Sunday, May 26, 2024

Lea to retire; newcomers face off for AISD Place 4 seat

Posted

AZLE — With Azle ISD board of trustees member Ray Lea retiring, two candidates are vying for the Place 4 seat Lea is vacating. Place 4 is the only contested seat on the board in the May 4 election. Place 3’s Tim Brown’s position is also up for election, but he is running unchallenged.

The AISD school board hears reports from administration, recognizes the achievements of students and staff and makes various decisions about the district’s policies. Crucially, the board also adopts a budget and tax rate for AISD annually and has the authority to call for bond elections.

Election Day is Saturday, May 4, and early voting runs Monday, April 22 through Tuesday, April 30. The Tri-County Reporter asked the candidates vying for Place 4 on the AISD Board of Trustees to tell us about themselves and their goals. Check out their responses listed in alphabetical order.

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Name:

Brandon Geary

Position you are running for:

Azle ISD Board of Trustees Place 4

Occupation:

Lead Pastor at Merge Community Church

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

I am a graduate of Azle High School Class of ’98.

I have an associate degree from Tarrant County College where soon after I began working full time in ministry.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

Service is a big part of my life. I serve our community by investing weekly into the lives of teenagers through Merge Students. I serve the school district as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee and through involvement on the District Leadership Team. I also serve our community as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) who serves kids in foster care by standing in the gap and being a voice for their best interests.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

This September, I will celebrate 24 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. We have a son and two daughters (18,17,11) who are products of Azle ISD. Two of my children are in college and one is a fifth grader at Azle Elementary. In total, I have three nephews, one niece and a great system of support from my grandmother in law, my mother, brother, sister and their spouses.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Azle ISD’s board of trustees, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I am a fan of Azle ISD and believe I can work alongside our current board of trustees to ensure that every student has the very best opportunity for growth by working together to meet the needs of our school district. As a trustee, my desire is to work with all functions of the district to ensure student needs are met, teacher needs are heard, administrator needs are understood and the expectations of the citizens in Azle are honored.

I firmly believe leadership is about both service and stewardship. In regard to service, I believe the greatest measure of leadership is the positive effect it has on others. By serving, leaders can make a lasting change in the lives of so many. My desire is to play a role, through service, for the betterment of all Azle ISD shareholders. When it comes to stewardship, I believe it is the role of the school board to help steward the resources of the district to maximize opportunities for students and their success as well as to equip educators with resources needed to ensure effectiveness in the classroom.

I bring 25 plus years of leadership experience in various nonprofit organizations as well as deep-rooted involvement in life here in Azle. I have served as a trustee on many boards of directors (previously with Northwest YMCA and Servolution; currently with Our Father’s Children) and currently lead as an elder at Merge Community Church where we are responsible for overseeing both the short-term and long-term goals of the church. One of my greatest strengths is working with people toward consensus through mediation and conflict resolution. I strive to make people feel they have been given to opportunity to be heard and know their voice is valuable for the success of the organization.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in Azle?

I believe public education in the state of Texas is at an interesting place. There are many factors and needs which need to be addressed ranging from teacher shortages, educational funding, student services and opportunities for fostering successful learners. As stated before, I have always been a big supporter of our district. I feel the current board of trustees has worked diligently, specifically in regard to creating a competitive pay package for our current teachers, and they continue to make further strides while also keeping one of the lowest tax rates in the area for our citizens.

My aim as a trustee is to continue serving alongside the current members of the board to work toward the goals of the district while also exploring how we can continue to grow students by providing resources needed for the robust education our students need to impact our world.

At the end of the day, I see the privilege of serving as a trustee to be one of accountability to the district and all shareholders. A trustee is appointed to hold district administrators accountable to provide the best level of education Azle ISD is capable of. A trustee is entrusted with making sure the resources of the district are used wisely and all decisions regarding district resources are made with the entire district in mind. Lastly, a trustee is tasked with evaluating, shaping and working toward a shared vision of what future success will look like for Azle ISD. I aim to work hard to ensure a positive future for our community because I feel we live in a great city and that our best days are ahead of us.

