Dustin Marshall: Couldn’t make it. He had a parent supporter stand in. She did a solid job conveying his priorities. Wish he could have been there.
Suzanne Smith: Definitely wins the twitter award. I’ve never seen anyone able to multi task like that. Tweeting and then responding to her questions. She was probably the most intense about it taking notes, snappy responses, and stories galore. I particularly enjoyed her curating and asking herself her own questions from twitter. Pro move. Didn’t hate it. She also made an effort to include the discussion of African American students when the conversation focused on Latino students and received some applause.
Mita Havlick: I’m looking forward to sitting down with her. She held her own up there and is clearly a serious contender for D2. Her strategy was to make sure everyone know she is a mother, and the only one in the D2 races. I’ve been hearing that support is growing for her among D2 parents. That makes her a dangerous challenger. Money doesn’t win elections, so I can see her becoming an issue for the monetary front runners. She made a push for greater parent involvement that was seconded by several on the panel.
Carlos Marroquin: His strategy was that of the teacher. He said early on that he is a current substitute in the district and is the only one who actually knows what is going on in the classrooms of D2. There’s certainly an opportunity for him to make an experience argument. He didn't seem particularly fond of TEI.
Camille White: Not there. I’d be interested to hear her perspective. As an African American woman running against two Latinos, the dynamics of the race could be interesting considering the large African American population in Pleasant Grove and the large White and Latino populations increasing as you head toward Seagoville, a more rural community.
Jaime Resendez: Kicked things off early letting everyone know he is a military veteran with biracial children. No one can claim to have the kind of experience he had serving our country. For that, I’m eternally grateful. He credits that with his renewed love for education and his current occupation as an attorney. From there he sprinkled in some Spanish back and forth with his challenger, highlighting the importance of ELL programs in their district and the importance of leaders at every level being able to communicate with all of their parents and students. He dropped some City Council endorsements he’s received and made the statement that socioeconomics are more important to him that the race discussions that will be happening during this cycle. I’m excited to chat with him because I need to hear more education talk from him. Like the guy. Believe he cares. I just need to know that he gets education outside of his own personal experiences attending DISD schools and learning English. I know there’s more there, I just want to hear it. There was one specific question about TEI asked to the D4 candidates and Resendez took a page out of the Suzanne Smith book and said it’s probably not going away so we need to focus on fixing it. I’ve seen this answer get a few cheers other places, but it fell flat here.
Omar Jimenez: He was quick to address what he perceived to be the elephant in the room: His age. The 23 year old DISD alum is taking the bold strategy of claiming more experience than his competitors. It’s clear that he has spent more time digging through TEI and going to board meetings than the others, but his challenge is going to be getting people to believe that he’ll be able to turn that knowledge into something practical. It’s doable, he’s just going to have to work hard and convincing folks that he’s the one. He, like Resendez, believes his bilingual abilities will help him be an effective communicator in his district and, as the self proclaimed “only candidate from the Seagoville feeder pattern,” it would appear that the rural section of the district will be a big part of his strategy. It’s a neat place with many unique opportunities like the Vet tech program. When asked about TEI, Omar said he’d get rid of it. Some folks in the crowd vocally showed their support.
Linda Wilkerson Wynn: Not here. Honestly, I haven’t heard of her appearing at very many events. I know she was at the last board meeting and spoke in favor SOC, but it begs the question of strategy here. She got a good chunk of the votes the last time she ran against Dr. Blackburn. Can’t count her out just yet.
Dr. Lew Blackburn: The only sitting trustee running for reelection this cycle. He’s been in the D5 seat since 2001. He rounded out his opening statement with “We have to make sure Dallas ISD it can be.”Everyone agreed. I was certainly on board. Asked about SOC and his leadership style, Trustee Blackburn says that he “responds to the call.” This is to say that he reacts to issues brought to him by constituents. This will be the central issue of the election for D5. He says that he is trying to push the money to improve SOC up to $70 million without going so far as to say he wants to build a brand new school like the community has been asking for. He then said that there’s no such thing as promises in school board politics. Loved the strategy. He wrapped it up with the “We have SOC, but we also have New Tech High School and Townview.” Dr. Blackburn showed a little extra life at the end in response to a Resendez comment about “not seeing color.” Blackburn urged Resendez and the rest of the room to “please don’t discount [his] blackness,” receiving applause from fellow Trustees Nutall and Foreman. Couldn’t agree more. Dr. Blackburn also mentioned that his relationships with city councilmembers helps him be better as a trustee.
Marquis Hawkins: The other challenger in the race for D5 begins with a story from the volunteering and mentorship work he does regularly in D5 schools. “We have defaulted on a promise to our kids...our kids can’t wait 3 more years” was how it ended and got the first applause of the night. The SOC question was answered by Hawkins in direct response to Blackburn’s “I heard the call” response. The challenger asked “how did we let it get to this point? Why are [the SOC students] when we’ve had 2 bonds already?” He explicitly says “I’m for a new school” for SOC. He finishes with “I’m going to be an active trustee. I’m not going to wait until schools crumble.” He also said that he’s for community schools and earned applause by drawing attention to the 3300 homeless students DISD has. Dr. Blackburn made sure the crowd knows that “DISD can’t do everything.”
Audrey Pinkerton: She’s a DISD parent with students having attended Harry Stone, Travis, and Booker T. Washington (***Thanks Amy for the correction***), and she comes off as very focused on this race. I’ve been seeing her signs for over a month now and Faz is starting to catch up in terms of visibility. Her recipe for success for students is great teachers, strong principals, engaged parents, and community support. Makes sense to me! She echoed support for D5 candidate Hawkins’ support for community schools and thinks focusing on prevention and partnering with groups like Girls, Inc. is the solution to teen pregnancy in 75212.
Isaac Faz: Faz seemed to focus on the message of bringing everyone together. Like Resendez and Omar, Faz used a little Spanish to showcase his bilingual credentials and filled his responses with stories of immigrants, grandmothers, and sometimes immigrant grandmothers which pulled at the heartstrings of at least some of the folks in attendance. When asked about high teen pregnancy in 75212 he said letting the girls know that their lives weren’t over and bringing daycare into our schools would be part of the solution.
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Dallas ISD Elections 2016
Dallas ISD Elections 2016: Suzanne Smith - D2
Dallas ISD Elections 2016: Dustin Marshall - D2
Dallas ISD Elections 2016: Dr. Lew Blackburn - D5