The HISD Board is back at full strength.
As Anne Sung and Holly Flynn Vilaseca took their oaths of office and became Houston ISD’s newest Board of Education trustees on Thursday, their husbands swaddled their months-old babies in one hand and held holy books in the other.
Sung’s 11-month-old daughter, Sarita, and Flynn Vilaseca’s 13-month-old, Nicolas, hardly made a peep as their mothers became leaders of the nation’s seventh-largest school district.
Sung was elected as the District 7 trustee and will replace Harvin Moore, who resigned from the board last summer. Vilaseca was unanimously appointed by the board Monday to fill the District 6 seat vacated by Greg Meyers, who resigned at the board’s December meeting.
Both new members will serve through 2017. Then their seats will be back up for election.
Sung and Flynn Vilaseca said top priorities include ensuring equity in terms of the number of talented teachers, funding and facilities across Houston’s campuses. Flynn Vilaseca said she would also like to focus on lobbying the state to abandon “recapture,” which takes money from so-called property-rich districts to assist those with lower property values.
Houston ISD officials have argued that because 75 percent of district students are considered low income, the money it pays to the state for recapture would be better spent locally.
Sung also hopes to make sure the board and district are operating ethically and transparently, particularly in the way it spends money.
Both also plan to focus on improving student achievement, especially among the district’s lowest-performing students.
“We need to bring attention back to doing what’s right for students and preparing them for life after high school,” Sung said. “We need to make sure we align what we’re teaching with what’s happening in the world.”
See here for more on Vilaseca. I’ve heard some chatter that she does plan to run for a full term in November, which will be a race to watch. I look forward to interviewing her down the line. In the meantime, the Board (which elected its officers for the year; Wanda Adams is now Board President) has a lot to deal with, including lobbying the Lege to do something about recapture, dealing with the revelations about special education, continuing the bond-funded construction projects, and so on. Welcome aboard, ladies (*), let’s get to work. The Press has more.
(*) In case you hadn’t noticed (I only just did), with the election of Sung and the selection of Vilaseca, the HISD Board is now comprised of seven women and two men.