• December 20, 2014

Killeen ISD candidates vie for two board seats

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Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014 4:30 am

With two seats up for grabs on the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees, one incumbent is running unopposed and the other is sitting this election out.

Killeen native and current board Secretary Kenneth Ray didn’t file for re-election to his Place 4 seat. Four candidates filed for his seat in the May 10 election, including a counselor, a former attorney, a retired Army staff sergeant and a retired educator.

Here is a look at all the candidates, starting with unopposed incumbent Terry Delano.

Terry Delano

Terry Delano, 54, Killeen ISD school board vice president, is running unopposed for the Place 5 seat he currently holds.

As a lifelong Killeen resident, Delano, his wife and two children all graduated from Killeen ISD high schools.

Although he’s no longer a parent of a current Killeen ISD student, Delano said he can offer parental perspective. And, he said, his business experience as the manager of Delano & Delano Management allows him to contribute to decisions that affect the financial stability of the district.

“I’ve been on the board for seven years,” Delano said. “I have a track record and I have displayed some votes that I think were the right thing.”

As a concerned resident and taxpayer and parent, Delano said he wants to make sure the right decisions are being made.

“I love the district. I think we’ve got great people there, great administrators and at the same time, we’ve got very serious decisions that have to be made,” he said.

“I just have a deep desire to see the district continue in the direction that it’s going, even though we do have some challenges that we’re going to be facing in the future.”

While some school board members have an education background, Delano said he brings business and building expertise.

In regards to funding, Delano said it’s important to listen to everyone involved.

“I try to set a good balance between the taxpayer and the staff and the student,” he said. “There has to be a good balance there.”

Lan Carter

Lan Carter, 41, is running for the Place 4 seat and said her diverse background makes her the best candidate.

“I am a military spouse, a mother of three, a former educator and I like to work with the military community,” Carter said.

She currently works as a counselor for the Army Career and Alumni Program and has been a resident of Killeen ISD for more than 20 years. She previously taught in Copperas Cove ISD for three years.

“Being in the classroom is a definite advantage to knowing how the district works, what the needs are of these students and teachers,” she said.

Carter, who has two special-needs children — one with Asperger’s syndrome and one with a non-specified form of autism — said if elected, she’ll bring the perspective of an educator and parent to the school board.

“We’ve got some educators on the board, but then we’ve also got some business owners and I don’t think they’re as adept to educational issues as maybe an educator would be,” she said. “I’ve got a background that ranges all over the place. I can advocate kids; the special-needs kids as well as the general ed kids.”

She’s also pushing for more transparency and accountability from the school board in hopes of making it easier for parents and the community to participate in board meetings.

“A lot of times things are not put on the agenda that would interest the community,” she said. “Education is important to me. (While) I’m not in the classrooms anymore, I still like to be a part of what’s going on as far as the educational world.”

Aya Eneli

Aya Eneli, 43, a former attorney and CEO of the training and consulting firm, Aya Eneli International, also is running for the Place 4 seat.

Eneli said while no current board member has a child currently in the Killeen ISD system, she has five children, ranging from 4 to 14 years old and by the 2014-2015 school year, she’ll have one child in every grade level at Killeen ISD.

“I know intimately what is going on in our schools with our children, with all the different policies that are coming down, both from the board and even from the state,” she said. “We cannot talk about educating youth, educating children, educating our students and then not pay attention to the voices of the parents who are right in the trenches.”

Eneli said she’s written grant proposals for educational programs. After seeing the success those programs had in their communities, Eneli said she wants to share her skills to help Killeen ISD thrive.

“I have a track record of success. I’m very good at pulling groups of people together and really creating coalitions that bring about results,” she said. “I have a wealth of experience working not just with the K-12 educational system, but also at the college level.”

Eneli, who’s been educated both in the U.S. and internationally, said it’s important to work with children beginning in prekindergarten to make sure they’re globally competitive.

“You’re not just competing with the person who lives next door to you or even in the next state. It’s a global marketplace and that is a voice that needs to be on the board,” she said.

Brockley Moore

Retired Staff Sgt. Brockley Moore, 46, has lived in Killeen for more than 30 years and is among the candidates running for the Place 4 seat.

Moore, who is president of the Killeen Area Alliance Black School Educators, said, since 1998, he has been volunteering on several projects and committees that improve and maintain high school readiness, curb dropout rate, promote unity and provide educational awareness.

