Meet the Candidates: Denton ISD

Place 1 trustee Dr. Curtis Ramsey is retiring at the end of his term this month and his seat has attracted retired teacher Barbara Burns and active parent Sheryl English.

Dr. Jeanetta Smith is running unopposed in Place 2.  Smith was first appointed to the board in October 2006 to fill the unexpired term for Place 2, which was vacated when her husband, Dr. Sterling Smith, died.

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:

Denton ISD – Place 1

Barbara Burns

Age: 57

City/Town of Residence:  Denton

Current Occupation:  Retired teacher

Education: B.A., Texas Woman’s University—history and secondary education with a minor in English M.A., Texas Woman’s University—history with a minor in government

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? League of Women Voters of Denton, recipient of Gladys Barstis Award, 2011, for outstanding service to the League of Women Voters of Denton board of directors, Deputy Voter Registrar. Denton ISD: member of  1996 and 2007 bond committees, member of Bond Progress Committee. Have attended 98% of DISD board meetings over the past 7 years. Kiwanis program chair (provided a program for weekly meetings)  board of directors Denton Area Retired School Personnel Association (DARSPA), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Denton Chamber of Commerce, Member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Why should you be elected? I am a well-rounded candidate.  My three children attended and graduated from Denton schools.  I was a high school social studies teacher for 28 years, the last 20 in Denton.  I have been actively involved in various community and school activities, including serving on district bond committees and attending 98% of school board meetings in the past seven years.  My unique experience has given me the opportunity to understand the needs and issues of an individual child, the challenges and rewards of a classroom teacher, and the achievements and issues of the district.

What are the main challenges facing your district, and how would you resolve them? Budget constraints in a fast-growth district, the state accountability system, and the growing number of economically disadvantaged students are major issues facing the Denton school district. The state has cut funding and does not allow an adequate funding mechanism to provide for quality education. The state has continued to change the state accountability system, making success more difficult for certain groups, such as English Language Learners. The number of economically disadvantaged children in our district continues to grow.  Faced with budget cuts, our district chose to trim but not eliminate programs because different programs positively impact different children.  Our district must continue to work at the state level for adequate funding.  Our district works as a team to help students achieve and must continue to search for innovative ways to reach all students.  Our district also works with the community and through organizations to provide for children in need. We must be efficient with tax dollars and be open to innovative ideas as long as they are good for our students.  Saving money at the expense of quality education is not a savings.  The focus must remain on what is best for all children.

Website:, Twitter:   @barbarakburns, Facebook:

Sheryl English

Age: 48

City/Town of Residence:  Denton

Current Occupation:  Realtor

Education: California State University Domiguez Hills, studied business

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong?  Member of The Bridge Church, Denton. Legislative VP Denton Community PTA Council, Guyer High School PTSA, Executive Board, Harpool Middle School PTA, member. City of Denton, Human Service Advisory Committee, Denton ISD Education Improvement Committee, Denton County Sheriff Department, Teen Impact Volunteer, Denton Count Sheriff Department, Juvenile Advisory Committee, The Bridge Church Denton, Outreach Volunteer

Why should you be elected?  I have 3 children currently attending Denton ISD schools. In order to make decisions which affect the children of the district, you should have a parent who currently has children in the school to have a different perspective. A parent’s perspective is needed in order to make these decisions. I’m not only serving on committees within in the district, but the city, county and the community.

What are the main challenges facing your district, and how would you resolve them? The main challenge is budget cuts and how they affect our children in their learning. Bridging the gap of parents and the school and establish a partnership in order to have successful children. College readiness upon exiting high school. Not just in test scores but financial responsibility and what is expected after high school in the real world. Lastly, to provide transparency to our tax payer and stakeholders in our district, when it comes to spending and making sure we aren’t wasting dollars in ventures that are not income producing or self maintaining and not causing a deficit to our district. We have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers and stakeholders in our community to provide transparency and make sound decisions when it comes to the revenue we spend in the district.


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