Election 2022 graphic

Celina voters who live in Prosper ISD boundaries will have a chance to select three PISD Board of Trustees members starting Monday.

Prosper ISD Board of Trustees Places 1, 3 and 6 are up for election. Early voting will take place from April 25-30 and from May 2-3. Election day is May 7.

Three people have filed to run for Place 1: Jorden Dial, Kristin Meier and Kerry Antwine.

Three people have filed to run for Place 3: Incumbent Kelly Cavender and challengers Nataly Huddleston and Lanford Rodgers.

Two people have filed to run for Place 6: Lane Chamblee and Garrett Linker.

Polling location information is available on the Collin and Denton county election webpages: collincountytx.gov/elections and votedenton.gov.

The Celina Record reached out to each of the PISD Board of Trustees candidates, asking them to answer a series of questions. 

Editor’s note: Candidates are put in order as they are listed on the Prosper ISD website. Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses by the given deadline.

In your opinion, what is the most important decision facing the district today? How would you address it?

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

Growth.  Everyone feels it and is impacted by it.  Our students feel it by the how many students are in their class(es).  Our staff feels it by having to have a shared classroom or be in a portable.  Our families feel it by the traffic at car lines.  As a district we need to continue identifying and purchasing land for future growth, on top of what we already currently have.  We need to think strategically on when and how best to build new schools. We need to ensure we are using sound demographic data to support decisions and always be good stewards with money and time.  At the same time, working diligently to recruit new staff to support the growth and providing opportunities for staff who have been a part of the growth.

Kristin Meier

I think the district has some real challenges while the growth of the community out paces state funding year to year. House Bill 3, which was passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, provided a great stepping stone in bridging the gap between state and local shares. We had a big win for the ISD when the 2019 Bond Program passed, which allows the district to borrow funds and sell bonds to build our much-needed facilities. Unfortunately, we will see increased cost, longer lead times and possible shortage of materials due to our current supply chain issues. With new facilities comes the need to recruit high caliber staff. This will be challenging as education has not escaped the staffing shortages we are seeing across the nation. It will be vital to support the ISDs’ administration as they find the best possible solutions in these unprecedented times.

Kerry Antwine

Everyone who moves to Prosper lists the schools as a top reason for their decision. The priority for the administration and the board must be to preserve the conservative values that brought people to Prosper to begin with. My motivation to run for a school board position is to represent parents as they seek this same goal.

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

Staffing – Hiring and keeping quality admin, teachers, aids, bus drivers, lunch workers and custodians.  Teachers are leaving the profession at a record high rate and teacher programs across the country are reporting shrinking enrollment for future teachers.  We must find ways to keep and hire amazing new teaches and think outside of the box when hiring.  We must be competitive in salaries and benefits plus find unique ways to show teachers appreciation.  

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline.

Lanford Rodgers

The most important decision facing the district today is how to keep our students globally competitive and safe.

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

Growth is the biggest problem facing PISD today.  We have over 2,500 students moving to the distract each year, how can we be creative to build schools faster to reduce our reliance on portables.  I think we will be building faster than originally planned and reviewing plans to make sure the facilities we are building are big enough.  Along with the facilities, how do we attract and retain the top teachers in the area.  We need to make sure that PISD staff is paid at a rate that is at least comparable to or above our surrounding districts.

Garrett Linker

During this campaign, I have knocked nearly 3,000 doors and though many of the same issues keep showing up again and again (bullying, special education, and teacher support, just to name a few,) they all seem to boil down to the same core concern; how do we maintain our small-town gem of a district while also becoming one of the top "destination districts" in all of Texas? As we move through explosive growth, all things will grow, including our problems.  That is why I am advocating for high levels of transparency, increased parental involvement, and consistency of policy/procedure across campuses, so we can handle issues of concern with the small-town care and grace that we've come to expect from Prosper ISD, no matter how large our district may grow.


Do you think the district is heading in the right direction? Why or why not?

