Most of our local state senators have been around since flannel shirts and Doc Martens were in style. Chris Harris (District 9) has been in office for 17 years. Florence Shapiro (District 8) and Royce West (District 23) both have 15 years under their belts. John Carona (District 16)—12 years. Only Bob Deuell (District 2) is a relative newcomer, with five years in Austin. With that in mind, it’s high time for some new blood in the Senate, and we have the perfect suggestion.

Dr. Cathy Bryce has decided to retire as the Highland Park ISD superintendent. She should get her name on the ballot.

Beginning her career as an English teacher in 1975, Bryce made a name for herself in a number of administrative roles before being named superintendent of schools at Highland Park ISD in 2001. At HPISD, Bryce earned a reputation for being a champion of fair school finance policies. Recognizing her expertise, State Rep. Dan Branch has regularly consulted with her on matters related to school funding and district accountability.

Under her leadership, HPISD has maintained a near zero percent dropout rate, and the district has seen significant improvement in student achievement to the tune of a district-wide nine-percent increase in the number of students passing the TAKS test since 2003. The Highland Park community recently demonstrated confidence in her able leadership by overwhelmingly approving a $75.4 million bond measure for district improvements. Again and again, in both her work and community service efforts, she has shown herself more than capable of communicating her vision and uniting people to work toward common goals. Both skills would serve Bryce well while navigating the sometimes choppy waters of state politics.

In short, we think Bryce’s boots-on-the-ground understanding of the challenges posed by state-funded public education makes her a perfect fit for the state Senate. And with Shapiro eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated if Kay Bailey Hutchison decides to pursue the governorship, the timing might be perfect.