Job descriptionSchool boards are the governing bodies of their school districts. Term is three years.
DutiesSets district goals and priorities
Adopts and reviews district policies
Publish annual educational performance report
Hires and evaluates district superintendent
Adopts district budget and monitors district finances
Approves tax rate
Annual salaryUnpaid; reimbursed for official expenses.
MeetingsTwice monthly board meetings; special meetings called as needed.

Who’s Running?

Ron Hastings (incumbent)Facebook: Ron Hastings Candide forNISD School Board Place 7
Email: boomerron248@gmail.com
Jennifer MurphyFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/MurphyforNorthwestISDTrustee/
Email: murphyfornorthwestisdtrustee@gmail.com

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Ron Hastings
My background as an educator at both the campus and district level have provided me with skills and knowledge that allows me to understand the inner workings of a school district. I have served on long term District Planning Committees as both a community member and school employee. I have been involved in staffing formulas, curriculum development and budget creation. As a candidate for Place 7, I bring skills that no other candidate possesses, this will allow me to continue as a productive Board member. I believe that it is important to have someone in this position that can provide leadership with knowledge and skills.
Jennifer Murphy
Educational equity for all students is something that is very important to me and what drives me to help represent this rapidly growing and changing district.
Since August 2016, I have worked in the district as a substitute teacher, as a STAAR Tutor, as an AVID Tutor, and have mentored many students. All of this coupled with the various volunteer opportunities that I have taken on have motivated me to learn more and understand the current and future needs of the district. All of these experiences, combined with the specific grant-based and foundation-based work I did at Northside ISD in San Antonio made me realize that I have the capacity to serve the district in a way that is greater than I ever imagined.
Additionally, during the 2018/2019 school year, I was nominated to participate in the Leadership NISD program. This program is an academic year-long program for community stakeholders to learn in-depth about all aspects of the school district. In May 2019, I successfully "graduated" from this program and the information I learned will help me serve in a better capacity.
2. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FEW PRIORITIES IF ELECTED?
Ron Hastings
Student safety and security during the COVID 19 pandemic. The District must listen to scientific experts in order to make correct decisions in response to COVID 19 developments.
Others include response to fast growth and inadequate funding from the state.
Passage of the current School Bond election and the VATRE(Voter-Approved Tax Rate Election).
The Bond will allow us to stay up with the tremendous growth we continue to experience in this area. The last legislature passed a bill that was going to solve the funding of schools problems. However, our
funding was actually cut. We are still being required to send over 20 million dollars to the state. Passage of the VATRE will allow us to keep more tax funds without raising the current local tax rate. I will continue to push the legislature for real school funding solutions!
Jennifer Murphy
If elected, it is important to me that I learn, listen, and understand why past decisions have been made for where the district is now. I will make it a priority to be transparent throughout this process and to be empathetic of all involved.
If elected, I will honor the past and look to the future in striving to be a good decision maker.
If elected, I will work to understand the needs of all the students and staff members and work towards equity for all.
If elected, I will push myself to understand the ever changing landscape of this rapidly growing school district.
3. THE CURRENT PANDEMIC IS MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO OPEN SCHOOLS VERY DIFFICULT. HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE BOARD'S RESPONSE THUS FAR, AND HOW MIGHT YOU DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY?
Ron Hastings
I think we did what was best for all students as well as the staff, based on COVD 19 rates at the time and information provided to us from the County Health authorities. This did not set well with some individuals but because of starting with virtual before going to in person we have so far avoided having to return to virtual learning on any campus. I think we should have had the different County Health Authorities take part in our Superintendent's weekly Facebook Live presentations. Since the District is in three counties it is very difficult to get all three counties to agree on what our response should be but by having them accessible to our community for questions may have helped.
Jennifer Murphy
It is incredibly difficult to assess the current Board's response thus far as I am not privy to the conversations that have happened behind closed doors. I do know that the decisions made by the current board have effected my family personally as I have two secondary children enrolled in district schools. Our family watched closely as board meetings and superintendent updates were held throughout the summer months. We trusted the process and respected the decisions and paths our leaders set out for us.
With that being said, I do believe that we have to continue to be diligent in fighting this pandemic while finding a balance for all students to receive the critical services they need. I believe in asking questions and having a great understanding for the reasons why. In the public space, I feel that the current board should have asked more questions of the district administrative staff. There were some very insightful questions asked during the public portions of the board meetings but I didn't feel like there was enough. Asking questions and respectfully challenging those who make decisions is an important exercise in striving for positive outcomes.
I thank the current board for their service and understand just how hard this time must have been for them in deciding what the best course of action was and is for the students and families of the district.
4. WHAT POLICIES SHOULD YOUR DISTRICT PURSUE WITH REGARD TO SCHOOL SAFETY?
Ron Hastings
The District must constantly audit and adjust our current safety procedures and equipmen tas needed to maintain a high level of safety and security. The District has remodeled the entrance to each campus that now requires a person to show an ID before entering and all must enter through a series of doors, prior to gaining access to where students are. We are building tornado shelters as we update every building. The District must continue to find ways to keep students safe not just from outside but from within. We must stop bullying both in person and on social media. I believe that sound Social Emotional Learning will help the District eliminate bullying. Finally we must keep our bus students safe by hiring and training the very best drivers. We must maintain and update our buses with the latest safety equipment.
Jennifer Murphy
School safety is critical not only to the physical well-being of students and staff but also the mental well-being. The feeling of being safe in the building you learn in, work in, and spend most of your time in is of the utmost importance. We as a district must utilize safety audits and assessments of strengths and weaknesses to ensure we are proactive not reactive in this area.
The steps the district has taken over the past few years are to be commended. We do know that our community continues to change and new, evolving threats may show up on our campuses. We must turn to the experts and understand the trends while working towards those proactive steps to protect everyone on our campuses.
5. HOW SHOULD THE BOARD ADDRESS DISPARITIES IN ACCESS TO EDUCATION, TECHONOLOGY, AND RESOURCES FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AND PARTICULARLY STUDENTS OF COLOR?
Ron Hastings
We work very hard on these issues. We study individual student progress in a wide variety of areas. We also make technology available to all students by providing chromebooks to students as well as hot spots to those that need internet access. As disparities are found we make adjustments in teaching to make sure we are giving everybody the best opportunity to succeed. We have reading and math specialist working with both individual and small groups when students are identified as being deficient in these areas.
Jennifer Murphy
Educational equity is incredibly important. We have an obligation to all the students in this district to make sure they are served at levels that meet their specific, individual needs. Providing consistent, targeted opportunities for all students is critical.
We, as a district, must work to ensure that students are not falling through the cracks. We must collaborate with our highest needs campuses to ensure they have the resources needed to help families. We also must not overlook the students who may go unnoticed because they tend to blend in with the rest of the crowd. We must also ensure that our teachers are prepared, supported, and have access to the highest quality resources available.
"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else."
— President Barack Obama
6. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Ron Hastings
I look forward to continue serving the families and staff in the Northwest Independent School District.
Jennifer Murphy
Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to serving the community through my daily work. With a career in non-profit and educational fundraising, I have had the opportunity to be a part of some really incredible endeavors. Some of the most rewarding work I have ever done is with the public school district I worked for in San Antonio (Northside ISD) and here in Northwest ISD. I believe that the combination of my professional experience, personal commitment to community service, and my dedication to equality for all makes me an ideal candidate for this position.