The Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee presents the
2012 Voter’s Guide City Elections
School Board Elections
I– Bebe Bingham
Jason Claybrook Burke Hall
District 6 I-Ron Jensen
I—Mike Skinner Annette Brigham
Place 8 At Large I– Greg Giessner
I—Paul Martinez Steve Pryor
Early Voting begins April 30 and runs through May 8 Election Day is May 12, 2012 We invited our candidates to provide a brief biography and to address a few issues. We have shared their responses on the following pages. The Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce did not edit for spelling, grammar or content.
City Elections District 5 Glen Hill I-Tony Shotwell District 6 I-Ron Jensen Cheryl Rios Place 8 At Large Iâ€“ Greg Giessner Rosemary Bowlby
City of Grand Prairie District 5 Tony Shotwellâ€”Incumbent Resident of Grand Prairie since 1988, having lived all 24 years in District 5, I have one son, Chris, a 1992 graduate of Grand Prairie High School, one grand-daughter, Alex, and a step grand-son, Adam. I am employed here locally at Rheaco Manufacturing, since 2006, as a precision machinist. I am also a Certified Manufacturing Technologist, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME); and am recognized as a Certified/Registered Pharmacy Technician with IV Specialty, by the PTCB and the Texas Board of Pharmacy. I am a longtime member of the Unity Church of Dallas. 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for
Grand Prairie? My qualifications to continue to serve the great residents of District 5 are the experience of working hard for District 5 over a number of years, the proven ability to get positive results for District 5, and the leadership to continue working with the wonderful residents of the district to make Grand Prairie a better place to live, work and play.
2. What do you feel is the single most critical issue facing our City today? How will you address it? If you are an incumbent, how have you been addressing the issue? We simply must concentrate on economic development, bringing in more jobs to Grand Prairie and keeping those that are currently here. During my tenure on the city council we have brought in hundreds of millions of dollars of private development, kept the tax rate stable and added thousands of jobs in Grand Prairie. With projects like the new outlet mall coming on line, more jobs and tax dollars will flow to here, allowing us to keep improving the quality of life through things like the Summit, Bowles Life Center and street/sidewalk improvements.
3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? Grand Prairie City Council 1995 to present. Appointed to complete vacant District 5 seat. Elected 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Chairman, City Council Development Committee; CoChair, 2000 Census Committee; Co-Chair, EMS Selection Committee; NE Grand Prairie Task Force; Director, GP Housing Finance Corp.; Chair, 2011 GP Redistricting Committee. Grand Prairie Planning & Zoning Commission 1992-95; Past President, GP Community Housing Development Organization; GP Boys & Girls Club Advisory Committee; Board Member of Grand Prairie Library Foundation, Past Master, Eugene Green DFW Masonic Lodge; GP Optimist Club; GP DeMolay Honorary Legion of Honor.
City of Grand Prairie District 5 Glen Hill Glen Hill, former Grand Prairie Police Chief, was born and raised in Nephi, Utah. Glen is a devoted husband of 35 years to Grand Prairie resident Mary Watson. Together they are the proud parents of Cathe, Christy, Rex, Cherie and Ashley and are equally proud of their 8 grandchildren. Glen is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has lived in Grand Prairie since 1978. Career: Glen began a career with the Grand Prairie Police Department in 1979. His positive attitude and commitment drove him as he served, working his way up from a Patrol Officer to Chief of Police. As Chief, Glen guided the department to many significant achievements which include being awarded status as an Accredited Law Enforcement Agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 2007 with reaccreditation awarded in 2010, 1 of only 23 Texas Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies to obtain accreditation status. Under Glenâ€™s leadership sworn staff increased from 167 to 229 officers, GPPD started Crime Analysis section, and Glen instituted a core values program and mission statement for the police department. While serving as Chief, the department expanded by building the Charles V England Police and Fire Training Center, the Bill Barrett Fire Arms Training Facility, Lake Parks Police Substation at Lynn Creek Park and the Public Safety Building dedicated in June of 2010. Glen led the department for nearly 13 years, serving as one of the longest tenured police chiefs in the Metroplex and honorably retired from the department January of 2011. Accomplishments: Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year 2006 Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Public Service Award 2005 Grand Prairie Police Department Supervisor of the Year Grand Prairie Police Association Supervisor of the Year Boy Scouts of America, Mt. Lake District, Distinguished Service Award Eagle Scout Organizations: Member of the International Association Chiefs of Police Member and past president of the Grand Prairie Host Lions Club Past District Chairman for the Mt. Lake District of the Boy Scouts of America (2003 & 2004) Member National Rifle Association Education: Graduate of FBI National Academy Session 197 Graduate of Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Graduate of Southwest Legal Institute School of Police Supervision Graduated Utah Technical College (now Utah Valley University) in 1976 with a degree in Marketing Management Graduated from Juab High School in 1971 Charities: Served as a board member of Grand Prairie United Charities Coordinated numerous blood drives for Carter Blood Care Started The Sgt. Greg Hunter Memorial Scholarship Program for Grand Prairie Students Volunteers on many Habitat for Humanity building projects in Grand Prairie and Dallas Volunteered for cleanup efforts in New Orleans and Galveston after devastating hurricanes
City of Grand Prairie District 5 Glen Hillâ€”Page 2 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for
Grand Prairie? My first qualification is my love for the community and the people who live here. I moved to Grand Prairie in1978 with my wife Mary, who was raised and educated in Grand Prairie. Together we have raised five children. At a time when we could have easily located to other metroplex communities, we chose to build our home here. We love Grand Prairie and are proud to call this City our home. Secondly, I have been involved in Grand Prairie through school, church, community organizations and career opportunities. All of our five children were educated in Grand Prairie Schools, graduating from Grand Prairie High School. Our church and community outreach activities have solidified and enriched our life. I spent over 31 years working for the City of Grand Prairie as a Police Officer where I grew to appreciate and respect our community, businesses and the diverse landscape of Grand Prairie. It was my honor to lead the GPPD, one of the finest and most respected Police Departments in Texas, for the last 12 years as Chief. I retired from the GPPD in 2011. Mary also retired in 2012 after 26 years as an educator with the Grand Prairie Independent School District. Mary has had a positive impact on hundreds of children serving as a classroom teacher and for the past 12 years as an elementary school librarian. I am vested in this community and I am committed to improving the quality of life for all of our citizens. I have the time to devote to the community. I am committed to be involved in City activities. I will represent this City to the best of my ability. .
