Energy and understanding already working on Arlington school board

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Arlington school Trustee Jamie Sullins said she wants the district's new strategic plan to spur action, not just sit on a shelf. So, she said, she called JPS Health Network CEO Robert Earley to ask, "How did you move your plan from words on paper" into results?

Sullins, 52, a community volunteer elected in 2010, said the plan, along with expanded career and technology programs, should help students understand the many opportunities available to them.

The challenge for the school district is to move forward in getting all students college- and career-ready but to do it in an affordable way, she said.

But Britine Burton, 45, an Advanced Placement psychology teacher in Grand Prairie schools who is seeking to unseat Sullins, said the plan lacks specifics on how the district intends to reach its goals.

Burton, who has graduate degrees in education, said trustees need to spend more time listening to educators instead of spending resources on efforts such as a curriculum audit. She advocates more career and technology programs at all the district's high schools and more "creative-type" programs to engage students. But she's vague on how she would pay for them.

Burton, an African-American whose son went through Arlington schools, emphasizes that she would bring diversity that the board lacks. She said the district has only paid "lip service" to hiring more minorities.

More than 70 percent of Arlington's 65,000 students are classified as racial or ethnic minorities, the largest group being Hispanics.

The board includes two Hispanics but no African-Americans.

The board could use more diversity. But in this contest, Sullins, whose two children went through Arlington schools, has deeper knowledge of the district and what it faces because of her years of involvement -- at the PTA level, on bond and facilities advisory panels, and during three years as a trustee.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Jamie Sullins for Arlington school board Place 5.

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