Education Forum With TEDxSMU and D Magazine

I’ve mentioned the school board races that are taking place May 12. We’re hosting an education forum with TEDxSMU at the Kessler Theater. All eight candidates have agreed to attend. We’ll pull one question from a hat for each of the candidates. They’ll each get three minutes to answer. And then they’ll mingle and answer any other questions you have. Go here to register.

We want people to be educated before they go vote. (Your vote can make a difference–it takes just 259 votes to win a school board race.) A position on the school board is not easy–it’s a district with a $1.5 billion budget, 157,000 kids (68 percent of which graduate in 4 years). After the jump, you’ll see short bios on each of the candidates. Do your homework, come to the Kessler, go vote. (Stats taken from Dallas Kids First.)

All profiles written by Michelle Saunders.

District 1 Candidates

Roland Love

Occupation: Attorney

Roland Love, a Dallas native, graduated from Bryan Adams High School, and credits his success in college and his career to the education he received from teachers in DISD schools. Today, however, he identifies DISD as Dallas’ single greatest weakness, and says he will use his background in law to improve the district, specifically in the areas of finance and negotiation. If elected, he wants to see principals who focus on the students and work with teachers to engage students. He says that there are many ways DISD can save money and would support policies to review financial practices and the administration to find deficiencies and eliminate redundancies.

Michael Greenberg, Ph.D.

Occupation: Director of PMO at software maker RealPage

A Dallas native, and father of a kindergartner enrolled in DISD, Michael Greenberg says that DISD has three main problems threatening it–communication, personnel, and a failed record of implementing public policy. If elected, he will focus on correcting these three issues, which he says are issues expressed directly from voters and citizens. He claims that taxpayers are not being listened to and he wants to help bring DISD from being primarily focused on administration to being focused on campuses, teachers, students, and taxpayers.

Greenberg is backed by power couple former Dallas mayor Laura Miller and former Texas State Representative Steven Wolens, and has an endorsement from Alliance—AFT.

Jennifer Levy

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom, registered nurse

Jennifer Levy, mother of three, has a daughter with autism, which she says led her to close examination of public education and learning methods. She says that her career in both public and professional education while a nurse administrator, as well as her current job as a stay-at-home mother, lend her a unique perspective. Levy’s first priority, if elected, would be to ensure that DISD has strong leadership at each local campus–with stronger accountability among DISD administrators and staff. She plans to focus on engaging the community by helping voters who may not have school-age children to understand that the impact of DISD goes beyond just the education of children.

Elizabeth Jones

Occupation: Visiting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management, co-founder and associate director of the Center for Finance Strategy Innovation

Elizabeth Jones is a visiting professor at UTD’s School of Management, and co-founder and associate director of the school’s Center for Finance Strategy Innovation. She recently helped redraw Dallas’ council districts. Jones says that all DISD students can have a successful college experience and career if they are well-trained in their primary and secondary careers. She supports policies that hold the superintendent and the administrators accountable for delivering performance-based results. Jones says that she supports increasing learning technology and resources that enable problem-solving, creative thinking, and critical analysis. She would call for an in-depth analysis of the budget. Jones is endorsed by EducateDallas, MetroTex, NEA, TREC, and Ebby Halliday Acers, who is serving as her campaign treasurer.

District 3 Candidates

Dan Micciche

Occupation: attorney

Dan Micciche was the first of his family to graduate from college. In 2005, he organized a partnership between his law firm and Ross Avenue’s James W. Fannin Elementary. Over the past seven years, his firm has provided support through mentoring, tutoring, and working with the school to provide supplies, and clothing. In 2009 the school achieved exemplary status, which Micciche says inspired him to run for school board election this year. As a business lawyer and partner in charge of hiring, Micciche says he offers experience with budgets, financial statements, spreadsheets, human resources, and employee relations. Due to his experience at Fannin, he says he would support policies that promote parental engagement and community participation.

Micciche is endorsed by EducateDallas, DallasKidsFirst, TREC, and MetroTex.

Bruce Parrott

Occupation: retired small business owner

A self—professed “home—grown” Dallas native, Bruce Parrott and both of his children graduated from Bryan Adams High School.

Parrott says that DISD has good teachers and schools, but not enough good teachers in place. He supports a revamp of the district’s human resources department, an area that he says is rampant with problems. A strong supporter of budget reform, Parrott created the Citizen’s Budget Review Committee to help hold the administration accountable for its expenditures. Parrott’s committee was turned down twice by the superintendent but after bringing it before the board, it was voted on and implemented. His primary endorsers are the NEA and Alliance—AFT.

District 9 Candidates

Bernadette Nutall

Occupation: executive director of Circle of Support

Bernadette Nutall says she is running for re-election because the future of Dallas children has always been her passion. She says that the two most important aspects of the education system are 1) who educates our children and 2) how they are educated. To that end, she is currently working on a new educational staff evaluation system.  She says she also wants to see the curriculum updated. An advocate for re-evaluation of current DISD systems and processes, Nutall wants to see more efficient, student-focused techniques in place. She is endorsed by TREC, MetroTex, NEA, EducateDallas, DallasKidsFirst, and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

Damarcus Offord

Occupation: Student

As a 2011 Lincoln High graduate, 20-year-old Damarcus Offord says that the current board members are not giving the community the answers that it deserves and it is his goal to be a voice for the community.  He says he repeatedly hears that the current board members have not given the teachers the resources they need, and that he is concerned about the 11 recently closed DISD schools, five of which are in his district. He is endorsed by Alliance-AFT, former Dallas City Council member Dr. Maxine Thornton-Reese, retired Texas State Representative Harryette Ehrhardt, and singer Erykah Badu.

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