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Meet the Candidates – Argyle ISD

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2015 Argyle ISD board of trustees candidates
2015 Argyle ISD board of trustees candidates

Two at-large seats on the Argyle ISD board of trustees are up for re-election, drawing a new slate of candidates when board president Eric Fields and board vice president Spencer Jefferies opted not to file for re-election.

One candidate on the ballot, Matthew Slaton, has since opted not to actively seek office.

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:

Argyle ISD Board of Trustees – At Large Seats

Kellye Baum

Age: 47

Current Occupation: 1st Grade Teacher in Denton ISD

Education: Bachelor of Science in Education from Texas Tech University

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? St Laurence Church, Southlake, TX

Why should you be elected?
I would love to the serve the students and faculty members of Argyle ISD, and I will provide a unique insight that will be beneficial to the board and our district for I am an educator as well as an Argyle mom. I have been involved in education most of my life.   As a teacher in both public and private schools since 1991, I have been employed by HEB ISD, Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, Keller ISD, and Denton ISD and have taught Pre-K, 1st grade, 3rd grade, and 5th grade.  My children have attended Argyle Intermediate School and Argyle Middle School and currently attend Argyle High School, participating in various academic and athletic activities. They also have attended public schools in Keller ISD and Westlake Academy as well as a private school in England.

In each of these schools, I have observed various strengths and weaknesses that have given me insight into best practices. Furthermore, my experience as a teacher and as a parent in a variety of academic settings will be an asset as the board sets priorities within budgetary realities. Having a diverse school board that represents our student population and our families is important, and as a woman on the school board, I will bring diversity and an important perspective to the board.  I have the best interests of ALL the students in Argyle ISD at heart, and I want to do everything I can to support the work of the teachers and administrators to help ALL of our children attain their maximum potential.

My children are nearing the end of their educational careers in Argyle ISD as our son is graduating in June and our daughter will be a junior in the fall. I will be able to devote the time and the objectivity necessary for good decision making and will provide transparency to our taxpayers; these traits are of utmost importance when serving the public.  I would be honored to be elected to the school board in order to serve our community and our next generation of students.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? Managing our growth while maintaining and even exceeding our current level of achievement as well as continuing to offer more opportunities for students should be our focus in Argyle ISD.  The expectation of excellence is what sets us apart from most school districts.  We must ensure that this expectation is supported in academics, in athletics, and in all activities.

Every child needs to have a place to fit in and be supported to reach his or her fullest potential, and we must ensure that we are doing everything possible to provide rich opportunities for every student.  We must continue to recruit and retain the best teachers, coaches and administrators.  We must add electives and core courses to meet the demands of the new graduation paths for the class of 2018 and beyond.

Also, we must meet the technological demands of the future so our children are prepared for college and the world beyond.  In addition, our school district must plan for future growth.  Because we are a growing community, we must work closely with the town council in order to address the impact of community growth on our schools. If the town council and school board work together, we can be proactive with regard to staffing and facilities.  We always must strive for continuous improvement while managing our tax dollars wisely. When our schools, community, and school board work together, we can continue to be the best that we can be.

Jeff Day

Current Occupation: Pediatrician

Education: University of Texas, Austin-BA Biology 1993; University of Texas HSC-Houston-M.D. 1998

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Member- Cross Timbers Community Church

Why should you be elected? I think most people move to Argyle for the small town feel and the great schools that it provides for its citizens.  When I completed my residency, my family and I moved back to this area.  I am a pediatrician and I have cared for children in this community for the last 14 years.  My family has lived in Argyle for 11 years.   My wife Jennifer and I have two kids at Argyle High (Monte and Gretchen) and one at Hilltop Elementary (Brooks). We have thoroughly enjoyed the school system and all three kids have reaped its benefits.

My career as a physician has sharpened not only my decision making skills but also my listening abilities. I will research the pros and cons of issues in order to make educated, informed decisions. My entire educational experience from kindergarten through medical school was in the public system and I have thrived because of it.  I think that it is time for me to give back and have therefore submitted my candidacy.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them?
The next several years are a critical time period as our quaint little district will experience exponential growth.  It is imperative that the board and superintendent guide this transition in a punctual and fiscally responsible manner that maintains the academic and athletic excellence that we have become accustomed to.  This is a tall order.  I have the acumen necessary to dissect the issues (whether fiscal issues, personnel issues, or educational policies) to help insure that the growth is smart and productive.

Website/Facebook or Email:
www.facebook.com/pages/Elect-Jeffrey-L-Day-Argyle-ISD-Board-of-Trustees/892285424167413

Randy McKellar

Age: 58

Current Occupation: Consultant/Writer

Education:
Bachelor of Science – Computer Science, Bachelor of Arts – Mathematics

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Methodist church, SAR – Sons of the American Revolution; volunteer with AHS Marching Band

Why should you be elected? In order to function properly as an oversight and advisory board, the school board needs both new members and experienced members.  It needs perspectives of those who currently have children in the district and of those whose children have graduated.

I have served on the board in the past, helped to plan for new buildings, student growth, and for the push for excellence in our academic, arts, and athletic programs.  I have served as board secretary and board president, so I understand the process, the legal limitations, and the importance of a cooperative relationship with the administration and teaching staff.  The Argyle board needs another experienced board member to help the need for change and growth with continuing excellence for every student at every grade level.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? The main challenge facing Argyle ISD is maintaining and strengthening our character and our commitment to providing the best possible educational environment for our students.  As we continue to grow over the next 3 years, the board will choose where and how to invest our tax dollars, expand staff and programs.  Those decisions must always be open to the public and must always be focused on improving the quality of the educational environment.