3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I believe the most critical issue is the Cityâ€™s continued ability to provide services at the current level or at an expanded level in a stagnant economy. The key here is to promote quality development. There are golden opportunities before us at the present time and on the horizon that will expand the sales tax base dramatically. Those include the outlet mall, currently under construction. Other opportunities include promoting quality development along the 161 corridor and with the addition of service roads on I-30 and I-20, the City must be a key player in promoting the type of development that will ensure a continued and stable revenue stream to fund present and future City services.
City of Grand Prairie District 5 Glen Hill—Page 3
I also believe the City needs to aggressively pursue funding that may be available through State and Federal grants. During my tenure with the Police Department we were fortunate to win many competitive grants that allowed us to fund equipment purchases, offset salaries for beginning positions, and partially fund other positions. The net result was that millions of dollars were able to be used in other programs because of the addition of State and Federal Grants. The bottom line is that as Grand Prairie continues to grow in population, we must also be smart and bring on new revenue producing projects that will not add additional burden to the residential tax base.
3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? For over 31 years I served the City of Grand Prairie as a Police Officer. I served in many capacities during my career, advancing through the ranks to the level of Chief. I served as Chief from February 1998 till my retirement in January 2011. During my tenure as Chief I had the opportunity to work with elected officials, city management and key city staff members. I established positive and successful working relationships during this time that will be an asset to me as a City Councilmember. I have been involved in the community, volunteering my services to many organizations. Below is a partial listing of my activities that demonstrate my commitment to our community. Past District Chairman Boys Scouts of America Active adult leader in BSA Troop 500 Past board member Grand Prairie United Charities Participated in numerous Habitat for Humanity residential construction projects Active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Organized numerous blood drives for Carter Blood Bank Established the Sgt. Gregory L. Hunter Memorial Scholarship for Grand Prairie students. Member and Past president Grand Prairie Host Lions Club Past officer of PTA Participated in numerous “Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful” projects Past member of Eisenhower Elementary Campus Improvement Committee Past Chairman of the North Texas Regional Computer Forensics Lab Member International Association of Chiefs of Police Happily married to Mary Watson Hill for 35 years Proud and blessed to be the father of five wonderful children, Cathe, Christy, Rex, Cherie, and Ashley. And the proud Grandfather of five grandsons and three granddaughters!
City of Grand Prairie District 6 Ron Jensenâ€”Incumbent Occupation With Control Products Corporation since 1972, currently President/Owner Academic Graduated from Grand Prairie High School in 1969 Graduated from UT Arlington with a BA in Psychology in 1973. Received Distinguished Alumni Award 2008 Public Service Elected to represent District 6 in 2002 and re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Named Mayor Pro Tem in 2003 and 2010. Currently serves on the Council Finance and Government Committee. Previously served on the cityâ€™s Housing Finance Corporation. Member of TIF Districts 2 and 3. Also, serves as the city representative on the Regional Transportation Committee and on the North Texas Council of Government Executive Board. Serves on the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corporation. Represents city on the HWY 360 task force that meets regularly with TXDOT and NTTA concerning the completion 360 south to 287. Previously served as Chairman of the YMCA board for two terms, YMCA Sports Committee Chair; YMCA Campaign Chairman for two years; Past President of Grand Prairie Rotary Club, also served as Secretary-Treasurer for two years; former member of DFW Medical Hospital Board; Past Board Member of the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce Public Servant Award 2004. Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year Award 2007. Personal Married for 40 years, wife Rebecca (both graduates of Grand Prairie High), three children Eric, Jennifer and Nichole. ( all three graduates of South Grand Prairie) Three grand children, Hannah, Victoria and Jackson. Grand Prairie resident since 1963. Member and Trustee at Matthew Road Baptist Church.
City of Grand Prairie District 6 Ron Jensen Page 2 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for
Grand Prairie? I know this. I'm a much better and effective council member now than when I was first elected. It takes a while to understand all the different issues facing a city. I have served or currently serve on a number of different committees. Those include the council development committee, Housing Finance Committee, Grand Prairie Sports Development Board, member of TIF Districts 2 and 3, member of council Finance and Government Committee, Regional Transportation Council, Executive Board of the North Texas Council of Government (1st ever representative from Grand Prairie) These roles have taken time to achieve and have allowed me to build relationships that open doors and gets people to hear and help with our issues. South Grand Prairie needs a strong advocate to keep pushing Hwy 360 expansion and other issues facing the district I represent. That's one reason Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen are endorsing me. They have seen how hard I've worked for our common goals.
2. What do you feel is the single most critical issue facing our City today? How will you address it? If you are an incumbent, how have you been addressing the issue? Transportation. After years of being held up in Federal Court, 161 was finally cleared for construction. We have to capitalize on it. Roads bring much needed transportation capacity which brings development that we desperately need to keep our city sustainable. Soon after being elected to the council, I was appointed by the council to serve as our representative on the Regional Transportation Council "RTC". I have worked very hard building relationships with the decision makers on the RTC and have been an outspoken advocate for Grand Prairie. This includes testifying in Austin on our behalf in front of the Senate Transportation Committee when it appeared 161 would again be delayed. Fortunately, after working with Senator Harris all day on an amendment, 161 was removed from the list of projects being delayed. I continue to work with city leaders from Mansfield, Cedar Hill and Arlington to get 360 completed, which is vital to south Grand Prairie. We meet regularly with TXDOT and NTTA to keep pressure on them and continue to look for funding alternatives.
