Four people are running for two seats on the Killeen Independent School District board of trustees in the upcoming May 1 local election. Lan Carter is running against incumbent board president JoAnn Purser for her Place 7 school board seat.
Name: Lan Carter
City of residence: Killeen
What was your upbringing like, what is your education level, and what brought you to the Killeen area?
I grew up in a nuclear family household with parents of different races and backgrounds. My father was a helicopter pilot, my mother was a homemaker, and then there’s my younger brother. Living in multicultural communities such as the Fort Hood/Killeen area gave me the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and experiences. The Army brought my father to Fort Hood, but my mother convinced him to retire here. I am a graduate of Killeen High School and went on to earn a B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Computer Info. Systems, and a M.S. in Counseling Psychology.
What do you do for a living and how did you get into the field you are in? If you are retired, what did you do?
I’ve been a licensed therapist for a few years and an educator for eight. When I was pregnant with my eldest, I was employed as a CPS Investigator. I had some cases that bothered me, so I decided I didn’t want to continue “taking those cases home” with me. I wanted a career that I could “grow” with my child and changed careers. Once in education, I found that many of my students wanted to share their feelings with me, so I earned a School Counselor certification. Ensuring children knew they’re being heard led me to being a therapist.
Have you run or served for a public office before? What office was it, and what was the outcome of the election? Why did you decide to run for a seat on the KISD school board?
I unsuccessfully ran for KISD school board and State Representative in the past. I run as I have the unique perspective as a parent and educator to recognize KISD’s deficiencies. Some outrageous decisions have been made that I and many people disagree with such as the Superintendent’s $42,000 raise, $1 million score board, and the proposed 2nd bond. The current Board has failed to provide sufficient oversight as well as transparency. Whether I win or lose, the issues are being heard. I encourage others to run and advocate for the students and staff as their needs are not fully met.
If elected, what will be your priorities as a school board member?
I will be a Board member who visits campuses to encourage staff morale. I will also urge community and parental involvement by providing accountability and transparency. We need to bring the focus back on education, not on building new schools, or passing bonds. Reprioritize spending and understand that equipment and property is a want, but hiring and keeping qualified staff is a need. Reduce the teacher to student ratio to include the secondary level. Present superior training to educators working with special education students. Impart greater oversight by listening to community concerns and adding items to the agenda for discussion.
What do you want voters to know about you on a personal level?
I’m a mother of two school-aged children and a college student. I’m an advocate for students as well as Whistleblower. I founded a nonprofit, called Operation Pay It Forward to help the homeless. When my teenage daughter said, “Mom, your students see you more than we do”, I promised no more long hours. My priority is family, so you won’t see me networking at many social events and civic organizations. I’m the Mom sitting or sleeping in my driveway for 30 minutes trying to get some “me” time before the little one runs out and says “Mommy, Mommy”.
What are your qualifications for a school board seat?
Experience as both parent and educator makes me qualified. Years ago, I was one of many parents that spoke to Board members regarding issues within the Special Education Department. For years, our concerns were ignored and children were left behind. I’ve worked with students from all demographics: the homeless, abused and neglected to the hospitalized. My primary focus is educating students, but that can’t happen unless we support our teachers. I understand the teachers’ plight of being overworked, unsupported and unappreciated. I have marched and advocated for public education at the Capitol and view education from a multiple lens perspective.