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Five candidates file for three seats on school board
By Emily Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org, @eh_scnnews on Twitter
Five candidates have filed for three open positions on the Little Elm ISD School Board of Trustees in the May 11 General Election.
For the position of Place 1, Dee Dee Lear and LeAnna Harding have filed. For Place 6, incumbent Christopher F. Williams and Brandon C. Gerard have filed. Incumbent Cooper L. Begis is running unopposed for Place 7 on the school board.
Dee Dee Lear
"My primary drive is to share my passion for Little Elm and serve my community unselfishly," she explained.
Lear has served on the Little Elm Town Council, as both member and president on the Little Elm Economic Development Corporation, and as a member on the TIRZ boards.
Lear said that providing a healthy and safe environment will enable children the tools and life skills to thrive and be productive citizens in the competitive world beyond school.
"We must maintain our underlying commitment to providing the best education in a safe environment, while aggressively pursuing and implementing the freshest and most adaptive and innovative tools and creative teaching techniques," she said.
Forming and nurturing alliances with commercial and public organizations will help stretch financial resources and model collaboration and teaming for mutual success for students, Lear added.
"For our students, a collaborative learning environment promotes individual styles and simulates how best to succeed in today's work environment," she said. "For our taxpayers, it provides the most effective and efficient means to achieve prudent fiduciary responsibility."
Harding has decided to run for the school board because she has four children in LEISD that will be graduating from the high school over the next several years.
"I see the potential that LEISD has, and I want to see LEISD pushed to reach its full potential," Harding said.
Harding has been an active part of the community as the vice chairwoman of the Charter Review Committee and was a participant in the Little Elm Strategic Planning Process and Community Visioning meeting. Her main concern for LEISD is its reputation.
"I am proud of my town, and I want others to recognize what a great town this is and what a great school system their children will attend," Harding said. "LEISD is a premier school system, and I am very disappointed when people inside and outside our community make statements about LEISD's 'bad' reputation. I want to help change this perception and make our school system more attractive to our own residents and to future residents by ensuring the best people and policies are in place to promote a great learning environment from start to finish."
Christopher F. Williams
Incumbent Williams first ran for school board as a means to give back to the community he has lived in since 1999.
"I am running again because I enjoy being a part of the work that is being done," Williams said. "We have a great team on the school board and that is very important and key for a successful board and district."
Williams served on the LEISD Strategic Planning Committee, which he said met to define the core values. He was also a basketball coach with the Little Elm Area Youth Sports Association. Williams described LEISD as a school district "on the rise."
"We place a high amount of emphasis on making sure each student graduates with the skill and knowledge to either go to the college of their choice or attend a technical school to enable a smooth transition into adult life," he said. "I intend to continue my support of the ground-breaking educational programs that will further develop the best and brightest students, continue my support of the arts in Little Elm schools, and support an administrative team that is focused on a bright future for Little Elm students."
Brandon C. Gerard
Former Town Council Member Gerard is no stranger to the public eye and has decided to run for Place 6 on the school board.
"I still have a great desire to continue to serve the Little Elm Community," Gerard said. "I believe that my experiences and knowledge are a perfect match for the Little Elm ISD, its teachers, staff, and finally, its students."
Gerard has also served as a member of the Little Elm Planning and Zoning Commission, the Little Elm Town Council and the Little Elm Community Development Corporation.
"One of the issues I see before us as a community is the continuing growth of the area and the district," he said. "It is my pledge to focus on the needs of the district as well as the staff and students to ensure the best possible learning and working environment. It is important to me that all decisions made are done so with the best interest of the entire district."
Gerard encourages any resident living within the district who would like to share their thoughts or have him share his to contact him at 972-668-4695 or email@example.com .
Incumbent Begis has been a member of the school board for three years.
"I see the success of our children as key to the continued growth of our town and choose to be an active participant in that success," Begis said. "I take great pride in my community and believe I have the skills and knowledge to help guide the district to be successful today and in the future."
Begis has served as a coach and communications director with LEAYSA, the July Jubilee Planning Committee and emcee, and the Board of Adjustments. He also served on the Little Elm Bond Committee.
Begis said there are a number of challenges facing the district as it prepares students for post-secondary success, including staff support and training and new methods of learning through technology, but the challenge to success is strong fiscal management.
"The economic downturn and resulting effect on the housing market, in addition to changes in the state funding model, has caused pressure on the district's ability to maintain the high standards set forth," he said. "While I personally cannot affect the economy, housing market or state funding, I can continue to make well-informed decisions on our budget to ensure the long term viability of the district."
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