City of Grand Prairie District 6 Ron Jensen Page 3 If re elected, I will continue to be a strong spokesperson for Grand Prairie and build on the relationships I've made to make sure we are kept abreast of funding opportunities available. Just this past year, we've been able to capitalize on Federal, State and County participation allowing us to spend 11 cents on the dollar for close to $170,000,000.00 worth of transportation needs. I have worked hard for Grand Prairie to establish myself as a leader in the transportation community. Grand Prairie needs that voice. My voice. 3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I started working for Mr. Hanks at Control Products 40 years ago. We sell aircraft lighting components world wide. We don't need community involvement for business reasons. However, Mr. Hanks always promoted giving back and getting involved in the city we lived in and worked in. he always did and it was hard not to follow his lead. Here's a list of some of the positions I held prior to being elected. YMCA Board Member YMCA Board President (2 terms) YMCA annual fund drive Chair (twice) President Dickinson Elementary PTA (2 terms) President of South Grand Prairie's Cheerleader booster club (2 terms) Board Member DFW Hospital Sunday School teacher at Matthew Road Baptist for 20 years Past President Grand Prairie Rotary Club Chamber Board member I never did this seeking a resume for future political aspirations. Just felt it was the right thing to do. An opportunity opened up on Council when a long term member decided not to run and I decided to give it a shot and see if I could make a difference. It's been very time consuming and hard work, but also very rewarding because I know I have made a difference.
Early Voting begins April 30 and runs through May 8 Election Day is May 12, 2012
City of Grand Prairie District 6 Cheryl Rios Cheryl Rios is a communications specialist who has more than twenty years of experience directing local and regional media relations, along with event planning, marketing, video production, branding, community relations and corporate sponsorships. Since 2002 she has been instrumental in creating the communications plans and policies for Texans Can! She brings a passion and dedication to helping young Texans have a second chance in life as an experienced communications professional who can share information about the many student success stories with the media and the public. In the past twenty years Rios has had the opportunity to work in many areas of the journalism, public affairs and communications fields. That experience has given her the ability to communicate with many different audiences internally and externally from Texans Can! Her key driving point is to always work to increase positive awareness about the educational opportunities available at all Texans Can! campuses across the state and develop resources to directly help the students. As Vice President of Communications for Texans Can!, Rios handles all media relations, crisis and management communication plans, marketing, advertising and planning for multiple events. In addition she manages the car program, which is the largest fund raising effort of the non-profit. Rios began her career working as a civic public information officer. She learned how to navigate municipal media relations from crisis communications to Public Service Announcements. She moved to the Dallas market where for five years she was a producer/reporter/editor with the number one rated television station in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. She developed invaluable contacts and experience from having worked on both sides of the camera that she brought with her to lead the communications department at Texans Can! Since Rios has managed the car program for Texans Can!, revenue has more than doubled. She lead the organization to create an auction network via online donations and implemented online bidding. She creates and supervises her departmentâ€™s budgets and manages a staff of 40+ in her departmentâ€™s responsibilities. Rios is the spokesperson to the media for Texans Can and administers all advertising development and placement. Rios is a native of New York and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Journalism from Evangel University in Missouri. When not working, she enjoys cooking, playing with her dog and likes spending every minute she can with her teenage son and her family.
City of Grand Prairie District 6 Cheryl Rios Page 2 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for
Grand Prairie? City council is not a profession; there is no job description. It is about taking a turn serving the community. Council members should love the City of Grand Prairie, aspire to keep its quality of life, be willing to make sacrifices, desire to cultivate relationships, and commit to a high level of integrity. Those who say they have special qualifications are those who come with agendas that are usually in conflict with what is best for Grand Prairie. I understand responsible finance and budgets, the importance of public safety and the significance of environmental preservation.
2. What do you feel is the single most critical issue facing our City today? How will you address it? If you are an incumbent, how have you been addressing the issue? The most important issues facing Grand Prairie are environmental preservation and protection, traffic and development. Solutions and decisions regarding these issues must reflect the needs of our community at large and preserve the city's general plan. How will you address it? Once elected I want to review every and all aspects of what is on the books, where al the natural gas wells are and how long their leases are for. I also want to see a full review of the water supply and what we can do to protect it.
3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I have served as a City Commissioner on the Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful Commission, a member of the Chamber, very active in my past and current home owners associations and a supporter of our schools and businesses.