“Many of the people in the community and in KISD know my volunteer service and what I do in the community for the kids,” he said. “I want to give more to the kids and represent the kids and help the kids in their endeavors to get to the next step in their lives.”

Moore said he’s dedicated to student success and getting involved with the community.

“As the community grows, I have a relationship with the principals, the kids and the parents,” he said. “Public school is all about learning and it’s a relationship, and once you build that relationship with the kids and the parents, the public school system can provide what the kids need.”

Moore said no two school districts are the same, but as a “listener” and a “team player,” he can bring stability to the school board.

“We have a very good school district compared to other school districts our size and capability,” he said. “The superintendent runs the school district from day to day, the school board is there to assist the superintendent operate the school. As a school board member, I have the knowledge and the training and know-how from my hands-on experience with the kids and the parents.”

Marvin Rainwater

Marvin Rainwater, 68, has served in various positions in the Killeen Independent School District, including as a bus driver, teacher, coach, counselor and principal. After 43 years with the district, he recently retired as executive director for the career and technology administration for Killeen ISD and is running for Place 4.

“All these experiences with my knowledge that I learned from working with kids and my passion to serve make me the best candidate,” Rainwater said.

He said being a member of the school board is an area of service that will allow him to give back to the community. “An education to me is the most important thing in the world and the most important thing in our community that you can work on,” he said.

Although his campaign slogan — “It’s all about the children” — seems simple, Rainwater said it’s “incredibly complex when you think about it.”

“If you’re going to serve a child, you’re going to have to have great classroom teachers. If you’re going to have great classroom teachers, you’re going to have to have incredible support from the building administrator, (the district and parents),” he said.

And even if everything is running smoothly, if the budget is “out of whack,” Rainwater said none of those things matter.

From funding to state and federal guidelines, Rainwater said board members need to have “a profound understanding of school and education to be successful.”

He said school board members also must have “an understanding of the landscape in which education must occur; an understanding of the incredibly complex issues education faces.”

Through his experiences, Rainwater said he has some of those understandings.

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3 comments:

  • DaMan posted at 10:11 am on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    DaMan Posts: 17