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

Yes, I believe that Prosper ISD is and will continue to be a great district that is sought after by many.  Our district continues to be high performing and is providing opportunities for our students to achieve at the highest level. As a board member I will support the continued growth and development of programs that prepare students for the next level as well as opportunities for trade certifications or a military career.  I believe that it is important to allow our students the freedom to explore different opportunities while in our schools.  I also believe that PISD is blessed with the best staff.  Many will admit they’re not perfect, but I am so thankful they do their best to care for and educate all students in PISD.

Kristin Meier

I absolutely think Prosper ISD is heading in the right direction. Often times with growth comes some growing pains. We can look at these as an opportunity to find creative and lasting solutions that support staff and students alike. If Prosper ISD can face challenges head on and continue to welcome suggestions from the community we will continue to see great outcomes for all involved.

Kerry Antwine

The district is at a crossroads. Parents send their children to school for an education, not an indoctrination. The voice of parents must be heard loud and clear as it is them who the board represents as well as they are the ones paying the taxes.

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

Most definitely.  As a district that adds over 250 students a month we must be doing something right!  We have in place an amazing superintendent, admin, principals, teachers and support staff that work hard each day to make sure the students of PISD are receiving the best education possible.  Can there be improvement? Of course.  This is why the district set up the Prosper Promise.  Through the Prosper Promise we partner with our students, parents, staff, and community and offer over 20 connection opportunities throughout the year to serve on school committees, attend community events and learn more about the district.  This also allows the district to receive feedback direct from families and incorporate that feedback in making sure we continue to head in the right direction.

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline.

Lanford Rodgers

The district could do better by open communication with parents and taxpayers, I would like town hall meetings at each school to address any issues. 

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

I do believe the district is heading in the right direction.  Dr. Watkins and now Dr. Ferguson have done a tremendous job leading this district over the past 20 years and positioning PISD to be one of if not the best school district in north Texas.  It is not always perfect, but I want to applaud the district for changing and adapting to situations as they have developed.  To me that is what true leadership looks like.  I compare PISD to teenagers that is about to hit our growth period.  Over the next 10 years as the number of students almost double, we need strong leadership to continue to provide a welcoming and challenging education experience.

Garrett Linker

Yes, and that's evidenced by the hundreds of families that continue to relocate to Prosper every month!  However, we must be good stewards of that trajectory.  As we grow, holding our focus steady is going to be evermore challenging.  We need leaders with a keen eye for possible issues and the fortitude to tackle those issues head on before they spiral out of control.  I've seen what it looks like when the quality of public education slips below expectations, and no one is served well in that case-- not the teachers, not the parents, and definitely not the students. As your Trustee, I pledge to always look ten steps ahead when dealing with issues and formulating solutions, critically examine all possibilities, and make informed, well-thought-out decisions in the best interest of all of those that we serve.


How do you feel about how the district has handled growth so far?

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

I believe Prosper ISD leadership has managed the hyper-growth well. There are not a lot of others, if any, who can say they have planned, executed, and managed all that goes into being a hyper-growth district.  District leadership has thought strategically and outside the box and have worked with companies who have partnered with PISD and made some near impossible things happen. This includes land acquisition, design and construction, furnishing, staffing and training all while handling the everyday business of running a high performing school district. I have the opportunity to visit with other fast growing school districts across North Texas and the State and most look to Prosper ISD as a model of how best to plan, execute and manage fast growth.  This says something.

Kristin Meier

Prosper ISD has a solid plan in place for growth. The leaders of our district and our amazing community members understood the growth was coming and that we needed to try to get ahead of it when they passed the 2007 and 2019 bonds. Our schools are built on a model to save money on design and with larger core spaces.

Kerry Antwine

The growth of the district has not created a lack of first rate facilities and Prosper attracts the best teachers and administrators. The challenge ahead is keeping our culture intact. As things like CRT, inappropriate literature and gender issues sneak into the schools the reason so many came here will be lost.