i believe that voting is the first act of building a community as well as building a country. John Ensign
City of Grand Prairie District 8 At Large Greg Giessner—Incumbent I am a lifelong, third generation, resident of Grand Prairie and I received my education from the Grand Prairie public school system. I am a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Political Science. Married to Kelly Giessner for 14 years, we are the proud parents of 11 year old twin boys. I have been employed in our family business, Giessner Insurance Agency, for 17 years. We have served our clients in Grand Prairie and the DFW Metroplex for over 23 years. I feel fortunate to work and raise my family here and to call Grand Prairie my home. I consider it an honor, as well as an obligation, to return what I can to the community that provides so much to me and my family. Community Service: I have had the privilege of serving our community in several capacities and I greatly enjoy the relationships and friendships that develop by participating in many of the daily activities that make this a great city. I appreciate your support and ask for your vote May 12, 2012. Grand Prairie City Council Member – Place 8 At Large – May 2009 to present Finance and Government Committee – Grand Prairie City Council – May 2009 to present Grand Bank of Texas – Board of Directors – May 2005 to present Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce – Chairman of the Board 2004 N. Central TX Health Care Facilities Dev. Corp. – Board of Directors 2002 – 2009 Mountain Lake District – Boy Scouts of America – District Chairman 2006 – 2008 GP Chamber of Commerce – Government & Legislative Committee Chair Children First Counseling Center – Past President / Board of Directors – Ex Officio Grand Prairie Metro Rotary Club – President 2000 to 2001
City of Grand Prairie District 8 At Large Greg Giessner Page 2
1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a City Council Member for Grand Prairie? My qualifications have developed through the years of managing a private business, serving on boards and commissions and the experience I have gained serving on the Grand Prairie City Council. Private business has taught me how to manage people, finances and the day to day operations that are required to maintain a successful business in Grand Prairie for over 20 years. My service on boards and commissions has taught me how cooperation and dedication can accomplish goals and achievements. My service as the Place 8 At Large councilmember has taught me how to bring the private and public sectors together in order to create positive results.
2. What do you feel is the single most critical issue facing our City today? How will you address it? If you are an incumbent, how have you been addressing the issue? I feel there is no "one" single issue, but many that municipalities and the citizens face. Grand Prairie is poised for substantial growth. We must pursue economic development of retail and commercial and quality construction for housing. To do so we will have to maintain and provide for public safety, well maintained roads, develop transportation solutions and provide for adequate water to supply and sustain this growth. At the core we must also maintain fiscal responsibility as that growth is pursued.
3. Prior to seeking this position, in what capacity have you served the City of Grand Prairie? I have had the honor and privilage of serving, in some capacity, within the City of Grand Prairie, since moving back home 17 years ago after graduation from Texas Tech University. I have also spent those 17 years as an agent with our family business, the Giessner Insurance Agency. * Grand Prairie Councilmember, Place 8 At Large * Finance and Government Committee - City of Grand Prairie * Parks Board - City of Grand Prairie * Grand Bank of Texas - Board of Directors * Chairman of the Board - Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce * Vice Chair - GP Chamber / City of Grand Prairie Partnerships * Chairman - GP Chamber Government & Legislative Committee * President - Grand Prairie Metro Rotary Club * N. Central TX Health Care Facilities Dev Corp - Board of Directors * Children First Counseling Center - Past President
School Board Elections Place 5 I– Bebe Bingham Jason Claybrook Burke Hall Place 6 I—Mike Skinner Annette Brigham Place 7 I—Paul Martinez
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 BeBe Binghamâ€”Incumbent
Qualifications: Bachelor, Masters, & 25 hr. on Doctorate: all in Education Texas Certified Insurance Agent Certified Master School Board Trustee by TX Asso. School Bd. 52 year resident of Grand Prairie Enrolled Agent with IRS-not current at this time Residential and Commercial Property Owner in Grand Prairie Experience: Served 13 yr. on GP School Board: now serving 2nd yr as President Education Foundation Member for 6 years 20 yrs. Grand Prairie ISO: Teacher, Asst. Prin., & Dean at SGPHS Principal at Kennedy and Adams Middle Schools Officer at every level of PTA: Pres.of Jackson MS PTA-life member President of Grand Prairie School Principals Association Selected Secondary Principal of the Year Woman's Club of Grand Prairie Charter Member & Past President Soroptimist Club "Hall of Fame Award" Recipient Epsilon Sigma Alpha "Diana Award" for community service Undergraduate: Selected to "Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges" Employed by American Airlines(4 Yz years) resigned to get married Employed by H & R Block as tax consultant (7 vrs.) Self employed Tax consultant (23 yrs.) Member of various other organizations: GP Historical Org; Retired School Employees; Post PTA; Rejebian Book Review Club Husband, 2 children, and now grandchildren were graduated from Grand Prairie schools
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 BeBe Bingham Page 2
1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for GPISD? Qualifications: Bachelors, Masters, and 25 hours on a Doctorate--all in Education and Ed. Adm. Certified Insurance Agent 20 yrs. with GPISD as a Teacher, Asst. Principal, Dean of Instruction at SGPHS Principal at Adams and Kennedy MS 13 yrs. service on the GP School Board--now serving 2nd term as President 52 yrs. resident of Grand Prairie Officer at every level of PTA--President at Jackson MS Residential and Commercial Property Owner in Grand Prairie Previously was Enrolled Agent with IRS for tax preparation Certified Master School Board Trustee by TX Asso. School Boards Soroptimist Club "Hall of Fame Award" Recipient President of GP Principals' Asso. Selected Secondary Principal of Year Woman's Club of GP past President Epsilon Sigma Alpha "Diana Award" for community service
2. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the GPISD and how do you plan to address it? The purpose of a school district is to educate students. And, the biggest impact on educating is the TEACHER. So, those facts as our basis, our biggest issue is finding finances to cover the cost of keeping our good teachers. There are many other factors involved in running a school district, but without our teachers, nothing else will succeed. The financial crisis in our country today requires creative means to keep our schools running for excellence. Our district has already put into place a number of programs to combat the lack of school funds: extra incentives for long time teachers who retire or resign (30 yr. +); changing from self-insured medical employee benefits to company benefits; combining librarian and technology functions to reduce the number of teachers in those capacities; outsourcing cafeteria services; open enrollment to attract students who do not live in our district--this brings more state money to our district; opening Schools of Choice for students who want specialized fields; passage of a bond issue that will help in maintenance functions and rebuild older schools that will be more efficient to operate
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 BeBe Bingham Page 3
3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board? Since I have been on the board, through the generosity of the community, we have been able to pass 3 bond issues. Consequently, we have outstanding facilities. Our student success has risen even with a large increase in enrollment. Students have a much larger selection of courses with Dubiski HS and now with Schools of Choice. We have a very innovative Superintendent who has a great grasp of student needs. Our financial balance has greatly improved. We lost over $13 million in state funds this year but were able to do so without laying off teachers or deleting programs. Our fund balance is safe for next year when we will lose another $4 million from the state. Great things are happening in GPISD!
