Education

Meet the candidates for Fort Worth school board District 3

The Paul Laurence Dunbar Young Men’s Leadership Academy will be improved in time for the 2020 school year, Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (FWISD/Rodger Mallison)
The Paul Laurence Dunbar Young Men’s Leadership Academy will be improved in time for the 2020 school year, Tuesday, January 15, 2019. (FWISD/Rodger Mallison) Fort Worth school district

Two candidates are vying for the District 3 post on the Fort Worth school board — a seat held for almost 30 years by Christene Moss.

The post is for a four-year unpaid term.

District 3 includes the Historic Stop Six neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth. Dunbar High School and the Young Men’s Leadership Academy are located in District 3.

Cleveland Harris

Office sought: FWISD School Board Trustee District 3

Name: Cleveland Harris

Occupation: Barber

Age: 54

Website: n/a

Best way for voters to reach you: clevbo6400@gmail.com

Cleveland Harris
Cleveland Harris, a barber, is running for District 3 on the Fort Worth school board. RODGER MALLISON STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON

Public offices held/sought: I am running for the office of FWISD District 3 Trustee.

What organizations are you affiliated with? Director of Governmental Affairs Morningside Neighborhood Association, vice president of Carver Heights Neighborhood Association, Kathleen Hicks advisory Board for six years, founder of the Friends of Cobb Park, board member of United Neighborhood Association, spearheaded the Renaissance Square Walmart Project

What is the most pressing issue facing Fort Worth students? The lack of equitable resources to be successful. The social emotional issues of some of our students are not being addressed in relation to Human Dignity. Our state legislators should increase funding for sociologists and counselors in schools in order to support the needs of our students.

What is the role of a school board trustee? Providing oversight for the administration of the school district, the specifics are listed in the Texas Education Code Title 2 subtitle C chapter 11 Subchapter C. The State Board of Education has additional information. The Texas Administrative Code has additional training offered.

How important is government and board transparency and how will you show your commitment to transparency? Very important. I will show my commitment by having regularly scheduled town hall style meetings with parents, students and staff in an environment where we can openly discuss and search for equitable solutions to the challenges that lie in the path of providing the best possible education for our students. I also will maintain an open door policy for all who may require my attention as Trustee.

How is Fort Worth ISD doing on providing equity of opportunity to all students, regardless of race? How could it do better? In my opinion, the district isn’t doing well at all; 24 schools in the southeast sector are on the improvement-required list for several consecutive years in a row, and major equipment in our schools eventually is pieced together or repaired while other area schools received replacement with new equipment. Resources are not distributed equitably; one can look at the campuses of RL Paschal as opposed to OD Wyatt, Western Hills High School as compared to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

Quinton “Q” Phillips

Office sought: Trustee 3 Fort Worth Independent School District Board of Education

Name: Quinton “Q” Phillips

Occupation: Adjunct Professor

Age: 37

Website: www.quintonphillips.com

Quinton “Q.” Phillips
Quinton “Q.” Phillips is running for District 3 on the Fort Worth school board. Courtesy Quinton "Q." Phillips Campaign

Best way for voters to reach you: www.quintonphillips.com or Q4FWISD@gmail.com

Public offices held/sought: No previous offices held or sought.

What organizations are you affiliated with? Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Prairie View A&M University Alumni Association, Distinguished Gentlemen of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School Adviser, Founding Partner of Community Frontline- (Community Service Organization), Young Men’s Leadership Academy Advisory Board Member, North Texas Expos Committee Member, Dads of Dunbar, Race and Equity Committee Fort Worth Independent School District, Citizens Oversight Committee Fort Worth Independent School District, Minority Leaders and Citizens Council-Board Member, Early Learning Alliance Race Task Force, NAACP-Fort Worth Chapter, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative Sponsor, Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce

What is the most pressing issue facing Fort Worth students? The most pressing issues facing students surround adult behaviors. As adults we must make decisions that have students as the top priority. Too often we have strayed away from focusing on what is best for students and have made decisions that are for adult comfortability. If we work intently on remaining student focused with policy, practices, and decision making, we will aid in eliminating student issues.

What is the role of a school board trustee? The role of a school board trustee is ultimately to serve as an accountability measure for the governance of the school district. The board of education approves and reviews policy, adopts the budget and oversees finances, and works with the superintendent on setting goals for the district. School board trustees evaluate the performance for the school superintendent.

How important is government and board transparency and how will you show your commitment to transparency? Transparency is of the utmost importance. The community elects trustees to be their representatives. Therefore, they deserve as well as parents and students to be informed about what is happening within their district. As a trustee, I plan to remain accessible to constituents in the district and be willing to give my perspective on matters that concern the education of our students. I want to govern with a collective approach and work with the other trustees and the superintendent to be mission focused. I will also work with the community on addressing their concerns, allowing their voice to be acknowledged.

How is Fort Worth ISD doing on providing equity of opportunity to all students, regardless of race? How could it do better? Fort Worth ISD is making strides towards addressing issues concerning equity. As a member of the Race/Equity Committee for the district, we comprised a Race/Equity Policy that specifically targets issues of equity. The district has now formed the department of Equity and Excellence that has begun addressing the discrepancies in discipline implementation by race and gender. The My Brother’s Keeper initiative works directly with young men of color to improve graduation rates. However, there are still achievement gaps present across racial demographics that must be closed. We can improve by implementing culturally relevant practices that will positively affect student outcome.

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