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Meet the Candidates: Six Running for Three Seats
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 • Posted May 3, 2013

Early voting has begun, and the race for three seats on the Llano ISD School Board will conclude on May 11.

There are three seats up for grabs, Place 2, which is currently held by John Moran, Place 6, which is currently held by Becky Robinson, and Place 7, currently held by Ronnie Rudd.

Moran and Robinson opted to not seek re-election, however, Rudd has filed to run.

Cody Fly is the lone candidate for Place 2; three are running for Robinson’s former seat in Place 6 - Paul Hull, Lyn Jenkins, and Trevor Dupuy. Llano resident Letitia McCasland has filed to run against incumbent and current school board president, Ronnie Rudd.

Each of the six candidates were asked to provide a brief bio and answer general questions about why they are seeking a place on the school board , what they feel are the most important issues facing Llano ISD, and how they would like to see them resolved.

CODY FLY

I moved to Llano with my family in 2004. In 1996, I married my college sweetheart, Keesha. We have two sons, Cade, (12) and Brock, (8). I earned a BS degree from Abilene Christian University in 1997 and a MBA degree from the University of North Texas in 2003. I am employed at Ben E. Keith as the General Manager over sales and operations. I have worked at Ben E. Keith for 17 years. Currently, I serve on the boards of the Llano Little League and Llano Youth Football League.

Why are you interested in serving on the school board?

I want to make certain that every student in Llano County has the opportunity to earn a quality education. I believe that every child learns differently, and we should provide a learning environment that will ensure that all students not only meet but exceed state requirements.

What benefits or changes do you believe you will bring to the position?

I have over 15 years experience in leading and managing employees for a large corporation. I feel that my experience managing employees, operations and financials will make me an asset to the LISD school board.

In your opinion, what are Llano ISD’s biggest issues?

1.Employee retention

2.CSCOPE curriculum

3.Out-dated facilities

What recommendations do you have that might help resolve those issues?

1.The employees at LISD are the greatest asset to our school district. In order to retain these employees we must provide an environment that is built on trust and respect. When there is a job opening, it is imperative that we recruit the best and brightest candidates for our schools.

2.There has not been enough information from the district regarding the CSCOPE curriculum. As a parent, I feel that CSCOPE excludes parents from their child’s education. LISD should be encouraging parent participation.

3.LISD has done a great job to build a surplus in its general fund balance, but I feel it has been at the expense of our facilities. There should be a plan in place that addresses facility needs and upgrades annually. We should have more pride in all aspects of our school system.

PAUL HULL

Paul lives in Horseshoe Bay and has been married to Nellie Castelan Hull for 23 years and they have two children Paul and Jordyn. Jordyn attends Llano Junior High. Paul is a Veteran and currently a Senior Director for Kforce Government Solutions. A proven leader with 20 years of Military/Federal Programs and budget experience. Paul holds a Masters Degree in Management. He leads employees spread across the U.S. with 80M in annual budget responsibility. His team supports the Veterans Administration, Dept of State, Dept of Education, and several other federal agencies. He coaches several youth sports teams in Llano County.

I am running for LISD because I bring experience that can provide value to our children and bring a fresh perspective on the issues related to our school system. I have managed through tough budget times fully understanding that cutting staff, freezing pay, and slashing services should be last options. I have managed large organizations knowing that the key to the success of any organization is the people and making sure that we continue to incentivize, reward, and recognize our school staffs. I have a vested interest in the success of LISD as I have family in most Llano schools.

I see the most pressing issues are CSCOPE, Budgets, and infrastructure improvements for our school system. I know that the LISD and the State Boards have committees currently reviewing CSCOPE. I am very interested in seeing the results of the reviews, ready and willing to ensure the results are open to all, and based on the results, eager to work collaboratively on the best path forward with parents, educators, staff, and curriculum experts.

With budgets, we need Collaborative discussions with all stakeholders to make sure we pursue all options and fully researching Federal, State, and local grant options for the best direction to minimize impacts. In regards to infrastructure, I support the Bond that solves some immediate issues. However, in my opinion it is a short term solution. I will look for more long term solutions with bonds. Also, I commit to look under every rock at the local, state, and federal levels before we pull out of our taxpayers’ pockets. I am connected to the Llano County communities and will promote open and collaborative interaction with parents, educators, and staff. Give me your vote on May 11 and together we can bring a new perspective to old issues.

