With three at-large seats to be filled on the Gatesville Independent School District School Board, 14 individuals filed as candidates.
Katherine Lowrey Sullivant withdrew from the race Oct. 18, due to health issues. Her name will still appear on the ballot, however.
The candidates are Lisbeth Appelman, incumbent; Deborah Crosby Ford, incumbent; Dr. Stephen Norris, incumbent; Charles Alderson; Lisa Pruitt Bankhead; Joseph Campbell; Ryan Coggins; Rob Erwin; Tony Fernandez; David Fincher; Stephen Minton; Bruce Thoms and John Westbrook.
Twelve of the candidates answered questions designed to provide information to voters. Candidate David Fincher declined to answer the questions.
QUESTION: With 13 candidates and three at-large seats available on the School Board, why should people vote for you?
Alderson: One of the main reasons people should vote for me is my experience. I am beginning my fiftieth year in public education, forty of which have been with Gatesville ISD. During these years I was a teacher, coach, high school assistant principal, junior high assistant principal, alternative education administrator, textbook coordinator for the school district, and attendance officer.
Appelman: There are 3 reasons to vote for me. First, I’m an experienced Trustee who has served on the GISD School Board for the past 6 years, implementing improvements in the areas of curriculum and facilities, while keeping the District financially healthy. Secondly, the success of all kids in GISD is personal to me. I graduated from GHS, and I have 3 sons who currently attend GISD. I’m energized to make meaningful improvements to the learning environment to prepare life-ready graduates. Lastly, I bring a unique perspective to the Board as a parent and a businesswoman.
Bankhead: I feel that I would be a great asset to the GISD School Board. I believe I am able to help create new ideas as well as offer encouragement and guidance to reimplement some of the past criteria. I also believe I have great administration and financial experience as well as leadership skills. I am confident I have what it takes to be elected into the GISD Board.
Campbell: I bring a new voice to the board. I serve on two boards currently and work diligently to accomplish a common goal. The goal I wish to accomplish with GISD as a board member is to rebuild the breakdown between the educator, administrator and citizens. I care deeply for our schools and the future of our children. I feel I must be elected so I can work with the schools in developing a resolution for bringing our groups together as one with common goals that provide a gainful education to our students. When the disconnect above occurs our students suffer the consequences.
Coggins: I can best represent students because I am a student.
Erwin: I have served on the board previously. I think being self employed for most of my adult life has taught me many different aspects of the business world. I am very concerned about a number of policies that have been adopted by the current members of the board of trustees. I think the number of people running for the 3 seats available speaks volumes about the current state of our district.
Fernandez: People should vote for me for no other reason than my sheer desire and ambition to be the best representative of our student body first and to the parents and community
Ford: I have a master’s degree in education and over 20 years of experience as a public school teacher and counselor. My children and I are all Gatesville alumni. I helped charter Gatesville Education Foundation a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. I am fiscally conservative as proven by $19,000,000 cash balance in GISD school funds available. I helped build the new elementary school, new library and new auditorium. If re-elected to a third term, I will firmly commit to our newly adopted Strategic Plan as posted for all to access at www.gatesvilleisd.org. Please see my Facebook page “Re-elect Deborah Crosby Ford for Gatesville School Board.”
Minton: I believe I would be a good addition to the board because I pay attention to detail work hard to get things done in a timely manner
Norris: Serving on the GISD Board of Trustees for 33 years, many as president, I have experienced the need for planning and collaboration. A perfect example of this is the strategic planning campaign completed in February. Members from the business community, parents, teachers, administrators, and board members met together and discussed the district’s problems, strengths, needs, and aspirations. Working together, a document outlining problems and solutions was presented to the board. The administration is developing plans to implement these solutions over the next five years. This type of planning and organization is what I have done and continue to offer Gatesville ISD.
Thoms: Gatesville ISD is going through growing pains as it implements changes and there is confusion on the strategy guiding these changes and the lack of communication on these policies. Through my years in the military, government, corporate America, and working with the school, I bring detailed planning and solutions and will continue to bring these before the school board and gather feedback from parents/teachers/students.
I want to continue to serve this wonderful community-- and use my experience and talents to help the students in Gatesville schools have the best educational experience we can provide for them!
Westbrook: I am focused on student achievement, staff support, and fiscal responsibility with taxpayer funds. I am a 35-year Gatesville resident, and a 32-year veteran of Gatesville ISD, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, and GHS principal. I also serve as an educational consultant for several districts in the area, working with school improvement and alternative teacher certification. I feel these experiences and my vested interest in the district make me a candidate with a great deal to offer the stakeholders of Gatesville ISD.