Thursday, June 13, 2024

Meet the Candidates: Northwest ISD Board Place 5

Southern Denton County residents will head to the polls starting next month to decide a plethora of municipal and school board contests.

The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate in a contested local race to answer a brief questionnaire to help voters make an informed decision at the polls this May.

In Northwest ISD, three seats are expiring in May. In Place 5, Amanda Smith and Jennifer Stephens are challenging Incumbent Steve Sprowls’ reelection bid. In Place 6, Jon Pendergrass is challenging Incumbent Lillian Rauch, and in Place 7, Michelle Slater is challenging Incumbent Jennifer Murphy.

The district also called a $2 billion bond referendum to build 12 new schools, three new stadiums and lots of other upgrades.

Election Day is May 6, and early voting will run April 24 through May 2. The last day to register to vote is April 6, and the last day to apply for ballot by mail is April 25. Click here for more information about voting in Denton County.

The candidates for Place 5 on Northwest ISD Board of Trustees are listed in alphabetic order below.

Place 5 (3-year-term)

Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith, 31

City of residence: Fort Worth

How long have you resided in the school district you wish to represent? Almost 6 years

Occupation: Certified Ophthalmic Technician

Education: Graduated Keller High School in 2009

Previous public service: N/A

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice? I am running for school board because I know my intentions are pure and I want to make a positive impact on our children’s lives. I am passionate about our school district and feel called to volunteer my time. I am a better candidate because I am a younger voice and the next generation of leader. I have a son in 4th grade at Hughes elementary. He will be in NISD through high school. I continuously engage in my sons’ school and activities as well as my exchange students’ school. I will give students and teachers in NISD a future they can be proud of.

Mission statement: While I appreciate anyone in our community who desires to get involved, I believe the individuals within our community know what’s best for OUR children, not outsiders or political organizations. I plan to help take action against teacher burnout and retention.

Do you have children enrolled in the school district you wish to represent? I have one 9-year-old child in an NISD elementary school.

Website: amandasmith24.poliengine.com

Facebook page: Amanda J. Smith

Jennifer Stephens

Jennifer Stephens, 43

Town of residence: Roanoke

How long have you resided in the school district you wish to represent? 11 years

Occupation: Educational Diagnostician

Education: Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Masters of Education in Educational Leadership
Masters of Education in Special Education
Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

Previous public service: Research Assistant for University of North Texas studying and publishing articles on proper teacher evaluations.
Participated on the TEA Advisory Council for Educational Diagnostician Certification Examination.
Participated in many community events and small businesses throughout my 11 years of living in the district and supported many teachers across the district as my children have moved through the schools.

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice? I’m not only invested as a mother to children in this district but also because I am an educator. I am in the classroom with our students, and I see it changing. School districts are getting away from the role of teaching students academics and becoming more focused on emotional learning and regulation. We must get back to the fundamental basics of education (reading, writing, math, civics etc.) so that our children can compete in the work force and give back the other responsibilities to their parents, where it belongs.

Mission statement: As the only mother and educator in this election, I am running to prioritize quality education and programs without political agendas, giving parents a voice as the ultimate authority of their children, supporting teacher’s and creating a healthy culture for all students to excel.

Do you have children enrolled in the school district you wish to represent? My son graduated from Byron High School in 2019 and my daughter is a freshman this year.

Website: votedrjennifer.org

Facebook page: Vote Dr. Jennifer Stephens for Northwest ISD School Board Place #5

Steve Sprowls, 52

City of residence: Fort Worth

How long have you resided in the school district you wish to represent? 16 years

Occupation: Airline pilot

Education: BA Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Texas in Arlington 1994
Trinity High School in Euless, TX 1989

Previous public service: – Northwest ISD Trustee—Vice President
– Kay Granger Elementary School PTA Board—Watch DOGS Coordinator
– Tidwell Middle School PTA Board—Titans Dad Coordinator
– Golden Triangle Rotary Club—Treasurer
– Golden Triangle Rotary Foundation—Treasurer
– Saratoga HOA Board—President
– Fort Worth Police Department Code Blue—Neighborhood Captain

What motivated you to run for this position, and why are you the best choice? I want to continue serving NISD to ensure that no matter where a graduate’s next phase in life takes them, they have been presented with the tools needed to hit the ground running; regardless if they are headed to college, joining the military, or starting a trades career. I am the best choice because I have 6 years of experience as a Trustee, in conjunction with volunteering for 16 years at all levels within NISD. I am a familiar face on campuses, & the stakeholders know of my passion for the success of all NISD students. As we grow at 2000+ students every year, I understand the need to stay involved with the community. I have volunteered 100s of hours of service for the benefit of NISD stakeholders while sacrificing family & personal time. However, getting to see the smiles on graduates’ faces as I hand them their diplomas make it all worth it. My servant’s heart belongs to NISD.

Mission statement: My top priorities will be to address the main challenges faced by NISD—unprecedented growth, unrealistic “Robin Hood” payments (soon to be $100 million), & teacher retention. I also want to expand Career Technical Education (CTE) classes, & form more partnerships with local businesses to help feed the workforce needed by Alliance-area industries.

Do you have children enrolled in the school district you wish to represent? Yes.

Website: stevefornisd.com

Facebook page: Steve Sprowls Trustee Place 5 for Northwest ISD

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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