By Karen Daniels
The Fort Bend County Chamber of Commerce hosted a first ever joint candidate forum for Stafford Municipal School District and Fort Bend Independent School District given that some of the same issues face these respective districts. The Chamber’s Chairman, Stewart Jacobson, was the moderator for the event.
Each of the candidates drew three questions from a fish bowl and took turns answering. Some of the questions were: What’s the biggest challenge your district faces today? Name the top three priorities you would like to accomplish? What two mandates would you like to eliminate? How will your past experiences help you serve on the board? The following is a summary of the Stafford MSD candidates’ comments to the audience.
Ed Castillo: Current Vice-President Board Member. Stafford resident for 26 years. Information Specialist for 30 years. Top priorities are bond completion, funds to hire great teachers, and accountability to parents. Biggest challenges are budget cuts and funding. Wants to continue the good work being accomplished. He is a champion for the technology center. Prior to being elected worked with the school to pass bond.
Christopher Caldwell: Has worked in education for 20 years and believes in hands-on approach. Stafford resident for 14 years. Wants to provide effective teacher support and better teacher recruitment. Budget and finance are most important to have successful district. Believes there is a brilliant child in every student and that school leaders play a vital roll in today’s education. Wants to engage parental and community involvement.
Rosemary Garcia: Worked as a Stafford district employee for 22 years. Decision-making needs to take into consideration teachers, parents, and students. Wants to help educate our future leaders by helping them become college ready and work force ready. Continue the great work to finish bond. Create more team building and let teachers know the board is there to listen. Passionate about making students love and participate in school.
Auturo Jackson: Business leader. Stafford Planning & Zoning Committee member. Mayor’s Task Force w/ Disabilities. Stafford resident for 17 years. Would like to reduce the number of standardized testing. Wants to work closely with elected officials and Superintendent. Believes students, parents and teachers have a voice. Foster better relationship with business community. Feels student achievement is important as well as safe and secure schools.
Greg Holsapple: Was unable to participate due to business commitment. Current Board Secretary. Has collectively served on the board for 16 years. Stafford resident for 34 years. Senior systems administrator for Baylor College of Medicine. Believes adequate school funding is the most pressing issue to SMSD and all Texas districts.
The next candidate forum will be held at the Stafford Civic Center on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00pm. The City of Stafford encourages all residents and community members to attend. Questions from audience members can be submitted. Board positions go to the three candidates with the highest received votes. The General Election is May 11.