The Place 4 seat on the Bullard Independent School District Board of Trustees will feature the same number of candidates seeking to fill the position in the upcoming Saturday, May 5 general election.
Candidates who have filed the necessary paperwork to run for Place 4 on the Bullard ISD School Board include Steve Adams, Stephanie Luper, Shane Pyle, and Michael Roy.
Opportunity to Serve:
According to Adams, the opportunity to serve as a member of the governing body of Bullard ISD will allow him to educate himself and take a larger role.
"Being on the board would not only allow me to wholeheartedly serve of our school district on the front lines to help deal with financial shortcomings now, but educate me 'from the inside,' to proactively take on even larger financial threats to our public education system, after completing my term," said Adams. "Serving as a Delegate at the upcoming Texas Democratic Convention 2018, I'm already a part of protesting school vouchers and charter schools. As I see it, these directly divert tax dollars from our Bullard ISD students."
Likewise, Luper said if elected to the Board of Trustees, her focus would be on making students' futures better through the quality of education they receive now.
I truly believe education is the cornerstone of a prosperous and civilized society. Access to a quality public education for all children is vital for the future of our community and our country.
"When a community focuses on the future generations by providing quality public education, they will see a return on that investment," said Luper. "BISD will create future community leaders and businesses through the quality of our schools. Our children will want to give back to the community that believed in them. That's the vision of the future that inspires us when we look into the eyes of our children."
When asked about his thoughts on running for the seat, Pyle said a candidate serving as a member of the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees must have the kids in mind.
"Securing a brighter future for our children has always been a priority for me, my wife, and my friends," said Pyle. "I have been a youth sports coach, served on youth sports organizations in both Tyler and Bullard, served with the Bullard Education Foundation, and served on the District of Innovation committee. With each of these, it has been for the kids. Serving as a school board member will be another way for me to help guide and shape the future of our children."
In his response, Roy said he is seeking the seat after a brief hiatus, saying the desire to serve the district was still there.
"After not serving on the Board for two years, I found that I still had a high interest in the Bullard School District," said Roy. "I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the decision making-process, as well as the team approach for resolving issues that affected our students."
Luper said she would like to address the issue of student and teacher/employee safety, if elected to the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees.
"Our most critical concern is the safety of our students and teachers/employees," said Luper. "Providing safe schools allows children to focus on learning and growing. While living overseas as a military spouse, I learned the importance of preparedness. We never knew if, where, or when an incident may occur, yet we lived without fear: we were ready, had a plan, and training to follow. Creating a district wide security plan and providing response training to our employees is essential. We must inform our community we have a visible primary plan and a contingency plan and are ready to protect our children."
Pyle also spoke in the same manner, in terms of the concern of safety and protection for Bullard ISD students and employees.
"The safety of our children, faculty, and support staff will always be of concern for all of us," said Pyle. "As a parent, you are trusting these people with your child. I believe the district has done a great job making our schools secure, and I want to make sure we continue on that path of protecting them however we can. The education of our children is obviously just as important. My wife has taught for 20 years, so I see firsthand how difficult teaching can be. We have great teachers in Bullard. We need to make sure we keep them here."
According to Roy, he plans to hear and discuss concerns from parents and the district and discuss them with the rest of the board members, if elected.
"At this time, I do not have any concerns," said Roy. "I am sure, once elected, I will have the opportunity to listen to and address any and all concerns that are presented by the Superintendent. Of Course, if I am made aware of a concern, it would be my duty to share such information with the Board President and/or the Superintendent."
When asked about his concerns as a potential board member, Adams said he would like to discuss a total of three with the school board.
"My top three concerns are: A - active shooter safety; B- teachers' salaries; and C - bullying," said Adams.
In regards to the decreasing amount of state funding received by Bullard ISD, Pyle said although the loss of funding is bad, the administration has continued to provide students a high degree of education.
"Any time you take away funding from anything, the impact will be negative," said Pyle. "It is up to the school board to have the right administration in place with the knowledge and skill to guide the district through lean times. I believe our current administration does a good job of keeping up with what is going on in Austin, and is doing what is necessary to keep the level of education up to standards that we as parents should expect."
According to Roy, Bullard ISD has found ways to continue offering the same level of quality education to students, despite the declining of funds from the state.
"While the state funding is declining, Bullard ISD has always made every effort to ensure that our students were given excellent opportunities," said Roy. "The district has provided new programs, competed for grants, and made creative efforts to do more with less. I applaud their efforts and I will support the district in future endeavors in getting additional funding."
When asked the same question regarding public school funding, Adams said there is a direct correlation between the amount of money the district receives from Austin and the number of opportunities afforded to both teachers and students.
"Even though we wound up getting more money than the Texas House and Senate originally brought to the table for 2018-19, we're still shy," said Adams. "Furthermore, additional funding for new 'stricter' standards for Pre-K programs did not come through. Funding cuts create smaller staffs, limited resources and a lower number of programs, like sports, for students. Budget cuts have been a part of most business project I've been involved in, across two Whole Foods Market regions on admin teams to the first three years at FRESH by Brookshire's. I can help get us through. Our kids are counting on us."
In her response, Luper said the impact of public school funding on the state level is felt the heaviest on the teachers of a school district.
"Cutting funding to public education directly impacts the classroom teacher," said Luper. "With less money to provide quality activities/experiences, teachers often reach into their own pockets. We'll need to optimize our resources and seek creative solutions to lacking funds. I've been part of a school-wide grant writing team that procured funds from our local education foundation and organizations across the country. Last year, I lead the team for the Choir's Booster Club that secured a $15,000 grant from a private foundation. I'd love to establish a grant writing team instead of levying a financial burden on teachers or taxpayers."
