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Meet the Candidates – Lewisville ISD

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Places 1 and 2 on the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees will be up for re-election this May.

Three candidates have filed for Place 1 with two vying for the Place 2 seat, though one has indicated he will not be actively seeking election to the seat.

Roger Myers submitted notification that he did not intend to run against incumbent Trisha Sheffield but it was not notarized in time to be removed from the ballot.

Early voting begins on April 27 for the May 9 municipal and school board elections across southern Denton County.  The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate in a contested race to answer a short questionnaire to help you make an informed decision at the polls.  Here are their responses:

Lewisville ISD – Place 1:

Kathy Duke

Age:
 47

Current Occupation: 
Insurance Agent – Property Casualty

Education: 
Bachelors Degree from UNT

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?: 
Treitsch First United Methodist Church; Communities in Schools of N TX board and incoming President, Flower Mound Rotary Club, Lewisville Chamber of Commerce, Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce, United Way Mental Health Committee, PTA member.  I have served other boards in the past and still support – YMCA, PediPlace, Youth and Family Counseling, Lewisville Education Foundation, LISD Bond Oversight Committee, City of Lewisville Board of Adjustment, Women Business owners of Denton County, NAWBO, JDRF, American Diabetes Association, Various committees within Treitsch, Past Chairman of Flower Mound Chamber, FM Rotary Past President, Southern Denton County Neighbor to Neighbor, Heros of Denton County and various Booster clubs in LISD.

Why should you be re-elected?
 “My desire to run again is based on my unwavering support for educating the children of our community”  “Never before have the budgetary challenges to our schools been greater than today, so I do believe this is the time we can’t afford to entrust the board to anyone other than a fiscally conservative and experienced advocate for our children”.   I represent all of our students.  I want to be a voice for them all no matter where they live or attend school.  I have been and will continue to represent and support all of our staff.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? 
Any issues have to be resolved by the entire board.  One board member does not make changes alone.  It is a board of 7.  Our board has budgetary concerns.  We have to continue to work with our Administration to review everything and make the best fiscally responsible decisions.  We have to continue to advocate with our Legislatures about local control in our district and return funding to our district and our students where it belongs.  We have to continue to look at the diversity in our district.  It is imperative to remember that EVERY child is different.  We must educate them all, serve them all and help them become our future leaders.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
www.facebook.com/kathyduke4lisd

Mary Smith

Age:
 47

Current Occupation: 
Lab Assistant / Phlebotomist

Education:
 B.A. Biblical Theology Dallas Christian College, Masters of Art in Christian Ministry at Dallas Baptist University (in progress)

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? 
New Beginning Church, Lewisville Industrial Development Corporation Place No. 2, Lewisville Housing Finance Corporation Place 4 and CCA volunteer

Why should you be elected?
 One my greatest strength is my ability to find communality between different parties and bring them together to work as one.   My deep passion for education is to present every student with every opportunity to succeed and be equipped for life ahead.  I am determined to deconstruct road blocks to allow open communication amongst, teachers, parents and administrative officials to work in unison in the interest of the students.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? 
The one challenge that I see is transparency between the parents in the district. In order to resolve this we need to create more opportunities to make parents aware of what is transpiring within the district.  I am aware that baby steps needs to be taken in order to accomplish transparency on a consistent basis.

Website/Facebook or Email:
 facebook.com/MarySmithPlace6

Kronda Thimesch 

Age: 
47

Current Occupation: 
Co-Owner of Green Meadows Landscaping

Education: 
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Texas Tech University

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?
 We have been members of Bent Tree Fellowship for 19 years. In leadership roles, I am currently serving as Vice President of Fundraising for the Hebron Football Booster Club, and was appointed by the Lewisville ISD Board to serve on the LISD Bond Oversight Committee, where I help supervise the administration and disbursement of the 2008 Bond Package. Other LISD service includes Rockbrook Elementary Mentorship Program, the Hebron High Building Leadership Team, and membership in the Killian MS PTA and Hebron HS PTSA. Outside of LISD, I am presently the Chair of the Castle Hills Grant Foundation, a member of the Flower Mound and Lewisville Chambers of Commerce, Women of Flower Mound, and I volunteer with my family at Operation Kindness.

