Sunday, May 26, 2024

Longtime SISD board member to face challenger in May 4 election

Find out more about the candidates in the Place 7 race


SPRINGTOWN — Yet again, voters in Springtown Independent School District are called to the ballot box to make a decision, but this time, it’s not about a bond election.

Two seats on the district’s board of trustees are up for reelection, and one of those races is contested. While Mark Bryant in Place 6 is running unopposed, newcomer Cody Bryant is challenging longtime board member Tootie Hall for Place 7 in next month’s election.

The SISD 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 SISD 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 7 on the SISD Board of Trustees to tell us about themselves and their goals. Check out their responses (listed in alphabetical order):

Name: Cody Laine Bryant

Occupation: Farrier, real estate agent, youth pastor

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education: I am a Springtown alum, class of 2003 and graduated top 10%. After graduating, I took classes at Weatherford College until I decided to go to Texas Horseshoeing School. I received my certificate as a certified farrier and didn't want to stop there. I decided after some years I decided to add to my education by enrolling into Champions School of Real Estate and received my sales agent license. I am now continuing my education in real estate to receive a broker's license.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community involvement: In my community I serve as a youth pastor at New Hope Baptist Church and also the baseball commissioner for the Springtown Lions Club. The youth of our community has always been a priority of mine to do whatever I can to help educate and be involved in their lives to support their success. I run the baseball league in Springtown and also coach my son's team and assist in coaching for my daughter's team. Our youth's spiritual health is also very important to me, and love being involved in their lives to help them navigate through their young years.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family: God has blessed me beyond words with a loving wife and two beautiful children. Jaclyn and I have been married for 11 years. I have a 9-year-old son, Bleu Bryant, whose passion is sports. More than any of them he loves playing baseball with his team the Orange Crush and also works very hard in school. I also have a 7-year-old daughter, Grace Bryant, who also plays softball and cheers for her pee wee football team. They both go to Goshen Creek Elementary in Springtown and are thriving because of the great staff they have there.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for a place on Springtown ISD board of trustees, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I am running for Place 7 of the Springtown Board of Trustees for many reasons. Mostly I feel a great need to continue following my calling to do whatever necessary to ensure the youth of our community have all the resources to be successful. I fell in love with the district and community as a youth and want to give back and help support the awesome team the district already has in place. I also believe our staff and educators deserve to have a faithful and loyal new board member that prioritizes their needs to be able to fulfill their duties effectively. My experience would include serving on many boards, understanding my community, and being able to run multiple businesses by budgeting properly. I am a lifelong Springtownian and have a great network of friends and family that have the same mindset that I have in regard to supporting our youth. I understand the community well and know what is important to them. I serve on the Wise County Youth Baseball Association, where I meet with other baseball commissioners to run the best league we have ever been a part of. I also serve as the commissioner on our Springtown Lions Club Baseball Board to operate the league and work in conjunction with our Executive Lions Club Board to facilitate sports for thousands of our youth. In running my business, I also understand the preparation and planning of being fiscally responsible in budgeting properly to continue doing business. Something I have learned by serving in these capacities is that better results happen by listening and communicating properly, rather than pushing individual selfish agendas. In these roles, it's important to know that we are a vessel for the voice of our community and should operate as such.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve Springtown families, students and school district staff?

The main goal in being voted onto the school board would be to increase the success of our youth’s education. There are a few ways to accomplish this, and I believe it starts with taking care of our staff and educators. The more we can support our staff and teachers to create a comfortable environment and give them the resources necessary to make their job easier, the more results we will see in the district's testing and overall education statistics. I am also an advocate for looking into ways to increase our teachers’ salaries to retain and help recruit the top educators our students so deserve. I would also like to share and be part of a team that looks into the district’s future. With the amount of growth that we have already witnessed and the more that we see on the horizon, it’s imperative that we find ways to ensure our students have the very best facilities. All the while not neglecting our community and townspeople with offering solutions that they would deem negative, but instead keep them at the forefront with the knowledge they need to make the appropriate decisions at the voting booths. The student’s education in our district is my No. 1 priority along with prioritizing the important agenda items that need to happen that will in turn help us reach the main goal of our students' success. I have noticed in the short time my children have been in school, that there is definitely a family environment that surrounds and supports them. I would like to continue and improve upon the great work our current board has done to help the many generations ahead.

Name: Elizabeth “Tootie” Hall

Occupation: Retired

In 100 words or less, tell us about your education: High school diploma from Haltom High School. Two years mid-management studies from Tarrant County Junior College. Many years of professional development sessions in corporate and education priorities

In 100 words or less, tell us about your community involvement: I have always enjoyed somehow being involved in the community. I currently serve on the board of directors for five local non-profits in Parker County. It’s an honor to serve on the boards of Neighbor to Neighbors Food Pantry, Springtown Education Foundation, Springtown Chamber of Commerce, Springtown Area Senior Citizen Center and the SISD Board. I also serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care. After the passing of my husband Jerry Hall in 2013, I decided I needed to get up and do something. I think I got carried away.

In 100 words or less, tell us about your family: My family consists of two sons and one daughter PLUS six exceptional grandchildren. All three of my children followed in their father’s footsteps and sought occupations in education. Jerry spent years teaching biology and coaching football and track on the high school level. All three are graduates of Springtown High School. Wendy and Pat both work in the district and Mike has a company which works with schools to bring dads into local programs. Four of my grandchildren are Porcupine alums with two left to finish high school and then join the alum ranks.

In 300 words or less, describe why you are running for a place on Springtown ISD board of trustees, and what experience you are bringing to the position.

I am running to retain my current place on the board. I believe we have unfinished business and I’d like to see our efforts accomplished.

I have 16 years experience as a trustee for SISD. Through those years the process of the school district has changed but not the underlying requirements of giving our students the best possible learning advantages and the social mores to assist them in being an asset to the next generation.

In 300 words or less, what goals do you have that you feel will help serve Springtown families, students and school district staff?

We have had four failed bond elections that we hoped would alleviate crowding in our schools as enrollment continues to climb. Although we as a board were able to lower the tax rate at times, property appraisals continue to climb. Houses sell and our enrollment escalates. Previous service on the school board from 1982 to 1992 has given me the opportunity to see the vast changes that have occurred in our district. Back then, we had 1,100 students in school and about 900 people in the “city” of Springtown. Today our enrollment tops 4,100 and our newest building is the high school, which houses over 1,100 students and our district encompasses 100 square miles. Our common areas need some work. Our lunchrooms and libraries need to be enlarged. More restrooms need to be added. One campus has a 600-student enrollment and four restrooms. Some of our campuses have four lunch periods to accommodate their population, starting at 10:30 a.m.

We have to make adjustments to accommodate our current student population. Whether that is putting together yearly bond elections in small amounts to renovate existing buildings or bringing in portables at $200,000 a pop sans set-up, electrical, ramps, HVAC and furnishings.

Our band is state ranked. We have a nationally recognized percussion group. Our choir is state ranked. Our FCCLA has national champs. Our FFA has state champs as well as our CTE program welders, artists, culinary representatives.

Our athletes are state ranked, girls and boys.

What could these kids accomplish if they had a little more room?

I want your vote on May 4. Together we can sit back and applaud the success of the remarkable Pine Nation!