1. What motivated you to continue to run for DISD Board of Trustees after fifteen years of service?
I am still passionate about education. I want to continue making Dallas ISD better for the nearly 160,000 children entrusted to us by their parents. I have, and will continue, to make a positive difference. We are continuing the vision and priorities adopted by the Board. I want to do my part to keep Dallas ISD moving forward and upward.
2. Why are you passionate about education?
As an educator, I am committed and dedicated to educating children, helping them grow socially and emotionally. Education is the key to life-long successes. Children can attain the reality of their dreams, with education.
3. Can you share a story of a teacher that made an impact in your life?
Mr. Mayfield was my Sixth Grade teacher. He talked to the boys in such a way that we listened to his instruction, advice, and admonishment. He noticed and encouraged my leadership skills, giving me the opportunity to be the Captain of the Safety Patrol. He mentored me throughout year, helping me to improve my leadership skills.
4. What place should charter schools generally have in Dallas?
I believe that Charter schools do not play a special role in educating students in Dallas because Dallas ISD can offer any and everything which is offered in a Charter School.
5. What do you see as the role of Dallas Can, specifically, in the city's educational landscape?
Dallas Can Academies attracts students who are deficient in credits towards graduation, teen parents with limited resources for child care, working teens who are assisting with their family’s income, and those who don’t quite “fit” in a regular high school model. Dallas Can Academies offers another educational option for students.
6. You've talked in the past about a task force to improve academic achievement for Black students. Is that still in the works? If not, how can we improve the success of our Black students given that they are performing well behind their peers?
For the past few years, African American students have not been as successful as other students. Thus, the need to focus on the students with the greatest needs. Last spring, I convened the African American Student Success Initiative (AASSI) task force to review, reflect, and reform how we educate African American students. Our recommendations were grouped into five themes; academic achievement (focusing on reading), social and emotional development, culture enhancement in the home and school, parents & family engagement, and community partnerships.
We are implementing the recommendations in the Carter and Wilmer-Hutchins high school feeder patterns. After assessing and analyzing the first year data, I envision AASSI expanding to an additional feeder pattern next year.
7. Two years ago, you voted to implement the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) and the program has drawn some criticism. How do you propose the district make that system more effective, or is there an alternative evaluation method you think the district should use?
In 2010, the Board approved developing a new teacher evaluation system, which would include student achievement as a component. Work began in the 2010-2011 school year. Upon Superintendent Mike Miles coming to the District, the scope of the work changed, evolving into TEI, very similar to the model used in Harrison School District 2.
The concerns I have with TEI include attaching a performance pay system to the appraisal system, before the appraisal system has been implemented and tested for validity and reliability. The system is too complex and too complicated for many teachers to understand. Thus, we have many teachers who are criticizing TEI, with some leaving the District, going to smaller suburban districts.
We should meet with teachers at each school to hear their concerns, and solutions. With that information, we should modify the TEI, while still keeping the essence of identifying excellent teaching.
8. You have recently come out as a public advocate for South Oak Cliff High School building maintenance and repairs. How did SOC get in this condition and how do we avoid having other schools deteriorate to this level?
South Oak Cliff High School, just as many other schools, is simply old. Nearly 45% of the schools in Dallas ISD were built between 1950 and 1970. SOC was built in 1951; 65 year ago. We can avoid the deterioration of schools by investing more funds towards maintenance and refurbishment, on a regular basis. I would propose that each year we allocate at least 25% of the excess operating funds to a designated school building maintenance fund, to address maintenance needs of older school buildings.
9. What are some things that Dallas ISD is doing well?
Dallas ISD has made improvements with Pre-k enrollment, Public Choice Schools, and Career and Technology Education.
10. What are you proud of from your last fifteen years of service and what are your goals for the next three if you are reelected?I am proud of my service to the constituents of District 5, being responsive to their needs, and results oriented towards their suggestions for improvement. I have supported responsible reform initiatives, and advocated for students and teachers.
My goals for the next three years include improving school buildings and facilities for students, increasing access to teaching supplies and teaching aids, increasing student academic achievement, and improving teacher quality and retention.
11. Why should voters reelect you on election day?
I will actively advocate for the District to move forward and upward. My experience in education as a teacher, campus administrator, central office administrator, and university professor gives me a keen viewpoint of the educational landscape in Dallas ISD.
I will actively advocate for better quality teachers for our students, and the best principals to lead our schools, and giving them the resources to help students improve academically, socially, and emotionally.
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