I would help to resolve them by helping the board to remain independent, asking questions of the administration and staff in a way that is supportive, but also analytical, looking for innovation, but also acknowledging the current strengths of our programs and our staff.  The administration needs a board that supports the mission and the staff in a way that encourages a commitment to excellence, a commitment to service, and a commitment to the success and well-being of every student.

Website/Facebook or Email: randy@rsmckellar.net

Mark Miracle

Age: 44

Current Occupation: Owner/Partner for Enterprise Medical Management

Education: Bachelors in Zoology from Texas Tech University; MBA from West Texas A&M University

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?
I attend Crossroads Bible Church in Double Oak and Co-lead a Men’s Discipleship Group. I have lived in Argyle since May 2012 after expanding my company to the DFW area. I have been an active Board Member of the Argyle Band Booster Club, serving as President in 2013-2014 school year.

I have a long history of service on boards such as Worth the Wait, March of Dimes, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, and Reach Out and Read Program.  Each of these programs strive to improve communities by impacting the lives of people through education, outreach, collaboration to create new ideas, medical intervention as necessary, and placing resources in the hands of people to influence change.

Why should you be elected? I believe I am gifted in service to others.  I have developed businesses in both the For Profit and Not for Profit environments.  I want to be a part of the Community Development of Argyle to influence change and progressive growth, while salvaging the rural community aspect of Argyle. Education is a key component to the success of any community.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them?  Argyle is faced with rapid development in a limited geographic boundary.  The rural heritage of Argyle draws families that desire preservation of that heritage while seeking the best in education, music and athletics.  Argyle is challenged with maintaining that heritage, keeping pace with the increasing growth, and providing an exemplary education foundation for each student while encouraging each student’s individuality.

Jennifer Timmons

Age: 42

Current Occupation: Accountant / Internal Auditor

Education: Master of Science in Accounting

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Member of Reunion Church in Dallas

Why should you be elected? I have lived in Argyle for almost five years with my husband and four children, all of which attend Argyle schools.  I am a small business owner whose focus is helping clients manage the risk of misstatement to their financials and fraud within their business through the internal audit process.  I help clients develop policies and procedures to improve their business operations and perform audits to ensure those policies are being followed.  But more important than all of this, I am a Christian.  That doesn’t mean I’m perfect.  It means I trust in the One who is perfect.  My faith in God guides my decisions as a parent, a business owner and as a citizen of this community.  It gives me hope for the future but it also gives me the courage to stand up.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? I believe the actions of our current administration demonstrate a lack of integrity, which I have witnessed first-hand through multiple grievance hearings in front of the school board. The rules and laws that govern school districts are designed to protect the district, not the students. When you have administrators whose main priority is winning and not the safety and education of our children, you have a recipe for disaster. Knowing what I know, I cannot sit idly by. If I am willing to speak out, then I have to be willing to stand up and help.  That is why I am running for school board!

As a result of the grievances our family has filed, the current board has implemented several changes: New policy within the athletic department for disseminating medical restrictions to ensure all members of the coaching staff are aware of and understand athletes’ limitations; New policy within the athletic department for consulting with athletes’ parents and their medical providers to define and clarify medical restrictions where necessary; A safety committee will be appointed by the board with parental representation from each campus that will report directly to the board on a monthly basis regarding safety issues and concerns, and; Cameras will be placed in the weight rooms. I already have a proven track record of affecting change within this district with the goal of ensuring the safety of our students. And that is why I should be elected!

Keith White

Age: 45

Current Occupation: Certified Public Accountant

Education: Bachelor of Accountancy, University of Oklahoma, 1991

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Argyle United Methodist Church

Why should you be elected? What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? My family and I moved to Argyle three years ago after living in Coppell for almost 20 years.  Coppell was a great school district but we experienced many growing pains as it grew from a school district the size of Argyle to a large 6A school.  Lisa and I researched school districts within a 200 mile radius of DFW as we own a small company and could relocate fairly easily.  We were impressed with the academic and extracurricular achievements of the students at Argyle at all levels.  We were even more impressed when we came out and met some of the people.  Argyle is a great community with parents who want their kids to succeed in all facets of life.  The school district is a critical part of that success.

I have a sophomore daughter Allison and an eighth grade son Brandon.  They both love it here.  My wife Lisa is active with the Argyle Education Foundation and the annual Shoot for the Stars event.  As for the school district, I don’t have any particular agenda.  I simply want to maintain the high standards of Argyle ISD as new families move here for the same reason we did.  According to a demographic study, the district is expected to double in student population in the next 6 years.

The current Board has done a great job of passing a bond package and has an excellent plan for facilities to handle that growth.  Now we need to prepare the other facets for the growth.  We will need to add excellent teachers to maintain the academic standards and also extracurricular activities so all students can participate.  From our experience in Coppell it is critical to keep all students engaged in academics and some type of extracurricular activity if they wish.

I am a CPA and have worked for a Big 4 accounting firm, public and private companies as their chief financial officer and finally settled on becoming an entrepreneur with my own dental consulting firm several years ago.  Therefore, I have been in all sizes of organizations.  Lisa and I manage our business out of our house.  We both want to do what we can to give back to the community, our church and school district.  We are both open to any ideas or concerns you may have so please feel free to contact either of us.

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