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

We currently have over 250 kids per month, and almost 3,000 new kids year to date moving into the district.  We are one of the fastest growing schools in Texas.  One of the driving factors of this growth was the district opened the 2020 school year on time and in person.  We had dedicated teachers and staff that showed up to school every day to teach, and for the kids that chose to learn from home we made sure they had a virtual option.  Our admin and staff do amazing things daily for the 22,500+ kids that walk through our doors each morning.  We have amazing parents that support our schools through PTO’s and we have amazing community support with the Prosper Education Foundation that provides teachers with awards and grants for the classrooms and provides scholarships to graduating seniors.

Lanford Rodgers

I feel the district is doing okay handling the growth based on the information given, but could probably do better establishing relationships with surrounding cities on their projected growth that will feed into PISD.

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

The district has done an excellent job at handling the growth so far.  As we have rapidly grown, the district has stayed out in front of the construction process approving buildings and selecting sites for new ones.  This past year, they recognized a need for more parent involvement and so they created the Prosper Promise.  It is a program comprised of 20 plus opportunities for parents to be involved with the distract. It hasn’t been perfect, but it seems every time a blind spot has showed, the distract has been willing to pivot to find the best solution for all students.

Garrett Linker

Growth is challenging because you must learn as you go.  However, our neighboring districts have already experienced it and it's important to examine what they've done right, but also to note where they could have possibly gone in a different direction.  So far, I think we've handled the challenge of growth well, but we can't ignore the many classrooms on attendance waivers, the struggle to find subs or supervision in the high schools. As we grow, we need to also grow our on-campus human infrastructure, not just physical infrastructure and administration. Actively inviting parents to have a seat at our ever-growing table will become even more important. As someone who has witnessed the effect of bureaucracy growing larger, while desire for parental input grew smaller, I never want to see us move in that direction.  When elected, I will work tirelessly to uphold Prosper ISD's high caliber.


 

Are there any existing programs in the district that should be expanded or enhanced? Please give examples. 

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

Through my time serving with the Prosper Education Foundation, I have found an affinity for our Advanced Academics department and some of the work they do. One program they created is called RISE, which stands for Research Impacting Student Excellence. To quote from the PISD website, “The RISE Program provides an opportunity for innovative teachers in PISD to submit a proposal in order to pilot cutting-edge instructional strategies, teaching styles, or new educational approaches.” This is more work for teachers who submit a proposal, but it shows that innate passion that our educators and staff have for our students. Programs like these and others that give our staff the ability to further engage our students are important to me. Also, the Prosper Promise initiative and its focus on community engagement committees has been a great program that has allowed for meaningful connections with the community and the district.

Kristin Meier

Even the best programs can be expanded or enhanced as new technologies and tools become available along with an ever-evolving understanding of children’s educational needs.

In speaking with parents in the community I am hearing that our Special Education programs, though they have a solid foundation, require some additional support to continue to meet the demand of children who need these programs.

Continued commitment to developing the “whole child” through programs that enrich student’s education including fine arts and athletics. One such program is Suzuki strings. Suzuki strings started in PISD in 2016 at Windsong Elementary. Last school year (20/21) the program expanded to its second campus, Johnson Elementary. 

Kerry Antwine

Any program that prepares students for a career is important as our society has changed and college is not necessarily the correct choice for everyone. The nursing program is wonderful offering students the opportunity to graduate already having their CNA.

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

The PISD provides the necessary tools to allow students to achieve their personal success. We offer college readiness, career readiness, music, art or whatever drives students to succeed and become a productive member of society. On top of the basic and advanced classes provided we also offer other opportunities for students such as:

1.  Over 137 Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses: Some of the certifications we offer are Adobe Certified Associates, Microsoft Office Specialist, Floral Design, Certified Veterinary Assistant, Automotive Service Repair, Culinary Arts, Certified Nurse Aid, and others programs that help students become career or college ready.

2.Over 80% of our K-12 students are enrolled in a fine arts program. These programs range from elementary art and music to band, orchestra, choir, dance and theatre. And our newest addition of Suzuki Strings in which students in grades kindergarten through 5th learn to play the violin.

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline.

Lanford Rodgers

I would like to expand the dual language program to all kids, add STEM and trade programs. The dual language class should not be based on one Spanish speaking student to one English speaking student. Keep pushing honors and gifted and talented programs.

