HPISD resident for 21 years
Why are you running?
Highland Park Independent School District is a beacon of excellence in the realm of public schools and is a vital and valuable part of our community. Our entire community benefits by continuing and building upon the history and traditions of our fine school district. That’s why I decided to run for HPISD School Board – to serve our community in protecting and enhancing our schools, and their future. As a candidate, I bring close to 30 years of experience representing and advocating for clients in complex disputes both in Texas and around the country. At Haynes and Boone, I have been involved in the strategic business and economic decisions for decades, including serving two full terms on the Board of Directors. I also serve on the Board of Directors that oversees the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament. My board and advocacy experience involve responsibility for multi-million dollar matters of a magnitude comparable to those HPISD regularly faces. My analytical skills, education, and experience serving on boards of significant organizations equip me to not only understand and evaluate the issues facing the district but to also advocate on behalf of our district in a clear and convincing manner. I am the proud father of two current HPISD students as well as a 2018 HPHS graduate, who is currently attending SMU. I am happily married to Holly who is an asset to HPISD having served as a PTA President, Mad for Plaid Chair for 6 years and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Highland Park Education Foundation. I am excited about this opportunity to serve our community.
How would you grade the past board member? What would you do different?
Outgoing trustee Paul Rowsey brought good judgment, sterling credentials, financial acumen, and a healthy amount of wisdom to the board that resulted in him being a thoughtful, collaborative, and measured board member whose endorsement I was honored to receive. As an engineer and a patent lawyer, I have spent decades analyzing and advocating for innovation. I will strive to be a thoughtful, collaborative, and measured board member like Mr. Rowsey while emphasizing the need for and benefits of innovation. From experiential learning in the classroom to innovative private fund raising, I hope I can help the district build upon the excellence that dedicated board members like Mr. Rowsey have helped create.
What is the district’s biggest challenge? How would you address it?
Excellence is the district’s biggest asset and maintaining it is the district’s biggest challenge. From arts to athletics, HPISD is excellent. HPISD has tremendous teachers, dedicated administrators, and high achieving students. We need to encourage, retain, and reward outstanding teachers. Our administrators set the tone and culture of the school district that encourages ongoing improvement, creativity, and community. To maintain the excellence, we need to empower our administrators with the resources and facilities to allow them to create the right learning environment and culture. Gracefully, we need to celebrate the success of our students. Their success is the desired result of an excellent school district.
What would you do to see that education in the district is adequately funded?
I would be fiscally conservative with each dollar. I would advocate the lawmakers in Austin to (1) have the State of Texas fund a significantly higher percentage of school funding and (2) allow each local district to pay that district’s bills first before recapture is implemented. I would encourage innovation in private fund raising to: (1) encourage and reward excellent educators and (2) pay for new and innovative programs and technology. If the State of Texas would ease the burden of recapture, we could use more of our private fundraising dollars to reward excellence (e.g. teacher bonuses) and encourage innovation (e.g. MAPS Program). What is one thing you would change, or aim to improve, within the district? Communication. HPISD is a beacon of excellence in public schools. Excellent public schools are great for Texas. Excellent public schools are great for property values. Excellent public schools are great for attracting new businesses to our city and our state. Excellent public schools produce life-long learners who are good and productive citizens. Communicating the value of excellent public schools will help with school funding, community pride, and business involvement.
How should the district approach the redistricting of the elementary schools?
The process for determining the new districts should be thoughtful, considerate, and transparent. The district has already started the process by forming a committee of board members (current and former), community members, and educators, led by Paul Rowsey. The district is right to have the committee do a thoughtful and thorough analysis. I am certain some of the factors to be considered will include minimizing the danger of crossing major streets, current and future demographics, flexibility afforded by the addition of additional classroom capacity, and cost/efficiency considerations. As a potential board member, I would evaluate the committee’s recommendations and analysis when completed.
What is one thing you would change, or aim to improve, within the district?
Communication. HPISD is a beacon of excellence in public schools. Excellent public schools are great for Texas. Excellent public schools are great for property values. Excellent public schools are great for attracting new businesses to our city and our state. Excellent public schools produce life-long learners who are good and productive citizens. Communicating the value of excellent public schools will help with school funding, community pride, and business involvement.
Grade the district on the implementation of the bond program. What would you do different?
The bond program has resulted in tremendous improvements to the facilities on each campus that will benefit generations of students. On the financial side, the district has sold all of the bonds and obtained better bond rates than originally forecast, which is an efficient use of our resources. I am concerned that approximately 45 percent of the residents did not vote for the bond. We need to reach out and convince those who were initially opposed to the bond to see the value that the improved facilities will provide to generations of future students. I firmly believe HPISD is one of the top drivers of property value in the entire district. Whether a family decides to use the HPISD schools, one of the fine private schools available, or homeschool, that decision does not change the economic impact the quality of the school district has on every family’s property value. I would work to communicate with everyone in the district to develop trust and confidence in the value our high quality public schools provide to every community member.