1. Given your success in the medical field, why the interest in education? More importantly, why go from
personal passion to elected office?
I have devoted my life to serving children and their families. I have realized that although I can provide the best medical care
possible, in order for children to have a truly bright future, they must have an excellent education. They must graduate from
high school college and workforce ready. This is all a part of the pediatrician's role in caring for the whole child and is
therefore a natural outpouring of my profession.
2. How do you see your experiences up to this point helping you as a trustee?
My experience as a Dallas County Schools Trustee has allowed me to better understand governance and the roles of
trustees and the superintendent. I have dealt with budgeting taxpayer money, interacting and assisting constituents with
various issues and concerns, employee grievances, real estate sales, making major decisions affecting thousands of
employees, and other issues which I will encounter on the Dallas ISD school board as well.
I am skilled at building a consensus among those with differences in opinion and staying focused on the main issue at hand.
I have had years of experience listening closely to parents and children and communicating with them, sometimes under
extremely stressful circumstances. My training in true life and death situations helps me keep everything else in perspective.
My education and my professional experience as a pediatrician have helped to prepare me in innumerable ways to lead as a
school board member. The perseverance required to complete college, medical school and residency in itself trains one to
live and thrive under stress, deadlines, and high expectations. I stay informed regarding the latest research and am trained
to recognize good studies from bad and which ones are applicable to real-life situations. This practice is invaluable in
identifying research-based best practices which will lead to improvement in DISD.
I have been an active volunteer in the schools, and SBDM member and a PTSA president, providing communication between
parents, the teachers, and the principal. This has given me insight into the schools at the local level and into some of the
very real issues which are dealt with in the schools on a daily basis. These experiences will help me to stay focused on the
mission of the DISD: to educate students for success.
3. Do you see any difficulties in working with the other board members? If so, how do you plan to overcome
The members of the Dallas County Schools board, on which I currently serve, represent the entire county, have varying
viewpoints and represent diverse communities. We stay focused on providing the best service to our clients and constituents
and being wise stewards of our taxpayer dollars.
I anticipate that there will be differences of opinion on the DISD board as well, which is expected in any group of people
leading a large, complex organization. All of the board members want to see the children of the district be successful, and
concentrating on that mission will help us to keep our focus. In order to move forward as district, it is better to concentrate on
the areas of agreement rather than magnify areas of conflict.
I already know and interact with the majority of DISD trustees in my role as a DCS trustee, and these relationships will help
as we work together to educate students for success.
4. Can you think of a teacher that made a difference in your life?
How many may I list? I remember the names and faces of nearly every teacher I have had. Many are memorable for
different reasons. A common characteristic of the teachers who made a positive impact on me is their encouragement to
develop my talents- they saw things in me that I did not see. They gave me the confidence to aim high and to pursue
achievements I would not have thought possible. This is a gift that they gave to me, and to many of my fellow students, for
which I am grateful.
5. Why do students struggle? When you were a student, why did you?
Children are all unique. My reasons for struggling may be very different from other students. Obviously, there are common
groupings of reasons: poverty, unstable home life, learning differences (diagnosed or not), chronic medical issues, bullying,
truancy, drugs, alcohol, emotional difficulties; the list goes on.
It is important to realize that this issue is multifaceted and will not be solved by a “one size fits all” mentality. A teacher or
other adult in a child's life can help turn things around by letting the student know that they are cared for and will be listened
to. This is an important role that anyone on the school staff or a volunteer in the schools can fulfill- it just requires time,
compassion, and a sense of humor.
6. How did you get past those difficult times during your academic career?
I relied on my faith, my family and my friends and teachers, in that order.
7. What is DISD doing well now and where can we improve?
We have many strong schools in DISD. District 1 has several outstanding schools which have waiting lists for their
programs, especially the dual language and Montessori programs. The DISD magnet programs receive accolades every year
and the newer IB programs are thriving. These successful schools should be supported and allowed to flourish. An effort
should be made at the schools which are not doing as well to engage the community to assist the school.
DISD needs to focus on the needs of the students in the classrooms and make sure the teachers are well supported with
appropriate professional development and supplies. There needs to be an effort to be sure that each classroom has a
permanent teacher who is certified for that subject- we have had too many teacher vacancies in the middle of the school year
which are not replaced in a timely manner. This causes the education of the children in that classroom to suffer.
We need to have more diagnosticians who can test the children suspected of having learning differences in the early
elementary grades, when the interventions will be most successful. We cut many of those positions during the budget crisis
of 2011 and we have not restored them. We also need more specialists in order to work with these children once they are
8. If you were the Superintendent today, what, if anything, would you do differently and why?
I would ensure that the people I hire have the experience and credentials for the job. I would hold them accountable for
being accurate and professional. I would value those who will tell me things I don't want want to hear, but are necessary to
know so that a solution can be found. I would listen to the parents and the teachers and address their concerns, and strive to
improve the communications between the administration and the school community. I would support the schools which are
deemed successful by their communities and focus my attention on the schools which are struggling, and I would look to
established research to guide the solutions. I would ensure that the trustees receive the full information they need in a timely
manner in order to make wise decisions.
9. What do you see as the role and responsibility of a trustee?
The DISD trustee has 4 main jobs: 1) Hire and fire the superintendent 2) Approve the budget 3) Hire and fire the internal
auditor, and 4) Set policies for the district.
The trustees must hold the superintendent accountable to be the educational and moral leader of the district. They must hold
him accountable for the progress of the district, or the lack thereof. There should be no excuses at any level, and certainly
not at the top levels of administration.
As an elected official, the trustee is also responsible to the taxpayer to be an efficient steward of the taxpayer dollars. The
trustee is responsible as well to the families who elected him/her, to seek out and listen to their input regarding their
community. The trustee must be mindful of the 20,000 employees of the district, and set policies which are fair and
equitable. The 160,000 students deserve the full attention of the trustee and every effort must be made to ensure that the
main job of the district as a whole is carried out: to educate all students for success.
The trustee is also the visible presence of the district in the community. They should be active in supporting the schools and
the programs of the district.
10 Why should voters on Election Day choose you?
I have the experience and the passion to improve the district for our children. I have spent my life caring for children and
their families and will continue to place them as the top priority as a trustee. I have committed to spend all of my efforts for
the success of the district, not for charter schools which compete with DISD. I will hold the superintendent accountable for the
progress of the district, or for the lack of progress. I value the input of the parents, the community and the teachers in order to
find solutions and move the district forward into 21st century education.
I am a proven leader with a “can-do” attitude. My profession as a pediatrician is to collaborate with parents and others to form
a team to keep children healthy. As a trustee, I will form a team with the other trustees, the administration and the schools to
ensure that our students graduate ready for a successful life after graduation.