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

The school district this past year started Prosper Promise. There are over 20 committees/groups that parents can be a part of, whether it is volunteering in the schools or learning more about what the school district does. I am sure this will continue to grow as the district gets more feedback and ideas from the community.  

Garrett Linker

Prosper ISD has many programs already in existence both for students and for the community. One of the most notable is the Hope Squad program, which focuses on mental health and kindness. After speaking with scores of voters that feel that bullying is still a rampant issue, I believe this program would be greatly enhanced by a sister program that addresses citizenship and respect among our student body and staff. I want Prosper ISD to be a place where it's difficult to be a bully. When you create a campus culture that is incongruent with bullying, you begin to remove the social capital that bullies often feel.  This program would include students, parents, and staff and would help create a common language, common practices, and common expectations of all people on campus to create a robust culture of respect, courage and community. 


 

Are there any new programs you think the district should consider implementing? 

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

I think it’s important that we always be looking for ways to provide more opportunities for our students.  Through parent engagement, we can learn about new ideas for student engagement, so creating opportunities for district leadership and staff to have dialogue with members of our PISD community is important.

Kristin Meier

I continue to hear parents say they would love to see the opportunity to learn a foreign language at the elementary school level.

Kerry Antwine

Any program that offers an opportunity to explore HVAC, plumbing, construction should be considered as there is still a high demand for those skills. 

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

Beginning this next school year PISD will be starting an Army JROTC program. We are also beginning discussions to start an Air Force JROTC program hopefully in the next few years. We should also continue to add additional CTE courses so as our students graduate they will have a skill or certification that can be used after graduation. 

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline.

Lanford Rodgers

I would love to add electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, automotive, etc. and STEM school(s).

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

One challenge facing the district as we grow, is how do we make sure that all corners of Prosper feel a part of what we know to be so special. As we have grown and spread out, it seems we get divided up into four segments, west of the tollway, tollway to Custer, Custer to 1461 and south of 380. I think forming a group to encourage participation with equal representatives from all corners of our community would hopefully help get everyone engaged with the school district.

Garrett Linker

As I mentioned above, I would love to see a citizenship program implemented, but there is another program that I feel would be of great benefit to our students. Our music program, both band and orchestra, would be greatly enhanced if extended down into our elementary schools. Like me, many of you probably picked up your first instrument in fourth grade band or orchestra. The study of music has been shown to improve understanding of mathematical concepts, build self-esteem, and improve concentration-- all things that are a win-win for all involved.


 

What is your history of involvement in the district community? 

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

I have been active in our community and have built relationships with a large group of citizens who live in PISD through coaching my daughter’s soccer team, to attending and serving my church here in town at the Trails Church. I sat on the 2019 Bond Citizens Advisory Council, completed the Prosper Promise “Prosper University” and serve as a Watch Dog Dad at Folsom Elementary. Finally, I serve with the Prosper Education Foundation.I have served as a board member, the Vice President and currently serve as the President. My family and I also serve with Cornerstone each year.  

Kristin Meier

·Five years of PISD Parent Teacher Organization involvement, allowing me to better understand student, staff, parent and administrative perspectives.

·Was selected as a member of the 2019 PISD Bond Political Action Committee.

·Currently part of the District Site Based Planning Committee.

·PISD Ambassador.

·Member of the Parent Welcoming Committee at Prosper High School.

·Went through Prosper University; Which was designed to help participants understand how public education is governed in the state of Texas.

Kerry Antwine

N/a. 

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

I have served as a board member for the previous three years and serve on the subcommittees for Literacy, Math, and College, Career, Military Readiness, the Finance Committee and the Parent, Community, Municipalities Connections Committee. Prior to joining the board, I served on the districts strategic planning committee and attended all board meetings for 18 months prior to joining the Board.  

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline. 

Lanford Rodgers

I am active in my three kids' school activities and extracurricular activities as well as Watch Dog. 

