1. How long have you lived in Stephenville, and do you have any children attending the district?
My husband Dee, our children and I have made our home in Stephenville for over 20 years. We love Stephenville and its people are just amazing. In fact, I cannot imagine living elsewhere.
Our son, Harve, was an All-District linebacker for the Yellow Jackets, won district in track for pole vaulting, won state in bull-riding on the high school rodeo team, and a member of the FFA. Harve attended Tarleton majoring in Business Management. He was on the rodeo team for Tarleton and joined the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). He met his wife Brittany at a bull-riding event at Lone Star Arena. Brittany is the women’s coach for Tarleton’s rodeo team and obtained her Master of Business Degree from Tarleton.
Our daughter, Philicia, was on the Honeybees' Volleyball Team, Track, Soccer and Stephenville Rodeo Team. Philicia met her husband Jordan Hupp at a PBR event where Jordan was a participant. Our daughter, Kristy, graduated from Clear Lake high school. She was the only female student on their baseball team and later attended college at Sam Houston. Our daughter, Jessie, was in the flag guard and earned her CNA before graduating from Stephenville.
2. What in your background - educational and professional - makes you qualified to serve as a member of the School Board?
Dee and I started our first business over thirty years ago, which has grown into three companies. My expertise is financial and regulatory compliance. Our businesses can be demanding. The commitment is often 24-7/365 days per year, along with assuring that my kids made it to school, church, and were afforded a nurturing Christian home.
We have a cattle operation that has become my passion. I am equally satisfied working cattle as behind a desk studying financials. Business has taught me to be an independent thinker and to analyze information for the most logical outcome, a trait that will serve students, faculty and taxpayers alike.
We have been wanting to give back to the community for some time, and I considered running for county office. I was diagnosed with cancer, which stifled those plans. The Lord had me in his embrace. I am cancer free and in remission. Fate and my appreciation for our youth has redirected my efforts towards a School Board bid. I am an independent thinker and if elected to the school board, will analyze all information to make a decision that will be in the best interest of the students and teachers.
3. Did you support the 2018 bond. Why or why not?
It is my opinion our community benefits from updated facilities which creates a more suited learning environment, corrects obvious deficiencies, establishes a sense of pride and attracts new growth to Stephenville.
We must, first and foremost, adequately address existing safety and security issues at our schools. Our students and teachers are deserving of a safe and protected environment. The School Board has failed in this area to date.
Another concern with the bond was the District would not be frugal with taxpayer money. I wasn't pleased to learn SISD gave Tarleton approximately five hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money to construct a locker room at Tarleton’s new stadium, and then ask for additional money in the bond to build locker rooms at the high school. Another example of wasteful spending is the new softball field that will cost in excess of $700,000 over projected amounts.
Whether a person voted for or against the bond is irrelevant. The bond passed. What is important is the taxpayers elect school board members to assure the District does not spend in excess and reside within its means. The kids should benefit from any improvements, while taxpayers obtain the greatest return for their investment dollar.
4. Are you supportive of the “Future Ready” program the school district is involved with?
I support the school’s efforts to implement technology into the classroom as a tool to teach our students. In today’s world, technology is vitally important. Times have changed and the old-fashioned way of learning from only textbooks are becoming obsolete. The more opportunities to learn by using all of the technology now available will only make our students better prepared to earn a living and follow their dreams.
Technology also enables teachers to teach subjects to students in more exciting ways. The more excited a student is to learn, the more likely they will excel in the classroom.
There is a lot of technology available today that wasn’t even a dream when I went to school. The challenge as a school board member is to make sure that we provide the best purchases of technology for our students, while considering the budget.
5. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing SISD?
We need to make sure that we efficiently spend not only the $60 million bond money, but the property tax revenues the school receives every year. The students, teachers and community deserve the best school district possible. It should be a priority that SISD spend the millions of dollars of taxpayer money it receives wisely.
When making budget decisions, school board members should always ask, “If it were my money, would I make the same decision?” Recently, I don’t think this has been the case. I find it unlikely that any school board member would have given $500,000 of their own money to build something on someone else’s land. I know I would not.
A school board member isn’t doing their job as an elected official if they always vote “yes” to whatever the school wants. The difference between needs and wants must be established. It’s ok to say “no” to what the school wants. Doing your job as a school board member means that you need to independently make up your mind as to what you believe is in the best interest of our students and teachers.