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Name:

Kelsey Massey

Position you are running for:

Azle ISD School Board Place 4

Occupation:

Former educator and current stay-at-home mom

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Nicholls State University with a minor in family and consumer science birth –5 development. I received my EC-6 teaching certificate in 2011. I also have previous certifications in crisis prevention intervention, ESL, gifted and talented, teacher mentor/coach, and I was previously CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) certified. Over my professional years as an educator, I have acquired hundreds of specialized hours in educational training and facilitated training for multiple school districts and state conferences.  

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

 My community involvement includes:

  • Regularly attending the Azle ISD school board meetings each month.
  • Attending Silver Creek Elementary PTO meetings.
  • Active volunteer at Silver Creek Elementary.

I have also been the Azle youth cheer coach and the baseball team mom.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

I have been married to my wonderful husband, Taylor Massey, for 10 years this fall. We have two children: Weslynn, six, in kindergarten at Silver Creek Elementary, and Kallen, 4, who is still part-time at home with me. I am a stay-at-home mom, and Taylor is a local firefighter with Lake Worth. We are so happy we chose Azle as the place to grow and raise our family!

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Azle ISD’s board of trustees, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I am running to serve on the Azle ISD school board because I am a passionate, dedicated educator and a mom of young kids in Azle ISD. I have a unique set of skills acquired over my 10 years as a professional educator. These skills will allow me to bring a unique perspective to my position on the board. Utilizing my experiences as a teacher, mentor/coach, instructional specialist, mom and community member will allow me to better serve as a member of the school board.

My background in education will allow me to advocate and support teachers as a board member who once stood in their shoes. I have worked as a classroom teacher and pre-k instructional specialist. I have collaborated with seven North Texas school districts during my time with Head Start as a Head Start/ ISD liaison mentor. These opportunities allowed me to view the inner workings of districts while allowing me to learn from various specialists in each district. I plan to utilize my training and skills to help guide Azle ISD in the coming years.  

My background as an active community member and Azle ISD parent, regularly attending the school board meetings, has allowed me to research the role of the school board in more depth. I contacted the Texas Association of School Boards and purchased books specific for running for the school board and how to be a school board member. I then followed up by reaching out to former contacts in the education world, allowing me to meet and discuss with board members from around the state their personal experiences with serving on the school board. These experiences and research, combined with my 10 years of educational experience, have led me to be prepared for the office of Azle ISD school board Place 4.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in Azle?

Learning Gaps — Along with other districts, we are still working on filling in the educational learning gaps. When addressing learning gaps, we must evaluate our data across the district, provide targeted instructional training and support for teachers and students, and review data trends in the district, looking specifically at district goals and improvement plans. All teachers should be part of the conversation utilizing vertical alignment opportunities, allowing them to see how their teaching is an integral part of this critical issue and how each standard's verbs progress together over the years.

Equal and Equitable Educational Opportunities — Another issue facing our district is providing equal and equitable education for ALL students on ALL campuses. While each campus will have a unique culture and climate because of the community and people on each campus, the instruction, materials and programs, such as art, should be universal.

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Name:

Tim Brown

Position you are running for:

Place 3 Azle ISD Board of Trustees

Occupation:

Vice President, Greenwood Funeral Homes & Cremation, in Fort Worth.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education.

1990 graduate of Azle High School; 2002 graduated from Dallas Institute of Funeral Service with an AAS in funeral service; currently enrolled in Ottawa University in Kansas, set to graduate in December with a BS in business administration.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community Involvement.

Since I am in school right now, I have cut my community involvement back to just the school board. Prior to being in school I was a member of both the CCPD and police Advisory Board for the Azle Police Department.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family.

I have a daughter and a son who are both married. Both of my children are Azle High School graduates. My daughter has a daughter, and my son has both a son and a daughter. So, I have three grandchildren. They are the best!

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for Azle ISD’s Board of Trustees, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I decided to run again, because I still have a desire to want the best for our students, teachers and the school district. After being on the board for almost 12 years now, I have seen a lot happen in Austin toward public schools, and not always for the better. I feel I can help contribute with my knowledge of seeing what has happened in the past, and then being available to Mr. Smith and the rest of the school district for whatever is needed.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve residents in Azle?

As when I first got on the school board, I do not have an agenda. There are no specific goals that I have other than wanting to make our schools the best they can be for our students, our teachers and our community. The way we do that is by listening to what our students, teachers and school administration need to be successful. We take those recommendations and do what we can to make it happen. We want Azle to be the best and the example that everyone wants to follow, and I think we are well on our way with the people we have in place!