Why should you be elected? 
Very simply, I feel called to take the next step in my service to Lewisville ISD. I have lived in three different feeder patterns in the district, raising four children in LISD schools, and have had a front-row seat to the progression of the district over the last 25 years. I feel that I can bring my experience as an employer, civic leader and school supporter to help LISD shine in every capacity. My husband and I attended public schools, and I am raising my children in public schools, and I feel it is my turn to give back to public schools.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them?

The issue that I believe our school board and superintendent aren’t addressing which is critical to LISD’s future success is our lack of systems and standards. We have allowed site-based control for so long, and it was “just the way it was always done”… but there must be some level of standardization.  Families have the right to expect high standards on every campus. Homeowners have the right to expect strong property values in every community.  Parents have the right to understand what the curricula will be, and students have the right to expect to have an equitable experience no matter what elementary, middle or high school they attend.  We can and should continue to hire and support strong principals who can lead as the “chief education officer” on his or her campus — but we must remember that each campus is one star in the LISD constellation, and all must shine together.

Website/Facebook or Email: 
www.KrondaLISD.com 

Lewisville ISD – Place 2:

Trisha Sheffield

Age:
 45

Current Occupation: 
Community Volunteer/Copywriter

Education: 
B.B.A. Marketing/Management – Texas A&M University; Secondary Teacher
Certification – University of Texas at Dallas

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?: 
First Baptist Church Carrollton, North Dallas-Hebron Area Alumnae Panhellenic, Speak Up for Texas Public Schools, Lewisville ISD Education Foundation; North Texas Area Association of School Boards, Hebron High School PTSA, Hebron Choir Booster Club, Hebron Cross Country/Track Booster Club

Why should you be re-elected? 
While there will be another person listed on the ballot for Place 2, he has withdrawn from the campaign (technical error required his name still be listed) and does not wish to serve on the School Board. However, although I am unchallenged for this position, I still believe I am the right person for the job.  Our Board and District has seen tremendous change in the last three years.  Although we have much to celebrate, we also have some challenges and areas that need improvement.  We are taking steps to evaluate major program areas and initiatives and focus on student achievement, and I think my input and leadership still are important to these tasks.  This, too, is a time of transition for our district as we search for a new superintendent, and maintaining strong leadership in the boardroom is important. In serving this past year as President of the Board of Trustees, I have worked hard to create a culture of collaboration that opens the door to communication, builds a positive climate, and establishes an ongoing dialogue focused on excellence and achievement.  While the work has not been mine alone, I do believe my leadership has helped shift the culture and broaden the conversation around the work we do in LISD.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them?
 I believe the primary focus of a School Board should be on student achievement.  Lewisville ISD is a high performing school district, and I am proud of the work of our students and teachers.  However, I also believe you have to remain intentional in those efforts in order to realize long-term success.  The students and communities we serve are diverse and ever changing, and we have to be responsive and proactive to shifting demographics.  We want to look at providing additional resources not only to campuses where higher needs exist but also across the district where gaps in staffing have created an undue burden on teachers, programs, and campuses. Although still very early in the budget development process, we currently are looking at an almost $23 million reduction in state funding next school year, which makes the financial forecast a bit uncertain at this point.   While we continue to look for opportunities for savings, there exist some areas outside our control (i.e rising transportation and custodial costs and legislative decisions to eliminate funding the TRS tax) that squeeze our budget. Additionally, we must continue to look at improving processes and systems in LISD to ensure transparency, equity, and efficiency.  The audit and review of various departments and programs has provided a springboard for improvements, and we are reviewing our facilities plan in concert with bond funds to make sure how and why we spend our dollars is meaningful and well-prioritized.  While I do not believe in a “cookie cutter” approach to education, I do believe a district needs to ensure instructional standards are consistent and high in all schools.

Website/Facebook or Email:
 www.sheffieldforlisd.com and www.facebook.com/pages/Trisha-Sheffield-LISD-Board-of-Trustees-Place-2/131314593656166

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