Get to know the candidates running in the election
Incumbent Georgetown ISD, Place 1 Occupation: electrical engineer Relevant experience: taught electrical engineering at Mississippi State, com- puter designer at IBM, volunteer lead- er for UIL chess at McCoy Elementary https:// achs-gisd.com BRIAN FLACHS
Occupation: librarian Relevant experience: public librar- ian for over 25 years and currently the executive director of a nonprot organization serving over 220 public
Occupation: CEO and president of Austin Pallet Co. and Golden Anchor Antifreeze Relevant experience: award-winning business leader with 16 years experi-
libraries across Texas https://ericlashley.com
ence in multiple industries www.jamesforGISD.com
Why are you the best candidate for the position?
Being a father, I am familiar with the GISD district andmy children’s experiences in grades K12. I ameducated in STEM, and I have voluntarily organized theMcCoy chess and UIL team. I believe GISD has fallen behind, and we need to play catchup. I understand our schools need to help 13,000 students with 13,000 dierent aspirations. We need to learn fromother districts and bring the best-of-breed organization, techniques and skills to GISD.
I have a proven record of public service that stretches over 25 years in Georgetown. I served as director of the Georgetown Pub- lic Library for over 20 years. I also served on numerous GISD com- mittees, the board of directors on several nonprot organizations as well as numerous community initiatives throughout the years. As a GISD trustee, I would work to improve communication with our community and build trust with other members of the board.
I have a 16-year history of leading during periods of growth. I have been recognized for these achievements through organizations like the Austin Business Journal. Georgetown needs trustees with experience not just managing growth, but leading at a high level at the same time. Seeing needs before they arise, planning for that which has not happened, and understanding how to pivot while maintaining the cultural identity that make GISD great are skills I will bring to the board.
What GISD project or policy initiative needs to take priority, and why?
Students need to be our rst priority. Across the board our students are being left behind on standardized tests like the PSAT, AP and STAAR. These tests are some of the ways our students are compared with students fromother school districts around the state and the country. We need to develop an environment of high performance in our schools.
My No. 1 focus is to set measurable goals that improve the academic performance of all students. Prior to the COVID19 pandemic, several GISD schools had a grade of D or F by the Texas Education Agency. No GISD school received an A. Teachers are the heart of the learning process and the key to turning around academic performance. GISD needs to have a plan to retain and recruit teachers to the district including appropriate, incremental salary adjustments.
Ensuring our teachers have the resources to reach each kid is one of my top priorities. If we fail to listen to our teachers, we will fail our mission of getting every student to the next step of their lives. I have learned that if you do not listen to your audience’s feedback and align that with what your employee needs to accomplish a goal, you will fall short of expectations.
How will you ensure quality education for all students?
The community should expect me to focus on improvement. Every day we can nd a way to be better. Every way we nd to be better benets our children. I will be available to parents, teachers, administrators and students to work on ideas, listen to problems and nd solutions. We need to work together to reach our goals.
The community can expect me to stay focused on improving academic performance by settingmeasurable goals at the board level. Fortunately, the community has passed bonds to provide adequate facilities tomeet many of our future needs. We have all the elements tomake a high-performing district. We will need the community’s involvement in improving our district. If elected, I will work hard to engage the community to help achieve our goals.
There are two ways to grow as an organization. The rst is reac- tive, letting campuses grow to capacity before responding causing growing pains. The second is proactive, anticipating the path and clearing it for obstacles to growth. Growing pains are caused by managing growth and not leading. I will help lead our district through growth with the same proactive approach I have used to create award-winning businesses.
Georgetown ISD, Place 2
I am currently celebrating my 48th year as an educator. I spent 31 years in public education; I was a curriculum director and an assistant superintendent before becoming a district superintendent. I was superintendent in three states for a total of 17 years. I spent the next 17 years in higher education, serving 10 years as a professor. I was also a dean before retiring in 2021. I feel that this most qualies me to serve GISD. I’ve been active in the Georgetown school community for years, serving currently as the school board president and having previously participated in our citizens advisory, district of innovation, and strategic plan review commit- tees and the education foundation. I’ve been a GISD parent for 14 years and currently have children at three dierent campuses across the district. My experiences as an attorney and Army ocer have given me skillsets to build ef- fective teams and to lead those teams through dicult times such as our schools have faced in recent years. Why are you the best candidate for the position?
GISD needs to re-examine its entire curricu- lum. State test scores from 2017 and forward show that the curriculum is not functioning properly. Assessing the curriculum is the only way to know the eectiveness of what is being taught. To be clear, this is not “teach- ing to the test.” It is not necessary to teach to any test if the total curriculum is aligned and comprehensive in scope. If the curriculum is solid, the testing will take care of itself. ment to developing academically sound, emotionally healthy and self-motivated life- long learners must continue to take priority. One project underway that will enable us to track progress toward these goals is the community-based accountability system, which takes into account student progress and growth measures that matter most to our community. Our students must be prepared for whatever path they take in life. Our district’s commit- What GISD project or policy initiative needs to take priority, and why?
Quality education is a moral obligation that every community deserves. In order to ensure that quality, there needs to be a laser-like focus on targeted goals from the trustees. Trustees should exhibit account- ability, transparency, fairness and a positive culture of trust so that GISD teachers and future stakeholders feel they have a place at the table. We have lost too many ne teach- ers already, and we will lose more if issues are not addressed immediately. Proactive and intentional increases in sta, resources, and facilities. More students will enroll in the district next year, and more the year after that, with no end in sight. The dis- trict must plan accordingly and be ready to welcome these students and provide them with every opportunity to excel. Planning ahead for the future allows us to forecast budgetary needs and to ask the community to approve bonds to build the capacity need- ed in the coming years without being forced to retroactively grapple with overcrowding and understang. How will you ensure quality education for all students?
Occupation: retired professor Relevant experience: career educator, 31 ALLEN BROWN
years in K-12, 10 years in classroom, 17 years as school superinten- dent, 17 years in higher education, 10
years as professor, dean email@example.com
Occupation: attorney Relevant experience: business owner, veteran, community volunteer, parent elizabeth.a.mcfarland@ gmail.com
Answers may have been edited for length, style and clarity. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com .
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