at Nerdvana is one of our favorites.