The act of voting is one opportunity for us to remember that our whole way of life is predicated on the capacity of ordinary people to judge carefully and well.â€”Alan Keyes
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Jason Claybrook
From US Army Drill Sergeant to international telecommunications expert and successful business founder– the hands-on experience and expertise to be a positive, contributive asset on the Grand Prairie Independent School District (GPISD) school board. Dedicated to improving the education experience for all GPISD students, Jason’s ongoing efforts on the GPISD Education Foundation 2009-present, and as GPISD Education Foundation, President 2011-2012 has produced significant results, including more money spent in the classroom each year while maintaining a healthy reserve for future needs. Jason’s commitment to his community is also clearly evident in his participation and leadership on the YMCA Board of Management 2005-2011, YMCA Advisory Board 2011-present, and YMCA Partners With Youth Campaign Chair 2008-2010. For his time and successful efforts, Jason was awarded the YMCA Sam G Winstead Volunteer of the Year 2009. Jason is also a member of Rotary International 2010-present, serving on the Rotary Executive Board (Club Services) from 2011-present. Jason earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2008, subsequently receiving the Avnet, Inc. Outstanding Achievement Award for Leadership and Development of Enterprise Transformation Strategies. Jason is a founder, Managing Partner and President of Fast Armadillo (www.fastarmadillo.com), his state-of-the-art web development firm that has nearly doubled in revenue every year since being founded in 2005. Jason’s wife Niki is an Internet guru at Fast Armadillo, and they have two daughters, both select soccer players, the oldest participating in a NJHS, track, basketball, and the Olympic Development soccer program for North Texas, while the youngest was recently selected to display her original art in the Reflections Contest at the state level.
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Jason Claybrook Page 2 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for Grand Prairie Independent School District? I, like the other candidates, have deep roots and strong ties to the City of Grand Prairie in general, and the public education system in particular. But that is not what distinguishes me as a candidate for the Board. I bring a unique perspective for framing, assessing and solving business problems. The kind of problems the district faces now cannot be effectively resolved with the same level of thinking weâ€™ve had over the last few years. The varieties of challenges we face have become increasingly complex, and the resources available for addressing the issues have shrunk. Like it or not we are faced with the challenge of accomplishing so much more with less. This requires someone willing to innovate and discover opportunities no one has seen. That generally requires a new perspective. I believe that I can bring that perspective. My professional experience has taught me to take problems that seem impossible, and turn them into opportunities, developing solutions that are bold and effective. 2. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the Grand Prairie Independent School District and how do you plan to address it? The greatest challenge facing the district is how to drive to excellence when the same or perhaps even less funding is available. How do we continue to strengthen our capacity to provide an environment that cultivates the talents and taps the potential of every student we are privileged to serve? In short, we must work smarter and find a way. Part of doing more includes bringing more students into our system at the preKindergarten level and using that opportunity to instill good educational patterns and habits that will enhance the educational experience for them for the rest of their scholastic careers. The school experience primer, if you will, sets solid study habits and positive educational experience at an early age to serve our students for the rest of their lives. This should happen within our existing budget. In fact, many of the programs needed are already available and federally funded, but we fail in adequately communicating these programs and identifying ideal students. Where necessary, our school board should do whatever they can to find necessary funding for this crucial requirement. Numerous studies demonstrate that the overall return on investment for such programs clearly surpasses remediation and other programs required for students that fall behind in their early school years. I believe the impact of such a program would be profound, better preparing GPISD students for a future full of challenges â€“ exactly what schools should do.
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Jason Claybrook Page 3 3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board? If you are running against an incumbent, what do you want to achieve during your time in office that your opponent has not addressed and what steps will you take to accomplish that? I’m in an interesting 3-candidate race: an incumbent, another challenger and myself. The incumbent has spent most of her life in public education and while I wouldn't challenge her reason(s) for serving, our school districts performance during her 13-year tenure is less than adequate in my opinion. Grand Prairie's children deserve the best - positive change in their scholastic experience to prepare them for the future. I believe the changes I propose, my professional experience and working with many local organizations to bring positive programs to fruition, can help deliver the GPISD our students need and deserve. A major area for improvement resides in the board’s primary responsibility to encourage transparency and ensure that the community as a whole recognizes and understands the vision, strategy, and actions commenced by the district. I believe our school board should communicate with parents and tax payers much more effectively than is currently the case. As the owner of a successful Web development company, I know firsthand that we live in a society where information is readily available at a moment’s notice. Communicating with concerned parents can occur quickly, efficiently, and directly, without distortion, allowing the GPISD school board to address issues and concerns on behalf of our students and allowing our school board to face our problems and challenges by the means that most effectively serve our primary stakeholder – the students of GPISD. Currently, this ability is lacking in the GPISD school board, and one of my first objectives is to significantly improve two-way communications. In my profession, satisfied customers are the ones willing to leave and go somewhere else. We’ve seen that here in Grand Prairie – Mansfield has been the refuge for dissatisfied parents from Grand Prairie for a while now. GPISD can do better. From my involvement with the district, I have familiarity with many of the initiatives underway. I’m confident, if the district could improve its ability to communicate a planned, strategic direction, fewer parents would depart and more would invest themselves into their children’s education.
