Two women vie for Place 7 Arlington school board seat

03/15/2014 8:52 PM

03/17/2014 10:08 AM

Two women are campaigning for Arlington school Trustee Tony Pompa’s seat in the May 10 election after Pompa decided to pursue state office.

Pompa, 42, served as Place 7 trustee for two years before he decided not to seek re-election this spring so that he could run in the Republican primary for the Texas Senate District 10 seat held by Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth.

But Pompa won’t make it to Austin this year after garnering only 12 percent of the vote on March 4.

“What I wanted to do was the right thing, and this wasn’t the right time for me. The board is so strong with or without me, they are going to continue,” Pompa said. “I had the opportunity for us to get more support on the state level if I had won. I don’t know what kind of support we’ll get down in Austin.”

Both Pompa and board President Bowie Hogg’s terms expire in May, but it appears that Hogg will stick around. Hogg, 35, is uncontested in his bid for Place 6.

Arlington school board seats are at-large. Trustees choose their officers after the election.

Pompa said that although he lost his senatorial bid, he has no plans of seeking re-election to the school board.

While Pompa spent his spring break relaxing with family, two parents worked on their campaigns for his seat.

Grand Prairie resident Kecia Mays is running against Arlington resident Bridgett Davis.

Kecia Mays

Mays, 45, lives in the Barnett Junior High and Bowie High School feeder system, where her three sons attend school.

Mays ran against Trustee Gloria Peña in 2012 and has recently served on the district’s Capital Needs Steering Committee that proposed a $663.1 million bond package for election in May — the largest one in Tarrant County history.

“I think once you get involved and you have that fervent attitude, it’s contagious,” she said. “I’ve shown dedication in wanting to actually do the work and not just pop up and say, ‘Hey, I want to be a trustee, that looks like fun.’ ”

Mays has served on districtwide committees for the past nine years and chaired the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee that helped form the $197.5 million bond package in 2009.

She celebrated her 25th year with the Texas comptroller’s office last week, and said her job as an auditor will fiscally help the district. Mays has lived in the district for 13 years.

Mays said her platform is to carry out the mission of the district’s Achieve Today. Excel Tomorrow. 2012-15 strategic plan. If elected, Mays said she’ll help update and refresh the vision, and make sure teachers aren’t left behind in the meantime.

“We put additional pressures on teachers with the strategic plan. I want to make sure that we don’t forget about our teachers and they are being adequately trained for the goals,” she said.

Mays, who touts that she was the only resident to attend every meeting concerning the plan’s formation, said a large percentage of Arlington teachers have been in the classroom for 10 years and need training in technology.

She said she is particularly excited that the district addresses technology expansion in its bond proposition and is closing the gap for kids who don’t want to go to college. A $46 million Career and Technical Center would serve up to 1,400 students daily.

“My passion is the students,” she said. “Servitude and children are defiantly my passions.”

Bridgett Davis

Davis, 54, said she plans to push for diversity in the classroom and in district leadership, if elected.

Davis lives in the Miller Elementary, Young Junior High and Martin High School feeder system. She has two daughters, one a Martin alumna and the other a Martin junior.

Davis ran for Trustee Aaron Reich’s Place 3 seat in 2012 and lost to Pompa the year before that.

She is in her third year on the site-based decision-making committee at Martin. Committee members serve in an advisory capacity to the principal and help with performance objectives, budgeting and planning.

She also organized Black History Month celebrations at several Arlington high schools for the past .

“I saw there was nothing being done for students to see the achievements of African-American leaders in the community,” she said.

Davis, whose lived in the district for 17 years, served on the Workforce Diversity Enhancement Committee that advocates for equality in the district.

The retired elementary teacher said her platform is to be a “voice for the voiceless” by fighting for teachers rights and vulnerable students.

She referenced the $5.4 billion education budget cuts enacted by state legislators in 2011 that inspired her to conduct a district-wide petition and travel down to Austin to speak before the Texas House Appropriations Committee.

“If something is not right, I am going to stand up and fight the issue. I’ve been fighting injustices all along. I’ve addressed so many issues with Jerry McCullough when he was superintendent,” Davis said.

“I will be the one that says, ‘Let us discuss this.’ There is no way we should be doing our own thing when we are serving a community of students. Parents need to know in detail what we are talking about in the back room,” she added.

Davis said she wants to improve school safety, close the achievement gap, build stronger partnerships, promote diversity and cultivate collaboration with parents.

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