    Parents angered by KISD special ed program
    Andy Ross The Killeen Daily Herald | Updated Aug 16, 2012
    By Andy Ross
    Killeen Daily Herald
    Despite Killeen ISD administrators' expressions of confidence in the school district's special education program, several parents of autistic children enrolled in KISD are unhappy with the current state of affairs.
    The main target of criticism is Willow Springs Elementary, where multiple parents are now speaking out about disputes with school leaders over safety concerns and visitation policies they claim are out of touch with the needs of their children.
    One of those parents is Felicia Grissett, who last week said she applied to have her two autistic children transferred out of Willow Springs. The move comes three weeks after the school's assistant principal issued Grissett a letter effectively denying her access to the campus until further notice.
    "Should you return to Willow Springs Elementary without a scheduled and approved meeting, your actions would be considered a criminal trespass on school property and will be referred to law enforcement," reads a portion of the letter from assistant principal Betty Hermosillo.
    According to Grissett - who has worked as a substitute teacher at Willow Springs - her relationship with Hermosillo and principal Marvin Rainwater grew strained this year after her daughter was threatened repeatedly by another male student.
    Claiming her concerns were not being addressed, Grissett filed an official complaint in late September, saying she felt student-to-teacher ratios were inadequate for safe classrooms. Soon thereafter, in response to the same student reportedly making another threat, Grissett visited the school to complain in person. That's when she said she was told to stay away.
    "How are you supposed to know your children are safe?" Grissett said. "As a parent I have to make sure my children are safe, and if my daughter is telling me she's not safe in class, how do you consciously leave your child at school knowing there is a child terrorizing your children in the classroom?"
    Interviewed on Monday, Killeen ISD Superintendent Robert Muller commended KISD's performance on special education, but stressed he could not comment on specific claims from parents.
    "I'm not familiar with complaints coming from any particular campus, but I will tell you as a matter of record we can't talk about individual issues," Muller said. "We can't talk about individual students. We can't talk about individual parents or the issues they might have."
    Lynn Young, KISD's director of special education, also said she couldn't address whether she had heard about complaints reported at Willow Springs. The director said the district is fully committed to serving autistic and other special needs students.
    Young said approximately 4,000 special education students currently attend KISD. Self-contained classes teaching SKILLS curriculum - a model containing both academics and life-functioning skills - are offered in eight elementary schools, 10 middle schools and all four high schools.
    "I'm very proud of our special education program," Young said. "I feel like we've got a lot of very hard-working teachers and campus administrators that work very, very hard to meet the individualized needs of students in Killeen."
    Yet regardless of KISD's view, reports of troubled parents persist. Brenda Sayre is another mom who says she is trying to transfer her autistic child out of Willow Springs.
    Sayre said the same student who was threatening Grissett's daughter had bitten and attacked her son multiple times last year. On another occasion she said a different student drop-kicked her son in the chest.
    In January she filed a level 1 complaint, saying she disagreed with decisions the school was making on placing students with violent behavior in the same classrooms as autistic and other special-needs students.
    Sayre's most recent problem came the first week of this school year, when she said she learned her son had been left unattended for a period of time. Sayer said she visited the school to complain and it wasn't long afterward that a new attitude on campus visits was adopted.
    "It's like he (the principal) wants to run the place like a prison," she said. "If you want to see your kids or find out what's going on with them, you have to have a meeting with him and only stay 15 minutes and then debrief with him afterwards. If you don't agree to the debriefing, you don't get to go into the classroom."
    Chris Jenson, whose autistic son recently attended Willow Springs, seemed to confirm Sayer's and Grissett's accounts.
    "There were quite a few issues with a couple of kids being aggressive and not being handled properly to ensure nothing happens to the rest of them (other students)," Jenson said.
    Having heard of the complaints about access to Willow Springs this year, Jenson said he is sympathetic. He believes parents of autistic children are especially sensitive to staying in touch with their kids' lives at school.
    "As far as general education, I can see where that might work," Jenson said, referring to stricter policies on visitation. "But as far as special education, kids in the classroom in my experience thrive on parent volunteers being able to go and check on classrooms."
    It's a point Grissett also agrees with.
    "It should be a little different," she said. "Our children are disabled and some of them cannot speak for themselves. The worry we have as parents is how our children are being treated because there are a lot of things swept under the rug."
    It's not just Willow Springs where parents of autistic students have reported feeling left out of the loop.
    In August, Darla McGowan voiced her anger to KISD after her third-grade autistic son was moved from his home school of Trimmier Elementary and placed in a therapeutic learning class at Sugar Loaf Elementary.
    McGowan said the decision for the move was made at the last minute and without the required meeting between herself and administrators known as the Admissions Review and Dismissal Committee (ARD).
    "I told them my son doesn't have a behavior problem," McGowan said. "He doesn't need to be in that class and that you didn't explain what it was - you just stuck him in there."
    McGowan said an ARD meeting did take place soon after her objections, and her son was moved back to a special education class at Trimmier.
    "We just had his 30-day ARD meeting, and he's doing excellent at Trimmier," McGowan said.
    Contact Andy Ross at aross@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHeducation.
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  • DaMan posted at 10:05 am on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    DaMan Posts: 17

    The current KISD Executive board has refused to address issues of racial inequality as it pertains to the African American student body population at the elementary school level. African American students at over 20 area elementary school have failed in the last two years to meet campus, district, and state levels of proficiency for STAAR testing and there seems to be a lack of willingness to address this issue head on. The current systematic approach to the learning of Black children here in Killeen is failing our students and preparing them academically for challenges that they do not possess the tools to defeat. I am therefore calling for the immediate removal of the entire current and elected school board members and requesting an investigation in these matters by an outside and independent educational agency.

     
  • DaMan posted at 10:01 am on Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

    DaMan Posts: 17

    There is no way the parents of this city should even begin to contemplate allowing Marvin Rainwater back into our school system. Rainwater's background as a principal here in the Killeen area is beneath the quality of person needed in a position of such a magnitude. During Rainwater's tenure as principal at Willow Springs several allegations of misconduct committed by him and his staff were brought to the attention of the KISD Executive Board. The board did not address the parents concerns and refused to address the issue publicly. KDH News has published articles about the nature of the allegations raised against Rainwater and his former staff. I too have experienced firsthand the lack of professional courtesy that is always referred to when discussing Rainwater, and apparently there are more parents throughout this district that feel the same way.