Crowded field of candidates for Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees
By Betsy Dolan
Eleven candidates are running for three positions on Fort Bend ISD’s Board of Trustees. Four candidates are vying for the Position 1 spot, vacated by Susan Hohnbaum who is retiring. Position 4 Trustee, Bruce Albright and Position 5 Trustee Dr. Patsy Taylor are making their case for a second term against five challengers.
Jason Burdine, 33, is an independent contractor with Investment Professionals. He has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and previously worked at an at-risk campus. Burdine volunteers on the district’s steering committee. If elected, he promises to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, utilize fiscal and resource responsibility and ensure safe and secure schools.
Ramesh Cherivirala, 50, works for New York Life Insurance Company. He is a member of the district’s steering committee and is on the Public Education Advisory Team for Texas Representative Rick Miller. Cherivirala said that he is running in order to provide more resources to teachers, expand vocational and technological courses and to push for sensible and transparent spending.
Sardar Quaisar “Q” Imam, 45, is a special projects manager for IBM and is also a member of the district’s steering committee. His campaign involves a five-step plan to improve the district by engaging the community especially on zoning changes, empowering teachers and emphasizing career and college development.
C.J. Udoagwu, 58, has been an educator for 10 years and says he will fight to provide children with the kind of education they need for the 21st century. Udoagwu supports quality education for all students, smaller class sizes, community involvement and better planning and finance management from the BOT.
Bruce Albright, 62, is running for his second term in the only at-large trusteeship of the seven seats on Fort Bend ISD’s BOT. He is an internet sales manager at a Houston-area Ford dealership. Albright lists several accomplishments as a trustee including teacher pay raises, reducing class sizes and bond debt as well as his involvement in the hiring of new Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre.
Rodrigo Carreon, 45, a Fresno electrician, is a frequent candidate in local elections. He says some of the biggest issues facing the district are a lack of funding and low voter turnout for school board elections. Carreon said he will not support a school bond referendum unless Fort Bend ISD can provide a long term solution for zoning.
Deron Harrington, 45, is an attorney and CPA and says Fort Bend ISD has had trouble differentiating between needs and wants. He cites the iAchieve program and the Global Science Center as proof the BOT has been distracted by “wants”. Harrington wants the district to return to financial prudence and to make education for secondary students more relevant.
Kristin Tassin, 42, is an attorney practicing intellectual property and special education law. She is an Fort Bend ISD volunteer and mentor. Tassin says the district’s recent curriculum audit and the TEA compliance review show areas where Fort Bend ISD needs improvement. She wants to see budget planning that is aligned with educational priorities, more meaningful training for teachers and counselors as well as a solution to the district’s zoning problems.
Kris Allfrey, 45, is a Missouri City business owner. He views zoning and the need for strong financial management as two of the most important issues facing Fort Bend ISD. If elected, Allfrey wants to implement stronger career and technical training courses that can better prepare students for the real world. In addition he will fight for strong financial decisions and more security and safety measures in the schools.
KP George, 50, is a financial planner and is married to an Fort Bend ISD educator. He is bothered by the two extremes he sees in Fort Bend ISD: kids who are succeeding and kids who are failing. George is pushing for more vocational training, college readiness and a smarter utilization of taxpayer dollars.
Dr. Patsy Taylor, 54, is a program specialist with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and has a PhD in Education. She has been a Position 5 trustee since 2011 and has served as the Board’s Vice President. Taylor was selected to serve on a national education board in Washington D.C. and will help oversee a $99 billion budget and develop policies affecting the nation’s public schools.
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