Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

May 7, 2013

Mineral Wells ISD School Board Place 5 Candidates


Mineral Wells Index

— The Index asked Mineral Wells ISD candidates for Place 5, incumbent Mike Tincher and challenger Sunny Gail Lee, five questions to help voters decide which candidate to support. They were asked to limit their responses to 300 words per question.



Election day voting is Saturday, May 11, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All MWISD and City of Mineral Wells elections take place at the Palo Pinto County Annex/Poston Building, located at 107 North Oak Ave. in Mineral Wells.

Mike Tincher



Background information:

Age 51, self-employed contractor/owner of Tincher's Custom Homes. Married to Julie for 19 years. Children: Sterling, 28, who attended Mineral Wells ISD schools; Matthew, 18, a senior at Mineral Wells High School; and Luke, 15, a freshman at the high school.



Q: What is the importance of Mineral Wells ISD to this community and what can a school board trustee do to strengthen the district's functionality?



A: To give the children of this community the best education possible so they can become successful in life. As you know, a school board member's duties, by law, are to hire the superintendent, set policy and approve the budget. To hire the right superintendent so that she/he can fill the positions of our district that best suit the schools and students of this community.



Q: Student academic achievement is always an issue, especially in light of the new STAAR tests and state measuring system. What would you do, if elected, to ensure the district improves in academics and raises the bar enough so students are prepared for college, work and a successful life?



A: As a school board trustee, our job is to make sure that the kids have all the tools they need to do the best on their mandated tests. Continue to improve our technology so that they are ready for whatever the state throws at them next.



Q: The district is currently undergoing a facilities assessment. With decreasing state revenues for public schools, how would you approach generating revenue to address facility needs?



A: We as a board will sit down and discuss all options. In most cases, the board will go to the public and see what they think about a bond to take care of the needs of the school district. We currently have a community group evaluating all facilities now. They will tell us what they think is needed.



Q: How has your experience and background uniquely prepared you for the duties of a school board member?



A: I have been in the construction business for 33 years. Throughout that time I have learned to work with the public of this community. I work with budgets on building houses and other projects, and budgets are a big part of a school board trustee's job. I also feel like since we are looking at building a new school, in the next few years, that my experience in this field will be very helpful. I don't have a personal agenda, I just want the best schools for all the kids of Mineral Wells.



Q: What are other issues facing the district and what would you most like to accomplish as a Mineral Wells ISD trustee during your term, if elected?



A: I would like to see our schools continue to build relationships with the businesses in this community. This is very beneficial for some students that choose not to go to college and go straight into the workforce and find good jobs. And students that do go to college can come back to this community and live and work here and raise their children here.



Sunny Gail Lee



Background information:

Sunny Gail Lee (nee Sunny Roberts), 37, is a teacher at Graford Elementary and co-business owner and operator of Lee’s Collision Repair in Mineral Wells.

Her family includes spouse, Michael Lee, and two children: Elvis, 9, is a third-grade student, and Danica, 5, is a pre-kindergarten student. Both children are enrolled in Graford Elementary.

Education: 1993 graduate of Mineral Wells High School; 1997 graduate of Tarleton State University,with a bachelor of science in Biology; 2010 graduate of Lamar University with a Master's in Education in Education Administration. Texas Teaching Certifications include: Principal, grades pre-K-12; Composite Science, grades six-12; special education grades pre-K-12; Generalist, grades one through six; dance, grades six-12.



Q: What is the importance of Mineral Wells ISD to this community and what can a school board trustee do to strengthen the district's functionality?



A: Schools are an intricate part of our shared future. Educational opportunities determine the community’s future. The students will one day take care of us, and it is the school board’s responsibility through oversight to make sure our students receive the best possible education. We need to make sure that our students have the education they need to move on in life, but also the education that will allow them to stay in our community and be valuable and contributing citizens. It is a board member’s responsibility through school board meetings to take action on items that will benefit all students of the district. If chosen, I would strive to be impartial, listen to others' thoughts, and be responsible to the public for my decisions.



Q: Student academic achievement is always an issue, especially in light of the new STAAR tests and state measuring system. What would you do, if elected, to ensure the district improves in academics and raises the bar enough so students are prepared for college, work and a successful life?



A: The new STAAR tests and measuring system imposed on all school districts is overwhelming. There are high goals set with short time periods to obtain them. I know first-hand about these requirements, since I work in public education and I understand the trickle down impact school board decisions have on the students where it matters the most - the classroom. I would, through working with the board and superintendent, help to make sure the necessary resources are available to improve student achievement. It is not always necessary to ask for more revenue, but sometimes there needs to be an adjustment in priorities. Mineral Wells has great kids, and they are deserving of the opportunity to have the best teachers with the greatest resources so that they may achieve at a high level. I would also work with the superintendent and board in looking at new initiatives as needed to improve student learning.



Q: The district is currently undergoing a facilities assessment. With decreasing state revenues for public schools, how would you approach generating revenue to address facility needs?



A: If our facilities assessment committee recommended the need for new facilities or even updating the present facilities, we need to look at how we might be able to bring in more money. We would want to balance the needs of our community with the ability to create facilities that could generate revenues for the district through rental agreements, lease options and possible shared services with our community. Before looking at raising taxes in this tight economy and in this time where many homeowners are being asked for more resources to help schools, we would need to look towards grants that are available such as community grants. Also, we need to make sure our school leaders are investing our funds in the way that will give us the greatest return on our investments.



Q: How has your experience and background uniquely prepared you for the duties of a school board member?



A: This is my 16th year to serve in public school education. I taught high school science for 13 years with five years of service in Mineral Wells ISD. For the past three years I have taught various elementary grades and disciplines. Recently, I earned my Masters in Education Administration from Lamar University. Throughout the years, I have served on various school improvement and climate committees, coached sports, sponsored several extra-curricular activities and fulfilled administrative duties. I have served the youth and community in Mineral Wells through volunteer activities. For example, I have coached youth soccer and basketball teams and participated in the Citizens Police Academy. I can bring a new perspective to the MWISD school board with all of my public education experience and training. Also, I bring knowledge from a business perspective, since my husband and I own and operate Lee’s Collision Repair in Mineral Wells. My husband and I were raised in Mineral Wells and we have deep roots here. We understand that educational opportunities determine the community’s future. If our schools are excellent, the community will be excellent.



Q: What are other issues facing the district and what would you most like to accomplish as a Mineral Wells ISD trustee during your term, if elected?



A: There are so many issues facing all school districts in Texas. There are ambitious goals set forth for Texas’ school districts to meet by 2020. For example, closing performance gaps and ensuring exemplary performance in the areas of English, Math, Science and Social Studies are a couple of tall orders for our district. In addition to the 2020 goals, there are still wounds from the 2008 budget cuts. MWISD is modestly funded to meet these requirements and a unique approach to meet the unique needs of the district must be considered. I plan to work closely with fellow board members, the superintendent and all of the MWISD community to search for the best solutions for all issues facing MWISD.