Tell a little bit about yourself (current work, education, experience, background).
My current work is as follows. I currently am the CEO of MethuselahsDiet.com an online weight loss program. I moonlight as a basketball coach. I am the Freshman Coach at Ursuline Academy, the most prestigious all girls Catholic Private school in Dallas, TX. I am also the #2 rated private basketball coach with Coachup Inc. offering elite training that has produced many professionals (www.coachup.com/coaches/bobbyk). My work also includes being a published Author of 5 books (Alone on Shadow Mountain, Shape or Shake Your Faith “Secrets of the Original Kingdom Come, MethuselahsDiet,com Cook Book, MethuselahsDiet.com Diet Book, and Yahology). I am a Graduate of Italy HS, Angelo State University with a BS, and Grand Canyon University with a Masters Degree in Education Administration (MEA). I started work on my Phd in Education Leadership at Walden U online. I have ample experience in education as a DISD Rookie TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD winner at Thomas Edison, former Jarvis Christian College (HBCU) Online Adjunct College Professor of Kinesiology 1301 and Track and Field. Between DISD and HBCU, I have been Dept. Chair at each. My background is diverse. I am the 1st African American to drop out of a school district (Dallas Kimball HS before moving to Italy) and return to win a teaching award in the same district. I am also the first African American IHS graduate to sign a Professional Basketball Contract (CIMABA Mexico, BC).
What ties do you have to the Italy school district (i.e. children enrolled, family employed, former student)?
I am a former student of Italy School District with family currently enrolled.
Why are you seeking a seat on the school board?
I am seeking a seat on the school board because of my passion for education first and foremost. Second, my passion for the IHS community at large. Third, I feel that diversity and honest open communication are the keys to progress in any organization according to best practices. The data shows that the minority has become the low man on the totem pole of education. You can not have a strong chain with a weak link. Honesty, communication, accountability, and wisdom are areas that historically need to be addressed and that is why I am seeking a seat on the school board. I have communication excellence, vision, education, experience, knowledge, and courage.
What qualifications or experience do you possess that voters should consider?
Voters should consider my Masters Degree in Education Administration to deal with school administrative issues, my many years of award winning experience as a Public School Teacher, and Adjunct College professor. I am also an “at-risk” communication specialist that has invented and incorporated many education programs in education such as the “link program” where the weakest students are paired with the strongest students in seating, grouping etc.
What do you consider your primary responsibility as a school board member?
I consider my primary responsibility as a school board member is to gather the information, study data, and become familiar with the full range and scope of the organization to be able to identify opportunity areas of improvement and efficiency.
What do you consider the most important issue facing our school district today?
I was in IHS turning in my packet to run for School Board. I was saddened by seeing promising athletes in the community in trouble placed out of the class setting on the school floor with books in the laps, but paying attention to my presence. I saw the Principal loudly scolding a Hispanic student as they walked down the hall. When I was exiting the school, the Principal yelled out “HEY! YOU SIGN OUT?” The most important issue facing our school is communication and cultural understanding. If the communication was optimal, then the grades would show more parity and the respect between the students and faculty would exist on a higher plane.
What do you consider the most positive and negative aspect of being a member of the school board?
The most positive aspect of being a member of the school board is the responsibility to be a gate keeper for the students and stakeholders of the community. If the responsibility is taken lightly, then we could be hiring thieves and selfish motives without a passion for the community. The most negative aspect is that if your school board is not knowledgeable, then you are not able to understand the full range and scope of the plethora of ways to undermine the education system especially monetarily.
What do you think should be the top priorities of the school board after this election?
The top priority of the school board after this election is to study best practices and garner a plan for the future that encompasses all students and college.
Are there any policy changes you would seek to implement at the school district? If yes, which ones and why?
What community services have you given the school district or community in the past?
I was the volunteer who practiced with and loaned the coach my playbook during the only IHS state basketball championship. I have been involved with community clean up, cemetery mowing volunteer as a teen, former volunteer President of the Brotherhood at Mt. Gilead, BC, and Sunday School Secretary.
Explain your position on hiring non-certified teachers.
I learned a lot in my alternative certification process. I am convinced that a degree alone will not help you be effective in the class room, but some of the best teachers did not have a certificate before the requirement. If I was going to hire a teacher, the certification ensures me that the teacher is accountable for results! Without the cert, teachers can pass the deficiency buck to the students.
How would you maintain a healthy balance between education and athletics?
As a scholar athlete in HS, College, and Professional, I have a unique outlook that allows for easy balance.
Title IX laws pertain to all state funded districts. How do you feel the Italy ISD performs in this area?
From the outside looking in, the girls have nice equipment and there looks to be parity.
What ideas or changes would you like to see to continue to improve school discipline?
I believe that there should be more parental involvement and better communication. There is not a concern for why the students act out in public education, the concern is to discipline, and keep it moving. I have lived the education process in its full range and scope. I have seen students with undiagnosed PTSD from seeing violence, hunger, poverty, discrimination, mental illness, illiteracy ect. The counseling toward better behavior, monitoring, and recognizing is often missing. This, in many cases included myself. I was almost disciplined out of the district for lack of communication and other home and school reasons but turned out to be arguably most decorated citizen in the history of the County. I felt like I wasn’t being treated fair and wanted to “show” and “be”. But what is to be said for the student who feels mistreated and gives up?
What ideas do you have to keep the budget trim?
All programs need to be evaluated on a yearly basis. Contracts need to be reviewed and re negotiated in many cases. You don’t fix what isn’t broken but also try and find creative revenue streams.
What positive changes within the infrastructure of our schools might be made to retain and/or attract quality teachers to educate our children?
In what ways can the district’s school board be more open to listen to teachers and parents about their concerns?
There are many ways that the districts school board can be more open to listen to teachers and parents about their concerns. One way is to have the meeting revolve to every church in town where certain demographics can feel comfortable venting. Another is to have complaint meetings or portion or drop box for the next session. The addressing of the written drop box concern is in the public minute as addressed.
What incentives, if any, do you think should be implemented to motivate students to improve their performance in the classroom?
I have seen a lot of programs in Title 1 schools. Some worked. Most didn’t. Paying attention to the kids who pay attention is good for the engaged students, but to move the bottom, CASH rules everything around us. Cash in a pool to be distributed among performers always works to keep kids focused six weeks at a time for a piece of the pie. It’s not the pie that does it, its peers pressure for not wanting to be left out.