With a high number of school shootings occurring around the United States recently, Roy said he wants to keep teachers and students safe while on campus at Bullard ISD.
"I am deeply concerned about students and teacher safety," said Roy. "I believe we should be focused on making sure that students and teachers feel safe during school and at all school functions. As a Board member, I will ask the appropriate questions concerning safety and work with administration to solve any issues in the most expedient and proactive way possible. Our students and teachers will always come first."
According to Adams, he would like the district to look at creating a security plan at all Bullard ISD campuses with the help of experts in the security field.
"School shootings rightfully terrify me," said Adams. "My parents outlived a child who died after a long battle with cancer, and that was bad enough. As a parent, I refuse to idly stand by in fear of instantly losing my children through gun violence. I know guns, as an owner, enthusiast and supporter of defensive carry, and have been working toward sensible gun laws that leave the Second Amendment entirely untouched. However, I am no security expert. I'd ask the board to consult with and rely on security professionals to equip and tailor an action plan for each of our individual schools."
Luper said she believes the security plans already in place at Bullard ISD are measurable first steps, but also said more can be done.
"As a former inner-city school teacher, I've been in a classroom with active gunfire happening outside," said Luper. "I was trained on procedures to secure a classroom/school building and taught them to my students. I know the feeling of being willing to die to protect the young lives in my care. It's critical we keep everyone safe during the school day and school sponsored events. Bullard Trustees must set the tone of importance regarding security and convey it to our community. Secure access buildings and the ISD police department are good starts, but we can do more to promote safety."
When asked about school safety, Pyle said the district needs to continue protecting students and teachers, while also addressing the wellbeing of students emotionally.
"As a parent, the physical and emotional safety of your child will always be your main concern," said Pyle. "Our district did a lot of upgrades within the last year with our campus renovations. As a board member, I want to make sure we continue to review procedures, technologies, and training to continue to keep our children safe. I also want to see the emotional well being of our kids addressed and looked after, as well."
Why Should Voters Choose You?
According to Adams, the experience he gained as a Boy Scout are characteristics he hopes will appeal to the voters.
"Boy Scout Troop 57 in Garland, Texas is where I learned to follow, be an essential part of a team, set goals, and finally lead, achieving the Eagle Scout rank in 1985," said Adams. "This experience is a large part of my success, who I am, and what I bring to the table. I ask for voters to invest in me to serve on the board and provide a solid first step toward achieving an even larger long-term goal of genuine school finance reform. Learn, follow, then lead. Starting here, I want to see an end to shortchanging our children."
Luper stated her previous experience in the realm of education, as well as her zeal for education, helps to lead her into the upcoming election as a candidate for Place 4.
"I offer an educators' perspective and a servant's heart, with a passion for education and a unique set of life experiences to draw from," said Luper. "There's no hidden agenda in my enthusiasm; it's not about me. It's about every child and their education experience. It's about coming together offering opportunities for all our children to learn and grow. It's about ensuring Trustees research and analyze every issue brought forward making an educated decision in the best interest of our children. Our children deserve the best education we can provide, because they're important and our focus and hope for the future."
According to Pyle, his managerial experience and willingness to work as a team to accomplish the task at hand is key in his candidacy.
"I have been in sales and management for over 20 years," said Pyle. "You learn to listen to people and come up with solutions to wants and needs, both for your customers and your employees. Getting people to work together to achieve a common goal is something I have been doing my entire professional life. I still have a son in 5th grade, so I have a vested interest in the success of our school district."
When asked why voters should select him as the Place 4 member, Roy said his previous tenure on the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees, as well as being a lifelong resident of the city, allows voters to choose someone who deeply cares about the district.
"I have Bullard ISD Board member experience to offer and I also have so much care for the Bullard community," said Roy. "I grew up in Bullard, have always lived in Bullard and will forever love Bullard. I enjoy serving, meeting, and listening to others. I truly believe that I have the best understanding of our past, the ability to embrace present and willingness to look toward the future. I have always been proud to say, 'I'm from Bullard.'"
Who Are You?
Presently, Adams works as a sign maker and graphic design artist specializing in corporate branding and marketing collateral. He graduated from Lloyd V. Berkner High School in Richardson in 1985, then attended Richland College in Dallas. Adams is married to his wife, Summer, and has two children: Drew and Zoë.
Luper currently, serves as a substitute teacher for the Deaf Education program in Tyler ISD and is involved with various organizations and ministries. She graduated from Central Bucks High School East, located in Buckingham, Penn., in 1986. She then attended Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1990, earning a Bachelor's of Arts degree in elementary education and education of the deaf and hard of hearing, while also achieving post-Baccalaureate studies in early childhood education with a concentration in language development and linguistics. Luper is married to her husband, John, of 26 years, and has three children, with her youngest, Josh, attending Bullard High School.
Pyle presently serves as the manager of Jared The Galleria of Jewelry in Tyler. He graduated from Marshall High School in 1991, and then attended college at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler. Pyle is married to his wife, Jeanne, of 21 years and has three children: Haley, Mackenzie, and Brycen.
Roy is currently employed with Brookshire's Grocery Company in Tyler, a position he has worked in for 38 years. He previously served on the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees for 21 years, filling the roles of President and Vice-President of the board periodically during his tenure. He is a Class of 1975 graduate of Bullard High School. After graduating, he attended Tyler Junior College. Roy is married to his wife, Sharon, of 37 years, and has two children, Carmen and Steven.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Bullard Banner News Place 4 for Bullard ISD Board of Trustees story is a part of a series of stories profiling candidates for the upcoming Saturday, May 5 general election. All candidates are asked the same six questions, with their responses limited to 100 words.