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Jason Claybrook Page 4 Our problems require strong leadership for resolution. I can provide that leadership, especially for creating a positive scholastic environment where every student can become a critical thinker, with a strong thirst for knowledge. An important, intrinsic part of this objective is to refine communications between the GPISD school board and parents, students, and taxpayers, so that all are part of an evolving dialogue specifically designed to give GPISD students the best education possible. That, I firmly believe, is the reason we have a school board in Grand Prairie. That is what I intend to bring about as part of that school board.
Main Early Voting Locations Dallas County Records Building Dallas County voters only 509 Main Street Dallas Texas 75202 Tarrant County Election Center Tarrant County voters only 2700 Premier Street Fort Worth Texas 76111 Branch early voting locations within Grand Prairie Crosswinds High School Dallas County voters only 1100 N Carrier Parkway Garner Elementary School Dallas County voters only 145 Polo Road Starrett Elementary School Tarrant County voters only 2675 Fairmont Drive
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Burke Hall I was born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas and I am a lifetime member of the First Baptist Church. I am the son of a GPISD teacher and a real estate appraiser. The best legacy my family ever left me was my strong Christian upbringing and a strong work ethic. My parents instilled into my brother and I that our education was at the top of our priority list just behind our religion and character. I have been a licensed professional real estate inspector since 2004 and my wife and I currently own and operate Gopher Home Inspection. I have also brokered building materials since 2008. The reason I am running for school board is very personal. My family and I have been greatly affected by the current state of our school district. A couple of years ago my wife and I were engaged in a custody battle. We lost primary custody simply because “Kennedy Middle School” (where she was to attend school the following school year) was rated “unacceptable” by the TEA. The judge felt that GPISD was far inferior to the Arlington School District and ordered her father primary custodian due to the differences in TEA ratings. This is why this campaign is so personal to me. I hope no other family has to go through what we did and I intend to do everything in my power to ensure no family ever has to experience this again.
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 5 Burke Hall Page 2 1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for rie Independent School District?
Intention is the most important attribute to consider when electing a representative for public service. I believe honesty, integrity and ethics are far more important than experience. These are the principals that define leadership. The real question should be “What has qualified experience from other board members done for our district?” I personally have never been a part of the Grand Prairie political machine. I do not want to be on the city council someday and I am not trying to gain exposure and use a school board position as a ‘political stepping stone’. I care deeply for my children and all other students in GPISD. I know I can make GPISD better, because on the issues I have the right solution. I ask you to please educate yourself on the issues we face and then decide which is more important – friendship and personal affiliation or I am going to vote for the person who stands for right ideals. If you choose the latter, then I am the candidate you should support. 2. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the Grand Prairie Independent School District and how do you plan to address it? The biggest issue facing our school district is the way we are currently conducting business. I am convinced that the standards we have in place are inadequate, hence I believe we need an ‘absolute’ ethics policy that prohibits nepotism, cronyism and insider deals. My two opponents are unwilling to commit to putting policies in place that prevent the hiring of family members, prevent public tax dollars from being spent with vendors with whom they have personal ties and they are opposed to putting additional protections in place that ensure no favoritism is given to friends. We cannot continue as a district to conduct business in a way that draws public scrutiny. I want an ethics policy in place that prohibits the district from hiring family members of the superintendent and the school board. I want an ethics policy that does away with “no bid” contracts, and prohibits the superintendent and board members from doing business with companies where a conflict of interest is apparent.
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All of these controversial actions have occurred numerous times in just the past four years and the result has been a divided community. Why? Some believe we can run our district like private enterprise. I believe that public tax dollars are different and therefore the approach we may view as acceptable in the private sector is not appropriate when dealing with the “peoples” money. First and foremost, we need to restore public trust and to ensure these controversial practices end – now. How can our citizens trust that the board and the superintendent are acting in the best interests of the school district if they continue to do business the way have over the past 5 years? Beyond restoring public confidence in our school system, I am also committed to restoring our reputation in the metroplex. This past year alone 14 different campuses had their academic ratings fall significantly. Said another way when our students reach high school nearly half will be forced to attend a campus that is rated “academically unacceptable”. Why? Teachers are being overburdened with unnecessary paperwork, student discipline has deteriorated, overall morale is low and community involvement is on the decline partially due to the controversy regarding the spending of our tax dollars. If you honor me with your vote, I firmly promise that I will stand up against these issues. 3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board? If you are running against an incumbent, what do you want to achieve during your time in office that your opponent has not addressed and what steps will you take to accomplish that? My first goal would be to listen to everyone. Not just the administration, but teachers and parents on why our school system is struggling. For two years I have tried to get an answer from the school district as to why so many schools in GPISD are rated “unacceptable” and why I have heard so much grumbling about the working conditions in GPISD. I have yet to hear an acceptable answer. It seems the first answer of choice is to blame the State of Texas and state politicians. The second answer I have heard is that it simply takes time to change and I should be patient. Now I am being told it is the challenging demographic(s) in GPISD. To me these sound like excuses from a leadership that has not made significant improvement over the past 5 years. We must do a better job of identifying why our students in some areas are not achieving successful test scores and we need to do a better job of implementing programs and policies that will give them the help and tools they need to succeed. We also must implement more effective ways to discipline our students and give more control to the teachers and staff to keep order in their classrooms.
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I also want to see an ethics policy implemented that sets GPISD standards above any in the State of Texas. This would not only do a great deal to bolster GPISDâ€™s public image, but it would also protect board members and the superintendent (present and future) from scrutiny. I also believe this would go a long way in repairing a damaged work culture within GPISD. We cannot continue to do business in a way that draws scrutiny from the public and teachers. Cronyism, Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest are not only wasting our taxpayer dollars, but they are detrimental to the work environment within our district. I have spoken to many teachers and I hear a similar theme among all. The teachers do not feel they have a voice. They do not feel they are listened to. They are loaded down with paperwork and are not given authority to control their classrooms. If we want to have and keep the best teachers in GPISD, then we must have a work environment they will want to be in. I truly believe that happy teachers make better students. My mother retired from GPISD years ago and I am very familiar with the struggles she had as a teacher back then. I also understand that the teachers today have to contend with much more. I will be dedicated to making GPISD a better place to teach and a better place to learn.
