By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
Despite having drawn a slate of six candidates vying for two seats, the race for Dawson ISD school board isn’t packed with controversial issues. Most of the candidates running said they signed up because they wanted to be of service to the community.
The election will be May 11. Early voting starts Monday.
Running for the two at-large positions on the Dawson ISD board of trustees are (in alphabetical order):
• T.J. Boatright, 38, has two children in the district, both in high school.
“I want to make sure we’re hiring people who are versatile and useful in the district,” he said, pointing out that state cuts often make it necessary for employees to wear more than one hat. “We want good, qualified people to teach our kids. I understand state-mandated tests, but to me, the ultimate responsibility is to get their academics. I don’t want to focus strictly on sports.”
Boatright served four years in the Navy, and although he has not run for office before, he has considered it for years.
“I’m a God-fearing man, and I believe that when they took the Lord out of schools it caused a lot of problems,” he said.
He likes both the new superintendent, Stacy Henderson, and the new principal, Robert Bray.
“I see the leadership in place right now, they seem to be strike on, right on top of where I’d like to see the district going,” Boatright said.
• Mark Martinez, 39, has been a volunteer coach for children’s teams, including Little Dribblers and Peewee Football.
“I’d just like to get the school back where it was when I first came here 15 years ago,” he said.
Martinez said he’s particularly concerned about the athletic program, and the qualifications of teachers in the district. He wants to make sure the district isn’t hiring teachers without certificates or those who were fired from other districts.
“It’s not showing the kids a good thing there,” he said.
He’s had three children come through the Dawson school district, including one junior and one senior.
He doesn’t have an opinion yet on the superintendent, saying it’s a little to early to know, but he likes some of the disciplinary changes initiated.
• Jennifer Miller, 37, attended Dawson ISD.
“I want to make sure that not only are the kids being educated properly but the teachers and staff are being treated fairly in the work and education environment,” Miller said. “At this time, I don’t have any concerns. In years past, I’ve had concerns but that’s all been fixed and resolved.”
She is in the middle of a job change from Texas Dermatology to City National Bank. She has four children, one in high school, one in elementary, and two-year-old twins. Her mother and mother–in-law work for the district.
• Kenneth Nesmith said he is running for school board. He did not want to comment for this article.
• Harvey Parker, 53, is a self-employed challenger with a daughter entering the junior high at Dawson ISD.
“I moved down here about 10 years ago from Dallas,” Parker explained. “I served on several boards up around Dallas. I’ve been in the community down here long enough that I think it’s time I need to get involved. I want to be an active part.”
As for what he’d like to see in the district? A focus on the classroom side of things.
“I’d like to see the kids are the number one priority,” he said. “I think the people on the board have done a good job and I just think I can help, you know, fresh ideas, new perspectives.”
Parker has a farm and does welding and erects metal buildings and pipe fences for a living.
• Kay Yates, 61, incumbent. Yates has been on the school board for nine years. She is a life-long educator with 35 years of experience, but she is not an employee of the Dawson district.
“I feel like this is something I can give back to the community,” Yates said. “I want our students in Dawson to be able to get a good education and good careers, to go to college and, if they don’t want to go to college, to be productive members of society.”
Yates was one of the board members who voted to hire Stacy Henderson as the new superintendent, and she’s happy with the way he is running the district, and with the new high school principal, Robert Bray. “They’re both dedicated to education and genuinely concerned about our students,” she said.
As for the election, she doesn’t see it as full of hot-button issues.
“I believe we just have people in our community who want to get involved and this is one way they think they can serve the community,” she said. “We have a great community, a great school district, and great kids.”
Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com