In HISD District VII, the Chron goes with a challenger, in this case Mac Walker.
In unruly classrooms and school boards alike, you’ve got good kids, you’ve got troublemakers, and then you’ve got the good kids who, for some reason, follow the troublemakers down a path to mischief.
That was Anne Sung in 2018. Amid the HISD board’s dysfunction, this Harvard-educated, former award-winning HISD physics teacher and strong advocate for special education whom we had enthusiastically endorsed for District VII trustee joined colleagues who met secretly with former Superintendent Abe Saavedra, which state officials say violated Texas’ open meetings law. Three days later she voted to swap Saavedra for interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan.
Sung apologized and said she only wanted Saavedra’s advice on state oversight issues and didn’t know of plans to hire him until moments before she voted for it.
“I didn’t understand what was happening,” she told us. We don’t know what’s worse — premeditating a school board coup or hastily voting for it, without public input, after two minutes’ deliberation.
Incumbents only lose our endorsement when there’s a qualified replacement and luckily there’s Mac Walker.
Listed on ballots as “Lee Walker” due to a district error, he’s a first-time candidate whose motivation truly seems to be raising up the district that raised him.
My interview with Mac Walker is here, with Anne Sung is here, with Bridget Wade is here, and with Dwight Jefferson is here. Clearly, Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca got luckier with her opposition than either Anne Sung or Elizabeth Santos did. The editorial also touches on the ballot name situation, so hopefully as many people as possible will be properly informed about that.
Over in the HCC races, the Chron stays with one incumbent, Adriana Tamez in District 3.
In 2013, when the editorial board endorsed Dr. Adriana Tamez for an unexpired term on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, she represented a breath of fresh air on a board mired with longstanding issues of cronyism and dereliction.
Two years later, when we endorsed her again — for a full term this time — it was because she impressed us with her stalwart commitment to workforce development and unabashed calls for financial accountability in her first term. Today, she’s campaigning on the same platform.
Despite some clear blemishes on her record these past six years, her steady demeanor, deep well of educational, financial and managerial knowledge and focused grasp of the remaining gaps in HCC’s system leads us to recommend District III voters give Adriana Tamez, 57, another term representing southeast Houston.
Tamez can point to concrete achievements she’s helped usher in for HCC. From cementing partnerships with Apple and the PepsiCo Foundation to help students access career opportunities, to expanding dual-credit programs in high schools and working on investing COVID funds in resilient online infrastructure, she has put her nearly three decades of educational experience — as a bilingual teacher, principal, HISD central region superintendent, president and CEO of a charter school — to good use.
My interview with Adriana Tamez is here; I did not interview her opponent. I personally think she’s one of the better board members, and we’re going to need all the help we can get with
Over in HCC District 8, it’s another challenger as the Chron goes with Jharrett Bryantt.
Since 2009, Eva Loredo has been a stalwart on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, a former board chair who has provided stability and leadership through a storm of scandals.
There comes a time, though, when a bold challenger with fresh ideas can bring new vision to an entity sorely in need of it.
As such, we recommend Jharett Bryantt to represent this diverse district that stretches from southwest Houston to the Port of Houston.
Bryantt, 32, an assistant superintendent for HISD, is considered something of a rising star in education circles. Earlier this year, he was a finalist for superintendent for a mid-sized Utah school district.
His ambitions may go far beyond the borders of District VIII. Yet one of his areas of expertise — college readiness — dovetails nicely with HCC’s mission, and Bryantt impressed the editorial board with his ideas for improving HCC’s subpar 30 percent graduation rate. His proposal to tie graduation rates to the evaluation of HCC’s chancellor would bring much-needed accountability.
This kind of problem-solving was missing from Loredo’s pitch. Loredo, 69, talks about how she puts students first, but didn’t present a single idea on how to improve HCC’s declining enrollment — a 17 percent drop from 2019 to 2020. Loredo waved it off as part of a nationwide trend, which is true, but trustees should still act urgently to address it.
My interview with Jharrett Bryantt is here and with Eva Loredo is here. This is a legitimately tough choice – I have a lot of respect for Loredo, but Bryantt is an impressive and well-qualified candidate. Listen to the interviews and make up your own mind.