Voters in Hays County to decide school board members in May election

Two seats are up for grabs on the Dripping Springs school board, where four candidates are vying for the chance to serve – one incumbent and three newcomers.

The elected administrators do not represent the regions, but are rather general. Each director serves three years. Early voting begins Monday and ends May 3. Election day is May 7. The first two voters will be elected.

The ballot includes school board member Joanna Day, as well as candidates Olivia Barnard, Thaddeus Fortenberry and Tricia Quintero.

Joanna day

Day, who was first elected in 2019, is seeking a second term and said she hopes to continue working to provide quality education for students led by teachers and staff.

Day, 46, said she spent her first term struggling with multifaceted district issues, including responsible budget planning, rapid growth and teacher retention.

Prior to serving on the Board of Directors, Day was active on the District’s Long Range Planning and Bonds Steering Committee, in addition to being a member of the PTA. She has lived in the neighborhood for more than seven years.

“I have a deep understanding of the complex challenges facing (the school district) and I am committed to meeting them head-on,” she said.

She said she plans to continue to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

“As an administrator, I’ve advocated for policies that allow teachers to communicate issues and get support,” Day said. “I voted in favor of creating additional positions to help teachers in the classroom. Last but not least, I insisted that salaries and benefits remain competitive. I will continue to advocate for a healthy and supportive culture for our educators, as well as higher pay.

But Day said his work doesn’t stop there. She said the district is facing rapid growth and it is imperative that it manage growth in a fiscally conservative manner that meets the needs of current and future student populations.

Thaddee Fortenberry

Fortenberry, 54, said her goal is to give all students the opportunity to learn, grow and be well equipped for the next phases of their lives.

The school district is growing at a rapid pace. While that comes with some complications, it also gives the district the ability to deliver “fantastic student programs,” he said. However, to achieve this, the district will need to manage budgets, meet facility requirements, listen to and support staff members, he said.

If elected, Fortenberry said, he will propose creating a monthly method of reporting district employee satisfaction, as well as prioritizing a long-term facility expansion plan and schedule of related obligations. . It will also work to support science, technology, engineering, math and arts programs.

“I believe in the power of public education,” Fortenberry said. “Success in the school system results in graduates who can write, think and imagine beyond their own experiences. I bring a fresh perspective with real business experience to the school board.”

Olivia Barnard

Barnard, 45, said since coming to the district in 2014, she’s seen it grow and prosper, and she hopes to continue those efforts as a school board member.

“I have concerns and see areas for improvement, and I’m looking forward and excited to represent our community and work on it,” she said. “I believe in public education. I want every child to have an amazing experience that prepares them for the world. …As a community, it is our responsibility to provide the strongest and most exceptional educational experience possible for our students, their families, and our educators.

She said if elected she planned to tackle a range of issues, including staffing shortages and public transparency. She also promises to maintain fiscal responsibility while keeping in mind the need to accommodate growth.

She said staffing is the most pressing issue and she hopes to learn more about how to reduce turnover, including more help for overworked and overworked teachers.

“I would like to see us focus on high-skilled part-time positions that could allow us to reach more candidates,” Barnard said. “We love our educators; we need our educators. We must support them. »

Bringing 17 years of experience working with home builders and five years in real estate, Barnard said she has hands-on experience working on projects that align well with council duties and can offer a perspective on population growth and trends, a vital skill as the district prepares to meet growing needs.

Tricia Quintero

Quintero has “a personal stake in seeing the school district succeed,” according to his campaign website.

A longtime resident of Hays County and Dripping Springs, she “knows that smart investments are needed to give children the best chance for a bright future. But she also understands that area school districts can better manage their growth,” the website states.

She served as chair of the district’s Facilities and Bonds Oversight Committee, where “she earned a reputation as a thoughtful leader and passionate advocate for students and taxpayers,” the website says.

“This experience, and others, cultivated a passion for servant leadership and smart governance,” its website says. “She aspires to put those qualities to work for the Dripping Springs School Board because we can do better. We should do better. We must do better.

San Marcos School District

A two-way race for the District 4 seat on the San Marcos School Board is underway as voters prepare to select a new representative to replace longtime board member Kathy Hansen, who is not seeking re-election. .

The race is between Gabrielle Moore, 53, and Brian K. Shanks, 52.

Gabrielle Moore

Moore, who has lived in the district for 17 years, said she felt compelled to step up to support children’s access to a thriving public education system.

She said teacher retention has dropped significantly due to intense teaching pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its main objective is to retain teachers by offering them competitive salaries and strong administrative support.

Moore said she also plans to address fiscal issues facing the district by pushing for policy changes at the state level and advocating for better education funding bills at the state level. ‘Legislative Assembly.

She said she can offer knowledge of public policy, having served as the city’s planning and zoning commissioner, a member of the school health advisory committee and a member of the city’s bond committee.

“I will use every tool available to support our San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District, its staff, and most importantly, our students and our future,” Moore said.

Brian K. Shanks

If elected, Shanks said, he will strive to build relationships and trust with fellow board members, the superintendent, staff, teachers and the community.

“I want to work on bridging the gap between the school board and the community by hosting school board meetings at different schools in the district,” Shanks said. “The hope would be to give better access to parents and concerned community members.”

It also plans to address issues of poor performance on campus by giving the superintendent the support he needs and prioritizing funding for scholars, he said.

Shanks, who has lived in the district for 21 years, has served in the Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard and Army National Guard. He has worked for 20 years in higher education, where he collaborated with professors on the use of technology in the classroom, classroom management and the integration of technology into the curriculum.