People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote -- a very different thingâ€?. - Walter H Judd
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 6 Mike Skinner Education: Texas Tech University School of Law 1993 JD Texas Tech University 1990 BBA – Finance South Grand Prairie High 19 Professional: Thorne & Skinner Attorneys At Law 1993 - Present Associate Judge Grand Prairie Municipal Court 1999 – 2001 Texas State Bar License 1993 – Present Texas Trial Lawyers Association Trial Advocacy College 1999 Community: GPISD Board of Trustees 2006 – Present President 2010 - 2011 Vice President 2007 - 2008 GPISD Education Foundation 2000 – Present President 2004 - 2006 Vice President 2003 - 2004 GPISD Bond Election Committee 2000 & 2003 Grand Prairie Parks Board 2000 - 2006 Chair 2005 - 2006 Vice Chair 2002 - 2005 Grand Prairie Rotary Friday Club 2001 – Present President Elect 2011 - 2012 Club Service Chair 2004 - 2006 Children First Counseling Center Board of Directors 1994 -1998 Chair 1996 - 1998 Vice Chair 1995 - 1996 American Heart Association 1995 - 1996
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 6 Mike Skinner Page 2 1.
Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for the Grand Prairie Independent School District? Having served on the board for the past 6 years, I am knowledgeable of the various functions and requirements involved in the operation of the school district. I believe my experience on the board and familiarity with the district will be beneficial in dealing with new challenges and in further developing our vision for the future. I am proud to have been a part of the innovative and important changes that have contributed to the district’s improvement and continued progress. I know what a board member’s role should be, and I have been able to work well with other board members and the district administration, even when there has been disagreement. Similarly, I am accustomed to fielding inquiries and addressing the concerns from parents and/or taxpayers in an appropriate manner. I have a natural interest in continuing to serve the GPISD. I grew up in Grand Prairie and attended school here. I’ve lived here all of my life and my business is located in Grand Prairie. In addition, my own children are currently attending schools in the district.
In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the Grand Prairie Independent School District and how do you plan to address it? The decrease in state education funding presents substantial challenges not only for GPISD, but also for district’s across the state. I am pleased with our administration’s proactive approach to this problem well in advance of the last legislative session. Our people anticipated the sizeable cuts in state funding and planned accordingly. As a result our district was still able to maintain a balanced budget, and we did so without the large number of layoffs seen in many other districts. Additional cuts in state funding are anticipated going forward, so this represents a continued challenge. I believe we can once again minimize the impact on our students and employees with plenty of advanced planning, making some difficult decisions, and by identifying solutions that create greater efficiencies.
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3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board. If you are running against an incumbent, what do you want to achieve during your time in office that your opponent has not addressed and what steps will you take to accomplish that? During my first year we passed the 2007 Bond and hired Dr. Susan Hull, and since that time the district has made improvements and progress in many areas. One fundamental change was the implementation of a vertically and horizontally aligned curriculum throughout the district. Upgrades were made to our information management systems for such things as attendance, grading, parent communication, employee payroll, and benefits. This is part of the reason that our student attendance is up and our dropout rate has substantially declined over the last several years. The decrease in the dropout rate also coincided with the opening of Crosswinds High School â€“ where students who might otherwise be at risk of dropping out can complete their high school credits at an accelerated rate and graduate. The district has also focused on data analysis to identify trends, strengths, and weaknesses, and can then deploy resources as necessary toward areas of need. Other accomplishments would include the opening of Dubiski Career High School; successfully navigating the cuts in state education funding; passing the 2011 Bond; developing the schools of choice (academies for Fine Arts, Leadership, Law and Criminal Justice, Math and Science, etc.); initiating programs for Early Childhood Education; and on overall pattern of growth in school performance under the accountability ratings.
â€œThe ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. John F. Kennedy
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 7 Paul E. Martinez I am a lifelong resident of Grand Prairie and product of the GPISD, attending Milam Elementary, attending Jackson Middle School, graduating from South Grand Prairie High School and earning a BS in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. I am an Information Technology executive, and until recently, I was a Vice President at Capgemini U.S. LLC, a global consulting company where I helped clients solve their business problems, focusing on technology solutions. I believe in the public school system and am the proud parent of two GPISD students in middle school and high school. I have served on the school board for the past 13 years, bringing the experience of working with many different board make-ups as board positions have turned over.
1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for Grand Prairie Independent School District? Having served the past thirteen years on the GPISD school board, I have a deep understanding of the role of a school board member, particularly in holding the superintendent accountable for student achievement. During my tenure on the board, I have demonstrated leadership in being elected by my trustee peers for the officer positions of Board President, Vice President and Secretary multiple times. As a Vice President for a global consulting company, I possess a strong business acumen which has been honed over the past 21 years of helping clients solve their business issues. I regularly leverage this strength to ask insightful questions and work well as a member of the board/superintendent team. I am encouraged by the direction the district is heading under our current superintendent, Dr. Hull and am seeking re-election in order to continue to oversee the progress that is starting to be realized.
2. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the Grand Prairie Independent School District and how do you plan to address it? The biggest issue facing the GPISD is the state legislatureâ€™s decision to not fully fund public education. Grand Prairie has not been exempt from the impact of decreased state funding for public education and has faced many of the same challenges being experienced by districts across the state. However, we have not been forced to make the drastic decision of laying off teachers, assessing additional fees on parents for services and cutting extracurricular programs. GPISD proactively began preparing for this financial catastrophe in the 2007-2008 school year. We were able to pass a balanced budget by incorporating such measures as: repurposing and rezoning existing facilities; aligning expenditures on our â€œ5 Playsâ€? for student achievement; aggressively targeting student attendance to maximize WADA; reassessing job vacancies and eliminating them, where feasible; assessing departments or functions that can be eliminated, curtailed, or reorganized; and providing financial incentives to staff for providing early notification of their intent to resign or retire to enable staff planning. Increasing the tax rate is not the answer to solving a state-created
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 7 Paul E. Martinez Page 2 departments or functions that can be eliminated, curtailed, or reorganized; and providing financial incentives to staff for providing early notification of their intent to resign or retire to enable staff planning. Increasing the tax rate is not the answer to solving a state-created problem. In fact, GPISD has not had a tax increase in over 8 years. We will continue to implement such proactive measures as a movement to larger elementary schools but not larger class sizes. It is more cost effective to operate fewer elementary campuses due to the reduction in operating costs. Ultimately, this will save jobs and many wonderful programs such as elementary fine arts while allowing us to remain competitive salary-wise. Changes will have to be made but we intend to make these changes over the long-term that will put the district in a good financial position while enabling us to put sound instructional programs in place to best serve our students' needs.
3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board? Since joining the Board, I have helped bring the role of a board member to the forefront of our operating mode to the point where micromanagement is no longer a perception. There was a time when micromanagement was a reality in this district. I have contributed to our oversight role in holding the superintendent accountable as evidenced by the hiring of a new superintendent when it was recognized that the district needed a new direction. In addition, I have helped push for a superintendent evaluation that was based on specific measurable goals focused primarily on increasing student achievement for all students and maintaining strong fiscal responsibility. I have overseen the successful build out of three bond packages, with a fourth underway, which were desperately needed to address the districtâ€™s significant growth. I have consistently adopted budgets that supported keeping our teacher salaries competitive with area districts and maximizing the total compensation package for our employees. I have supported innovative thinking to address the needs of our district which has resulted in the establishment of our Dubiski Career High School and, more recently, our move to launch a significant effort to expand our school of choice opportunities across the district. In doing so, we are providing parents the power to choose the best school experience for their child. Finally, I have brought leadership to the board by serving in the officer positions of President, Vice President and Secretary, after being elected by my trustee peers.
Grand Prairie ISD Board of Trustees Place 7 Steve Pryor
Born and raised in suburban Chicago, I’ve been a metroplex resident for the last 31 years, and a Grand Prairie resident for 11 years. Married to the lovely Kathie Pryor, we have a son named Christian who is currently a 4th grader at Colin Powell Elementary. I am employed by Cumulus Media, working as the Production Director for KTCK-AM, “Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket”, KLIF-FM “I93” and KPLX-FM, “99-5 The Wolf”. My wife is self-employed as a medical transcriptionist, and also works as a pre-school teacher for The Oaks Academy at The Oaks Baptist Church. An Army veteran, I received my BA in Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1993. We attend St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church here in Grand Prairie, and stay active in the Men of Powell program, in Upward and YMCA sports, and in Cub Scouts.
1. Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a School Board Member for Grand Prairie Independent School District? My grandfather was a schoolteacher and an administrator, and I was raised with a love of reading and a passion for education. I want to share that passion with the students of GPISD as a school board member, and work to get every child in the district the best possible education. As an active, involved parent, I feel that I am qualified to help guide the district, and will bring a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective to our school board.
2. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing the Grand Prairie Independent School District and how do you plan to address it? I believe the biggest issue facing GPISD is declining school ratings. 14 of our schools dropped in the ratings from 2010 to 2011, including 4 schools that dropped to ‘Academically Unacceptable”. We MUST set high standards, and hold the administration accountable so that they meet those goals. Declining ratings affect property values and drives students to other school options, both of which affect the financial health of the district. If elected, I’ll work with Superintendent Hull to lead and inspire our teachers to raise our ratings each year.
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3. If you are an incumbent, what have been your accomplishments since joining the Board? As stated above, I want to help the district raise our academic rating by being an active, involved board member. In the past 3 years, my opponent has missed almost half of the regularly scheduled board meetings, including 9 meetings just last year. Grand Prairie needs and deserves a board member that attends ALL the meetings, and if elected, I will represent this district by standing up for all the stakeholders in the district. Iâ€™ll represent everyone, from students and teachers, to parents, the administration, and taxpayers. We all have a stake in GPISD, and we need a representative that will show up at meetings, ask the hard questions, and be an independent voice willing to hold the administration responsible for raising ratings.
Dates and times of early voting shall be: April 30 May 4 Monday through Friday Dallas and Tarrant County 8 am 5 pm May 5 Saturday Dallas County 8 am 5 pm Tarrant County 7 am 7 pm May 6 Sunday Dallas County 1 pm 6 pm Tarrant County 11 am 4 pm May 7 May 8 Monday and Tuesday Dallas and Tarrant County 7 am 7 pm Application for early voting mail ballots by voters qualified to vote by mail shall be made as Follows: Dallas County voters may make application for mail ballots directly to the Dallas County Elections Administrator 2377 N Stemmons Freeway Suite 820 Dallas Texas 75207 Tarrant County voters may make application for mail ballots directly to the Tarrant County Elections Administrator 2700 Premier Street Fort Worth Texas 76111 Applications for ballots by mail must be received no later than May 4 2012
We live in a society where decisions are made by those who show up. Our freedom to raise our voices to speak out about the type of community in which we want to live was bought and paid for at a high price. It is our privilege, our right and our obligation to exercise that freedom. Inform yourself and vote. Donâ€™t let your voice be silent. Early Voting begins April 30â€”May 8 VOTE MAY 12, 2012.