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May election of interest: Spring Branch ISD

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the May 2021 elections going on – for someone like me in the city of Houston and HISD, there generally isn’t anything for me on the ballot, and there’s been plenty of other action to follow. A couple of people asked me about the Spring Branch ISD elections, and there was a race there that interested me and that I thought I’d bring to your attention as well. The Chron had a brief writeup about it in early April.

Virginia Elizondo

There are two Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustee positions that are up for grabs on the upcoming May 1 ballot. Only one is contested.

One of those is Position 3, which is held by Minda Caesar, who is completing her first three-year term and is running unopposed to keep her position.

The other is Position 4, which Chris Vierra is vacating after serving three three-year terms on the board. Two candidates, Chris Earnest and Virginia Elizondo, are vying to fill Position 4.

With her two youngest children graduating from Stratford High School this year, Vierra said it is a natural transition time for her and her family.

She said she hopes to continue to serve the district in other ways.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the school board for the last nine years,” she said. “I will be forever thankful for the opportunity to work with remarkable and inspiring parents, teachers, staff, and fellow board members, learning about what makes a district strong and how to best serve the educational needs of our future citizens.”

Earnest and Elizondo responded to a few questions from the Memorial Examiner. Early voting for the two races will be from April 19 through April 27 while election day is May 1.

You can read the rest for the q&a, and you can visit the respective websites to see what each candidate is about, but it’s pretty simple. Virginia Elizondo is a career educator with 20 years experience in SBISD, and she’s been endorsed by all of the incumbent Board members who have given endorsements. Chris Earnest is pretty much the opposite of that. He’s a parent with no experience, which is fine as it is, but he’s emphasizing divisive things, as you can see in this mailer, which touts “conservative family values”, vows an end to masks, opposes “revisionist history”, and finishes with a call to “take back our schools”. I’m sure we can all guess what that’s all about.

I don’t live in SBISD, but I like functional school boards, with board members who focus on the kids and the mission of educating them. Spring Branch elects all of its board members to At Large positions, but that has had the effect of over-representing the neighborhoods and schools in the south end of the district. Virginia Elizondo lives near Northbrook High School, and if elected she would be the only member who lives in the northern end of the district. I think that matters, and it’s another reason to support her. If you live in SBISD or know someone who does, Virginia Elizondo is worth your vote.

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6 Comments

  1. brad says:

    Chris Earnest is a no-nothing empty suit whose sole reason for running is because he is throwing a tantrum that in-person school learning was delayed by 2 weeks at the beginning of this academic year.

    His touted experience/resume is fully of puffery, his appearances at the candidate forum and PTA meetings have only gone further to solidify that he is woefully out of this depth, and frankly he comes across as a Bro who seemed to be someone who jumped into the race after having a couple of beers and is now more worried about his ego and losing than about bringing any thoughtful well considered ideas (of which he has mentioned none) on how to help the students, most of which in SBISD are actually in great need.

    Yes, please vote for the candidate (Elizondo) whose professional experience, specific SBISD work and demeanor will well serve ALL the students of SBISD.

  2. Virginia says:

    I expect nothing left—oops, less—from Kuff. Here’s the truth. Virginia has run before. If SBISD voters (north AND south of I-10), she would already have a seat. And she’d be gearing up for her second term.

  3. Chad says:

    @Brad get your facts straight, Chris doesn’t even drink. Get to know the candidates and the issues, your ignorance is on full display here. Might want to put the brews down yourself Brad Bro

  4. Manny says:

    I don’t know brad nor Chad, but brad never said that Chris drinks.

  5. Jason says:

    I’ve known Chris for 25+ years. Brad’s assessment is worth less than a wooden nickel.

    Oh, and Chris won.

  6. Frederic says:

    Jason,

    Chris ran an excellent campaign. In the sense that when your candidate is underwhelming, its best not to not compare yourself to your opponent’s incredible breadth and depth in education and instead to use:

    1) amorphous sound bites: Chris said the board needs to use common sense…vague and non-specific so he could avoid providing any tangible ideas of his own. Also, a great way to introduce yourself to the rest of the board by saying they don’t have any common sense.
    2) nationalize: Elizondo must be a Democrat [see her last name]…Biden is a Democrat and so the Education Secretary is a Democrat and he said something one time that we don’t like, so we need to amplify that …and so its almost like the opponent is the Secretary of Education, not the talented educator/administrator she is
    3) don’t talk about the subject like it should be talked about: when discussing literacy and math targets Earnest said “if SBISD was a business I’d never run it this way”. Go ahead and ask Dr Blaine and any teacher in SBISD if they want the district run like a business. What is Earnest going to suggest…fire the teachers if SBISD doesn’t make a profit like a business?
    4) white grievance: there is obviously many instances of inconvenient truth in our country’s history that makes many white people squirm and defensive and don’t want difficult subject matter raised. Best not to have the chance that something like this could come up in a history class for their children that they might have to comment on. Out of sight, out of mind is more palatable.
    5) superficiality: Many people I know were reached out to with requests to support Chris because “he is like us”. Also refer to White Grievance above
    6) take advantage of supporters lack of critical thinking: Earnest prominently posted a video talking about how he was the “diversity” candidate due to his business experience. Yet another affluent, white, south of I-10 candidate vs the Hispanic, modest lifestyled, north of I-10 candidate…hmmm, which one of these says diversity to you?
    7) unfounded conspiracy theory: tie your opponent to something your supporters don’t have an understanding or grasp. “Scary Unions will use Elizondo as their tool for evil things”!!! yet the campaign couldn’t or wouldn’t identify any union proposal that his opponent was actually supporting that was egregious
    8) outrage: the level of hostility Chris displayed was impressive, i.e. the reason for his campaign. Anger is a great vote motivator. Reminded me of another national federal candidate recently…can’t quite remember that candidate’s name

    It will be interesting to see how Chris performs on the board. He is like the barking dog chasing the school bus. Now that he has caught the school bus I am sure he is wondering what he does now.

    For the sake of the broad spectrum of students of SBISD I hope the light bulb goes off for Earnest at some point early in his trusteeship. I am sure many folks wish him much luck and illumination. I do.