Focus Daily News has sent the following questions to ALL candidates running for the Midlothian ISD School Board. We do not modify the answers in any way and publish them exactly as they were submitted to us.
Mansfield ISD School Board Place 7 Candidate: Yolanda McPherson
Please provide a high-level outline of your, and your children’s, past commitments/experiences with respect to the school district for which you are running as a school trustee.
My past experiences/engagements with my 2 Mansfield Lake Ridge grads include… Approved Volunteer, Financial Support/Volunteer for PTA, Chaperone for Lake Ridge Step Teams (In State/Out of State), Show Mom for Lady Dynasty Step Team and certified substitute teacher. My young adults competed in track and field, soccer, and were part of the 2-time National Champions for the Lake Ridge Distinguished Gentleman (DG) step team.
What is your vision for education in our district/community? More financial investment, by expanding university programs like JROTC and CTE, to be precise.
My vision for Mansfield ISD aligns with Vision 2030. Our mission is to inspire and educate students to be productive Life Ready, Career Ready, College Ready students.
What does advocacy mean to you and how will you advocate for students and teachers?
As a retired educator, for over 3 decades, I have always been an advocate for students, teachers and parents. My goal has always been to speak up and engage in intentional conversation and resolve issues and concerns that affect everyone involved with the educational needs of our school/district.
In such a competitive market, how will you approach the recruitment and retention of teachers and staff? Have you spoken with teachers in the district about their concerns/challenges and do you feel like they are being heard?
With the alarming number of teachers in Texas leaving the classroom, it’s heartbreaking. Teacher burnout is nothing new, but teachers now feel under attack from all sides. The climate for teachers has become toxic due to political pressure, community pressure and a general feeling of not being supported. It is imperative that we as districts look long and hard and listen to the legitimate concerns of our educators. We must restore respect and dignity to the teaching profession.
My push would be 1. A significant salary increase for teachers with additional incentive pay for veteran teachers. 2. A good supportive and conducive workplace, ie positive involvement of APEs, community volunteers/local professionals to spend time tutoring, etc. 3. Cultivate collaboration between school levels. 4. Allow teachers to have a safe place to openly and honestly express their concerns and feelings without fear of reprisal.
When dealing with school finances, approving a budget, and setting tax rates, how do you honor the taxpayer when considering the district fund balance?
When dealing with school finances, approving budgets, and setting tax rates, an administrator must make decisions based on data, proactive projections, and anticipate impending challenges and minimize unnecessary administrative costs. A fiduciary must operate with transparency and accountability. Engaging stakeholders in long-term planning builds trust while building support.
What is your position on equity in education? In addition to the role of the DEI, what additional steps should be taken to meet the needs of EVERY Student in this District?
My position on DEI is full support. There are additional steps to be taken to ensure that forward and positive progress takes place. Starting with the school boards. Members of a school board should reflect the community it serves. Representation of diversity which includes administration, teachers, etc. should be observed on all campuses. The diversity of teachers and staff is important. Provide a safe place to discuss DEI. Give students a voice and provide opportunities to discuss DEI topics/events. Recognizing DEI expands knowledge, experience and provides valuable decision-making information. Ultimately, building a strong community.
Do you agree with how the District has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and if not, what would you have done differently?
I agree with Mansfield ISD’s handling of COVID-19. Information was (is) current and CDC guidelines were followed.
What are you planning to do to address training at the campus level to ensure the IEP and/or 504s are implemented?
It is the responsibility and federal law of districts to follow and implement identified student IEP/504 plans. It is the responsibility of campus administrators and everyone involved with the educational needs of students to be properly trained, to ensure that parents are well informed, that scheduled ARD meetings are followed, that courses reflect the necessary accommodations and that they are respected and that students are made aware of the accommodations to best meet their educational needs.
What do you think of the banning of certain books in classrooms and libraries? What do you think makes a book “ok” to be banned?
I believe that our children should be informed about current events and issues that are unfolding. There should be specific sections for topical material such as books, newsmagazines, etc. However, I believe that parental consent on said material is required. Parents should always have the ability to control what their child drinks.
How do you rank social-emotional learning as a school board priority, especially given the challenges due to covid?
Social/emotional learning is high on the priority list. There have always been concerns in the class regarding the welfare of our students. but since COVID, increased awareness has caused us all to look at mental health differently and to be more open and honest about our feelings. I believe that teachers/administrators should continue to provide a safe and supportive environment for students/teachers to share their concerns and resources/assistance if needed.
Our country has recently seen a movement to bring politics into all facets of society, including public education and school board campaigns and operations, which have always been non-partisan. What role, if any, do you think politics plays in the role of a school counsellor?
Politics should never play a role in the educational decisions that are made for our students. Decisions should always be made on the basis of the facts and the educational needs of all students, without political pressure or personal opinion.
School trustees are elected to be leaders and to manage decisions that can sometimes be difficult. Please describe your leadership style – give an example.
As a wife/mother, difficult decisions often have to be made for the benefit of the whole family. Outside of my personal life, I am a retired educator, as previously stated, over 3 decades of frontline experience. During my tenure as an educator, I have held many leadership positions. I would describe my leadership style as diplomatic. I usually make personal connections with those I work closely with. I try to resolve conflicts peacefully. I believe I am the “social glue” that holds groups together.
If there is anything you would like to add, please do so.
I humbly ask voters to support me with your VOTE.
Early voting from April 25 to May 3
ELECTION DAY May 7
Yolanda McPherson Mansfield ISD School Board Place 7. I am READY, WILLING and ABLE to share my 32 years of tried and tested experience in the classroom.