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School districts in Fort Bend prepare for May 14 election

By Elsa Maxey

School districts in Fort Bend County have several board positions up for re-election this upcoming May. Among them are Fort Bend Independent School District, Stafford Municipal School District and Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. Also, Katy ISD, which has students from Harris County and a portion living in a fast growing area of Fort Bend County, and Needville ISD will hold elections for school board members on May 14th.

For the Fort Bend ISD board candidates, this Thursday, March 24, the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce will hold a candidates’ forum at its office on 445 Commerce Green Boulevard in Sugar Land from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Listed below are the school districts and the candidates that will be on the ballot.

Fort Bend ISD

Overall, eight candidates are running for three board positions.

Position 1

For this board position, a person must reside within the west side of the district. Three candidates including the incumbent filed for the position. But Kyle Brantley told the Star that he will have withdrawn his application this week. He filed to run early on when the incumbent was unopposed, but after learning that Wade Watassek would also be making a bid for the office, Brantley said he decided to withdraw and “throw my support to Wade.” Reportedly, this is intended to avoid splitting the vote which could end up unintentionally helping the Hohnbaum’s campaign.

Susan Hohnbaum, 59, an administrative manager, lives in Sugar Land. Hohnbaum is the incumbent currently serving as the board’s vice president and was first elected to Position 1 in 2008. She has lived in the school district for over 32 years.

Wade A. Watassek, 37, is risk analyst and lives in Sugar Land. Watassek is seeking a board position with the school district for the first time. He has lived in the district since he was in the second grade, in 1980.

At-large Position 4

The person for this position can reside anywhere within the district. Four candidates including the incumbent, who is seeking re-election, are running for office.

Daniel Menendez, 40, is an engineer and lives in Missouri City. Seeking re-election, he is the incumbent and was first elected to the board in Position 4 in 2008. He is currently the secretary of the board. Menendez has lived in the school district for over 9 years.

Bruce Albright, 58, a sales manager, is a Sugar Land City resident. Albright has lived in the district since 1988. He is opposing the incumbent and previously ran for the school board in 2009, and did not win.

Kevin P. Daniels, 41, is an English lecturer, and he lives in Missouri City. This is his first election bid. He has lived in the school district for over nine years.

Rodrigo Carreon, 41, lists his occupation as an activist. Carreon resides in Fresno. He has previously run for a board of trustee office and was unsuccessful during the 2009 election. He has lived in the school district for over 37 years.

Position 5

For this position, a person must reside within the east side of the district. There are two candidates running. The incumbent, Laurie Caldwell, did not file for re-election. She served for two terms amounting to six years in office.

Patsy Taylor, 51, is a counselor and lives in Fresno. This is the first time she has run for office with the school district in which she has lived for 20 years.

Jonita Reynolds, 41, chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Community Services Association, is a Missouri City resident. She previously ran for office in 2008 against the incumbent Caldwell, who decided not to seek re-election. Reynolds has lived in the school district for about 10 years.

Stafford MSD

Two at-large trustee seats are up for re-election. The top two vote-getters will take the board positions. Although Arthur J. Honore had also filed for office, last week he withdrew his application by filing a formal certificate of withdrawal.

Cindy Hoelscher, 42, is a certified public accountant and financial adviser. She is the incumbent, who has served on the school board since 2007. She has lived in Fort Bend County for 17 years and in Stafford’s school district since 1998.

Rodney Butler, 51, works for the U.S. Postal Service. He is the incumbent running for re-election and is completing his first three-year term of office. He has lived in Stafford’s school district for over 22 years.

Arturo Dwayne Jackson, 44, a senior director of customer care and customized services is seeking election on the school board for the first time. He has lived in the Stafford school district for over 14 years.

Lamar CISD

There are three board of trustee seats up for re-election with nine candidates running, two of whom are incumbents.

A new state mandate and Attorney General’s ruling requires a change in the election cycle for the LCISD trustees. Elections are required to be held on the same election date as that of city government officials whose cities are located in the school district or during the general election of state and county officials.

Also required was a change to four-year trustee terms to coincide with the terms of the officials of the partnering city, which in this case is Rosenberg. The elections for Districts 4, 5, and 7 being held this May are at the end of four-year terms. The seats are currently held by Julie Thompson, Jack Christiana and Richard McCarter. As of two years ago, all LCISD trustee elections are for four-year terms.

Below are the candidates in this district’s race:

District 4

Two candidates are running for this district position, including the incumbent.

Julie Thompson, 43, is a teacher and the board incumbent who has been in office for seven years. Thompson lives in Sugar Land and has resided in the district for 19 years.

Jamie Rhea Dozier, 41, is a vice president running against the incumbent. A resident of Richmond, she has lived in the school district for 19 years.

District 5

Four candidates are seeking the District 5 board of trustee position. The incumbent Jack Christiana is not seeking re-election. He was elected to the board in May 1998.

Steve Ginsburg, 54, is a finance manager and is seeking a board position with the school district for the first time. He resides in Richmond and has lived in the district for almost 21 years.

Dar Hakimzadeh, 42, is a real estate agent and owner of ID Construction. A Sugar Land resident, Dar has lived in the school district for over seven years.

Robert L. “Bob” Thomas Jr., 52, an attorney, seeks a board position with the school district for the first time. He lives in Richmond and has resided in the district for four years.

Lynn Franklin, 51, lists her occupation in business development. She lives in Richmond and is seeking a board position with the school district for the first time. Franklin has lived in the district for ten years.

District 7

Including the incumbent, three individuals are seeking this district board position.

Richard McCarter, 55, is a consultant and small-business owner. He is the incumbent lives in Richmond. He has held the board office for four years and has resided in the school district for over 21 years.

Gary W. Gates Jr., 51, is a real estate/business owner, who lives in Richmond. He has previously run for a position on the school board. Gates has lived in the district for 15 years.

Rhonda Zacharias, 54, is an information technology professional running for office on the school board for the first time. A resident of Fulshear, she has lived in the district for over 10 years.

Needville ISD

This school district has three board positions up for re-election and two incumbents running for office unopposed.

For Position 1, Kim Teykl, a co-owner of Damon Farm & Ranch, is running for office as is Sandra Ognoskie Wendt, a senior accounting clerk for Fort Bend County.

For Position 6, Kim Janke, a dispatcher for Schultz Bros. Trucking, is the incumbent running unopposed. Position 7 has Chris Janicek, a retired educator who is the incumbent running for re-election.

Katy ISD

Ten candidates from Harris and Fort Bend counties served by the Katy ISD filed for the school board election for three positions.

The Position 3 incumbent, Chris Crockett who lives in Harris County, is opposed by Dr. Bill Proctor of Fort Bend County.

Position 4 incumbent Eric Duhon of Fort Bend County faced opposition from four others— Kurtis Gross also from Fort Bend County, and Harris County residents Charles Huckaby, AJ Durrani and John Eberlan. However, last week Duhon announced his withdrawal from the school board race due to retirement plans. Duhon served the Katy ISD for 12 years starting when there were an estimated 28,000 students which now number over 60,000.

The Position 3 incumbent Judith Snyder, who currently serves as president of the board, faces opposition from Henry Dibrell, and Terri Yanoviak of Fort Bend County.

For more information about the candidates, interested persons are asked to call the school district or visit its website.

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