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

Within PISD, I have volunteered as a Watch Dog when my daughters were in elementary. I have also served as a Parent Ambassador to Rogers Middle School and went through Prosper University, an in depth dive into the school district. In the community I am an active volunteer for Cornerstone North Central Texas where I also served for nine years as a board member. I am currently a 7/8 girls lacrosse coach and the Prosper Girls Youth Lacrosse League Co-director.  Prior to that I have coached volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams for my daughter.

Garrett Linker

It's no secret that I am the newest of all the candidates running. We relocated to Prosper a year and a half ago, and we knew just one family. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined all the wonderful relationships we've been able to forge. I knew I wanted to become involved in the community as soon as our roots were planted. I joined the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and got involved at Rock Creek Church. However, the most rewarding experience I've had is being a Watch Dog at my daughter's elementary school. I love being fully immersed and helping throughout the day, whether it's greeting children in the morning, reading with small groups, or helping in the STEAM room. That experience is just one of the many things that have moved me to run for school board and serve this community on a deeper level. 


 

How do you view the role of the Board of Trustees? 

PLACE 1

Jorden Dial

The Board of Trustees should exist to have local governance and oversight of serving, educating and caring for all students in Prosper ISD. As an elected trustee, our main functions are to set vision and goals and monitor success with accountability measures in place, hire and evaluate the superintendent, adopt and review policies, adopt a budget and set the ISD tax rate. A final responsibility is to be a voice for the community while always doing what is right for all students of the district.

Kristin Meier

As an active member of a team of seven, I will promote the best interests of the district as a whole. I will be continuously guided by what is best for all students of the district. The board of Trustees serves as the advocate for the educational excellence for the community’s youth and puts those interests first. Serve as a link between the community and the school district.

Kerry Antwine

I view the role of the school board first and foremost to represent the parents who elected them to office. Second, to work with the administration to implement the policies, procedures and curriculum that ensures the best opportunity for all students.

PLACE 3

Kelly P. Cavender

The law is pretty straight forward on the powers of a Trustee. A Board Trustee has five main areas of responsibility.  (1) We adopt goals and priorities and monitor their success, (2) we adopt policy, (3) we hire and evaluate the superintendent, (4) we adopt a budget and set the tax rate and (5) we must be available to our community, parents, teachers, staff and students to visit, answer question and listen to concerns. What we don’t do is get paid a salary (yes, we do this for free), hire/fire teachers or staff, create lesson plans, select books or get involved in the daily operations of the school. We oversee the district at a high level and can only act as “body corporate” and not make decisions as individual trustees.

Nataly Huddleston

Nataly Huddleston did not provide responses to Star Local Media by the given deadline.

Lanford Rodgers

The role of the Board of Trustee must always think students first and think in the best interest of the students. That means managing the budget, holding the Superintendent accountable as well as Trustees, while having open communication with parents and taxpayers and keeping our students and staff safe.

PLACE 6

Lane Chamblee

The role of the trustees falls under three categories: Setting a budget, building policy, and supporting the superintendent. There will always be questions about day-to-day operations, but that is not really what the board does. They hire and support what I think is the best superintendent in Dr. Ferguson and let her do her job. Trustees are also people you should see regularly in the community and just not at football games. Everyone in the district should feel supported by the trustees.

Garrett Linker

The role of the Board of Trustees, as fiduciaries, is the highest duty. A board member must always make his or her decisions with the beneficiary at the center of mind. The beneficiaries, in this case, are the students. Our students do not exist independently of themselves. They exist within a family unit (who is also the taxpayer) and a campus community. Knowing this about our beneficiaries, a board member must be free from conflicts that would prevent them from making an unbiased decision in all matters, whether it's negotiating contracts, purchasing curriculum, managing funds or creating policy. As your Trustee, I will be an effective, fair and dedicated servant to this district and its community. I promise to always be available, accessible and action oriented. I humbly ask for your vote in Place 6. 

Audrey Henvey is the reporter for the Frisco Enterprise, McKinney Courier-Gazette and Celina Record. Email her with story suggestions at ahenvey@starlocalmedia.com.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you

Load comments