“I believe our community wants a stronger (LISD) board. I believe the community would benefit in seeing the differences between me and my opponent, and what a candidate like me could bring to the table,” said former Double Oak Councilman Tracy Scott Miller.
Miller, a Client Partner for a leading business transformation company which services Fortune 100 technology and telecommunications companies, is running for Place 7 on the Lewisville Independent School District Board of Trustees.
“My job is a global position where I have had the opportunity to engage the global workforce,” he said during a recent interview at my home. Miller, married and the father of two, feels that his education, business experience and record of public service would be a major asset to the school board. “There is a combination here of three things that need to come together. Kids need access to information, and they have access like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and many times they receive information before the teachers do. But, it’s the combination of the digital learning, the curriculum, and what’s called the demagogy of the science of education, rather than the cookie-cutter design of Common Core, for example,” he added.
“I could have run for the Place 6 seat, but initially, Mike McDaniel had filed for the seat (McDaniel subsequently decided not to run for reelection). I was not going to run against Mike, since he has tried to create a stronger board. Ideologically, I tend to agree with him on issues, but I disagree with my opponent.”
Transparency is an issue that Miller believes should be a goal of all elected officials. “When I say transparency, I’m not implying that anybody is not doing that. However, I could give you some examples when the public was given information that I think was crafted. I am going to be a person that asks a lot of questions, just as I did on the Double Oak Council. I am naturally inquisitive. I will do a lot of homework. When you look at what happens at a Board meeting, there is very little dialogue. We’ve gone back and analyzed the dissenting votes in the last four years and there are very few. I think McDaniel had the most.”
Evidently, Tracy believes that the board must be more proactive. “What usually happens is that everyone just goes along with the agenda item; very little discussion, sometimes just going along with the Superintendent. I just think that as board members we should ask questions in public that the public wants us to ask and let the public hear our deliberations. I realize that we are not required to let the public hear our deliberations, but I’m not in that camp because I am making a decision based on what I am hearing from people. When people are coming before the board with sincere concerns, whether it is about device safety, project based learning, or removing one of the social studies, that a House Bill allows, we need to respond to those families. You can allow for discussion by signing up for an agenda item that provides for these discussions between the board and the individual.”
I asked Miller to explain the Strategic Design Plan, which had been approved by the LISD Board of Trustees in June 2012. “Essentially, it’s a framework or a construct of a strategy around how the district is managed, how we engage our teachers, our students, and our families and the core beliefs and goals around education.” When asked how we can take the goals of Strategic Design and make them measureable against student achievement and student engagement, he said: “I think it puts a structure around our education, and when you look at the goals we have; creating a safe, nurturing environment, create an engaging environment for our students and impacting the assessments for readiness for those high stakes testing, you can see a lot of what is in many districts around the country. When you look at Strategic Design you hear about creating lifelong learners. It is a way to communicate in a framework, but not a way that we can measure, so it’s certainly not unique. There are many schools, like Coppell, that have a high performance school consortium. Engage, project-based learning, digital learning, there’s not a lot that’s new in that as it relates to this prospective or on a national level.”
Miller says, on a local level within the district, the biggest issue facing educators today is teacher disengagement. “How does a teacher know if she/he is successful as an educator? Do they know how they will be measured? What’s happened is that many teachers are overwhelmed right now. Many of them are out of the classroom working on Strategic Design, curriculum development, receiving training with the Star program, and learning how to administer the tests. They don’t have a clear definition of how to be successful at their job. I think engagement means that teachers understand what their measurement of success is in the education process. Moreover, it can’t be Strategic Design alone; there must be parental input as well.”
Tracy Scott Miller appears to be a very serious and studious advocate of education. Almost professorial in his demeanor, Miller looks and speaks like someone who does more than due diligence to every task he undertakes. He would be a worthy opponent for anyone, at any level of academia.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.