Angelina County residents will choose the next member of the State Board of Education in the Nov. 3 election. Republican incumbent Kevin Ellis is facing Democratic contender Brenda Davis.
Candidates for the position were asked by The Lufkin Daily News to share information about themselves and their platforms. Each received email surveys with the same questions and word-count limits.
Their responses are listed in the order in which their names appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, according to the Angelina County Elections Administration.
The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election is Monday. The last day to hand vote-by-mail applications over the counter in the office is Oct. 12. Early voting begins on Oct. 13.
Tell us about yourself.
Ellis: I have been a practicing chiropractor in Lufkin for over 20 years. I served on the Lufkin ISD school board from 2012 to 2016 where I was elected by my peers to serve as Board President. In 2016 I was elected to the Texas State Board of Education and I am now completing my fourth year. In September of 2019 I was appointed to Chair the State Board of Education by Governor Greg Abbott.
Davis: I am a retired journalism and English teacher, a graduate of UTA with a degree in communications, a wife and mother of two and grandmother of four. I am a product of Texas public schools as are my children and grandchildren. My daughter is a former dyslexia teacher and is currently a 504 coordinator in the Frisco ISD. I have a niece and a nephew who teach in Texas public schools. Running as a representative on the State Board of Education seemed like a natural progression for me. My goal as a representative is to give teachers a voice in Austin and to advocate for rural districts.
Why are you running for the Board of Education?
Ellis: This is such a critical time in how we educate our children. The work of providing an excellent education is more important now than ever before. Serving on a local school board has given me a full understanding of the needs and challenges of our students, teachers as well as the district itself. I will always believe that Texans understand how best to educate Texas children without interference from the federal government.
Davis: I am running for the State Board because I am not ready to give up on public schools. I think teachers are better qualified to judge what is best for other teachers. I also what to give a voice to rural schools and help to level the playing field for disadvantaged students
What do you hope to accomplish while serving on the board?
Ellis: The SBOE has done a good job in recent years by focusing on the important work required of the board. We have streamlined and revised English Language Arts & Reading, Science, Social Studies and Health. The approval of the instructional material for some of those subjects will be due shortly. Additionally, the board manages the $45 billion Permanent School Fund which helps fund schools in Texas and we will continue to work to properly manage the fund and maximize distributions to help fund schools in Texas.
Davis: I hope while I am on the board to help develop a curriculum that teaches students to be critical and independent thinkers. I want to help teachers in development of a balanced curriculum that teaches students beyond the STAAR test. I also would like to see a moratorium on charter schools and concentrate on the needs of public schools, first.