LYN JENKINS

My family has lived in the Llano County area since 1974. My younger siblings attended elementary school in Llano. I am married to Robert Vaade (Llano HS Math teacher) and we have 4 grown children all in their thirties We have 3 granddaughters and a grandson due any day. I practice law in Llano County and the surrounding areas. I taught science 2 years in Texas public schools and one year at Faith Academy in Marble Falls. I have worked as a social worker, a counselor and a unit manager in a maximum security prison. Member of the Church at Horseshoe Bay. I am a three time cancer survivor/warrior. I plan to run the Boston Marathon next year.

Why are you interested in serving on the school board?

I am old enough to have the education (Lawyer), experience (40+ years in the work force) and expertise (excellent people skills through a background of counseling, social work, management, and law) and still young at heart to have the energy and enthusiasm to be effective in the task.

What benefits or changes do you believe you will bring to the position?

I have a diverse background from the current board members and I will bring fresh ideas. As the new person on the block I will learn the current methods of operations before changing something that maybe working well.

In your opinion, what are Llano ISD’s biggest issues?

Providing a safe, secure and supportive environment to learn. Teach to the whole child. All involved people need to voice their opinion: What do we want the school to do? Both the community: which encompasses parents, business owners, churches, police officers, judges, and the school: which encompasses the administration, teachers, counselors and students must all agree on the goals and purpose of the school. Do we want to work with just the athlete, just the college bound, or the military bound or community college student? How about guiding and mentoring all young people to be productive adults, taxpayers, home purchasers and future parents?

What recommendations do you have that might help resolve those issues?

Open communication lines! Hire involved caring teachers and administrators. Talk, text or email parents at the front end of problems. Get to know the students; they have lives outside of school. These lives affect their emotions and physical health which affect their school participation and involvement with other students and teachers.

TREVOR DUPUY

Education: BS: Civil Engineering – US Military Academy, West Point, NY, MA: International Relations – Claremont Graduate School, Dean’s List Graduate - US Army Command and General Staff College.

Experience: Retired US Army Officer: Intelligence Analyst and Southeast Asian Insurgency Specialist, Advised and trained various Southeast Asian military and indigenous security forces and worked in two US Embassies in Southeast Asia, Professor of Military Science and Academic Department Chair, University of Delaware and Salisbury State College, Taught university credit courses in American History, Government, National Security Affairs, Leadership, Taught and administered JROTC programs at McArthur and Madison High Schools, Northeast ISD, San Antonio, Volunteer ESL tutor and GED teacher with Highland Lakes Literacy Society, Volunteer with Fredericksburg Vacation Liberty School, Financial Planner and sales manager for investment and insurance products at USAA, San Antonio, TX, Sole proprietor of real estate appraisal company

Community: Resident of Horseshoe Bay since 2001. Active in Church and Community, Past President of Applehead Property Owners Association, Past Member of Board of Trustees, Church at Horseshoe Bay, Past Member of numerous organizational boards in San Antonio, TX prior to 2001

My principle reason for running for the Llano ISD School Board focuses on the curriculum program, called CSCOPE, that has been in use by the Llano ISD for over 5 years now. I believe CSCOPE was never properly vetted, is rife with content inaccuracies and ideological controversies and was developed and brought onboard under a cloak of secrecy and dubious maneuvers. The State Legislature, the Texas Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education (SBOE) were circumvented in the development and adoption of CSCOPE. There is also evidence of possible funding improprieties and possible kick backs to move CSCOPE quickly and quietly into the ISDs. CSCOPE is currently in use by over 70% of the ISDs in Texas and the test results for most of those schools has deteriorated measurably.

The 83d State Legislature and the State AG office are currently investigating CSCOPE, while the SBOE is putting together a panel to review it. The Llano ISD has also established a committee to investigate/vet CSCOPE, some 5 years after it was implemented by the ISD.

I am concerned that there is insufficient time to properly vet the over 1600 lesson plans and their references that make up CSCOPE and still allow time for the ISDs to come up with an alternative program for the 2013-14 school year as may be necessary. It is my opinion that in the interests of good planning and management, the Llano ISD should replace CSCOPE with an acceptable alternative program that has already met SBOE scrutiny and approval. If it should be later determined that parts of CSCOPE have some redeeming qualities, those parts can be incorporated into a new curriculum management plan that is developed transparently and according to proper procedure.

LETITIA McCASLAND

I have lived in the Highland Lakes area for 23 years with the past 6 years in Llano. I am a former elementary teacher, jr. high teacher, counselor and high school tennis coach. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Education. I have two children, one that attends Llano Jr. High and one that attends private school at Llano Christian Academy, and I have been an active volunteer every year my children have attended school. My husband Brad and I are business owners in Llano. I am a active member of the community, serving on the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of Llano, a member of the Jr. Women’s Culture Club, I have been a Student Mentor for Llano Elementary, I serve on the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) of Llano, and am actively involved in church ministry for children. I am ready and willing to devote my time, talents and experience to serve you and the children of this community.

Why are you interested in serving on the school board?

I am interested in serving on the Llano ISD School Board because I truly believe that the children of this community are our most important assets. I would be able to deliver a fresh, new voice and I would be responsive to the public and teachers with their concerns. We should strive to promote and encourage a positive learning environment to achieve the high expectations set by the state of Texas. As a taxpayer, I do not believe the school district is using our tax dollars to educate our children at the highest level. The school is providing less, not more educational resources for our children. The school board’s decisions must reflect what is best for all students.

What benefits or changes do you believe you will bring to the position?

The benefits I will bring to this board is a new perspective. I will be able to make educational decisions based on my experiences in the classroom, working as a teacher and school counselor. I have been in the trenches and know what it takes to teach the children of today.

In your opinion, what are Llano ISD’s biggest issues?

Llano ISD’s biggest issues that need to be addressed are: finding a challenging curriculum, decreasing class size, implementing an advanced learner program, the need to re-establish self contained classrooms in the lower elementary grades, and provide our teachers the freedom to use their creative abilities to teach our children. Every student and educator deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her potential. We need to recruit and retain high quality administrators and teachers and not settle for mediocrity.

What recommendations do you have that might help resolve those issues?

I will ensure that the Llano ISD curriculum is accurate and relevant to the REAL world. I will also ensure that all curriculum is properly aligned with TEKS and the STARR tests. Passing the school bond issue in this election is of immediate importance. Finding a suitable replacement for CSCOPE for the 2013-14 school year is of equal importance but we have about two months of additional time to get that done properly. The CSCOPE Study Committee that has already been formed, should have a sub-committee devoted to ensuring we have a suitable replacement for the CSCOPE curriculum for the 2013-14 school year.

RONNIE RUDD

Ronnie Rudd has served on the Llano I.S.D. School Board for eight years and has been Board president for the last five years. He was a practicing CPA for 40 years before retiring as managing partner of the San Antonio and Austin offices of Arthur Andersen. He is a past president of the Texas Society of CPAs, past chairman of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, and past chairman of the National Association of Boards of Accountancy. He is a candidate for Position 7.

Why are you interested in serving on the school board?

I would like to see Llano I.S.D. be the top rated school in its class. Since I have been on the Board, we have come from being rated near “Academically Unacceptable” to being consistently rated as “Recognized” or “Exemplary”. This happened because we put people and plans in place to make it happen. We can do more, but we have to be proud of what we have done.

What benefits or changes do you believe you will bring to the position?

I have a proven track record of being prudent with taxpayers’ dollars and with working with our teachers to try to do all we can to improve student education. The fact that our teachers and students are doing well is because of actions we have taken while I have been on the Board.

In your opinion, what are Llano I.S.D.’s biggest issues?

Clearly, the biggest issue is financial. The State is not providing any more money in the near term. Unless we manage this well, we will not have any money to address other issues. We have a lot of concern about our curriculum, and we have a committee addressing those concerns. The administration and the School Board will be addressing any recommendations in the near future. Because of my background as a CPA, I believe I am uniquely qualified to help this district with its biggest problems.

What recommendations do you have that might help resolve those issues?

I believe I have covered this in the other comments.

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