Five candidates have filed for two full three year terms on the Salado Independent School District Board of Trustees: Jim Reed, Sam Dowdy, Jr., Rick Marruffo, Amy McLane and Marlon Reed.
As a manner of introducing them to our readers, we asked the following questions. Their answers are below, in order of appearance on the Ballot for May 7 election.
Question 1: What are the values you will bring to the SISD board of trustees, if elected, and how will they make an impact? (200 words)
Question 2: Is there an appropriate level/number of administrators in Salado ISD? Too many? Too few? If this is identified as being an issue, how can this be addressed by the Board? (200 words)
Question 3: Do you support Salado ISD Central Administration? If so, why? If not, why not and what can be done to improve it? (200 words)
Question 4: What makes you the right candidate for the position right now? (200 words)
Question 1: The values I bring to this election and to possible service include open communication, community service and trust. I have always attempted to keep communication lines open and clear. I attempt to understand before trying to be understood. These values have served me well in both the military and in my community service for a combined period of over 30 years. Finally, I believe in the value of a person’s words and actions matching.
Question 2: It is my opinion that there should not be a “target” as to a specific number. Different people have different skills. I believe our district is best served when we maximize those skills to match our needs. This is difficult to do when you have a preset number or target position to fill. We should count on our Superintendent to utilize their judgement and put the best people where they can do the most good for our students. It is the job of the trustees to approve these positions after consultation with the Superintendent. I would not want our district to be constrained by a specific number that might be either too many or not enough. What I would advocate for is an annual report from the Superintendent that compares our overall expenditures in this area against those of comparable districts.
Question 3: Central Administration can be defined many ways. For the purpose of this question, I will define it as the Superintendent. Yes, I support Salado ISD Central Administration without any reservation. Our Superintendent is a man of great integrity and he is meticulously detail oriented. Regardless of whether we have agreed or disagreed on an issue, he is always respectful and professional. He is also dedicated to every student in the district.
Dr. Novotny is well respected amongst his peers and leaders in the region. His opinion is sought out on numerous issues and he represents our community well.
I also believe you can tell a lot about a leader by the quality of staff they attract. Our district has an exceptional level of high performing staff and teachers who come to work here in part because of the quality of our leadership team.
Question 4: I believe I am the right candidate now because I care about our community and our students.
Our community is at a tipping point. In the past we have always had differing opinions that we worked respectfully through. Reasonable people can agree to disagree. Our children are watching and learning from everything that we do. Regardless of our individual opinions, we should feel obligated to be courteous and civil to each other and set the example for our kids.
Salado is a great community and it deserves a great school district. I hope the voters cast their vote for the candidate who best aligns with their values and goals for the district.
Sam Dowdy, Jr.
Question 1: It’s important to build trust with the staff and the community through every interaction with clear, honest and timely communication. We have to first listen to understand the needs of the students, teachers and staff and then take the initiative to act on those needs by doing what we say we will do. As a visionary I get excited about the growth of the community and understand the reason why people want to come to Salado. Those reasons of safety & security, faith, community, family, and most importantly freedom have to be protected.
Question 2: I can’t answer this questions without having more information.
I would want to see the organizational chart with clearly defined positions descriptions and Key Performing Indicator’s (KPI’s). Clearly defined and measurable KPI’s shouldn’t be an issue since I see some staff members are ranking 4.5+ out 5 in their annual reviews. With this information and communication with the staff we can quickly identify who is accountable for what and if we need more or less administrative staff.
Question 3: I support anyone that is taking pride in their work and is committed to maintain the highest quality and standards that meet the needs of the students.
Question 4: We all hear about the horror stories coming from Leander and Round Rock and the changes made from our federal government on how or what we educate our children. It’s important to me to protect the values of Salado and do what’s best for our children so they can focus on education basics and the teachers can do their jobs without being told what or how to teach. The teachers have been trained to do their job, we hire them on what they know and more importantly their values. We have to remove their barriers and allow them to do their jobs.
Question 1: My values that I would bring to the board are the same values I have always had in my family. Work hard and always finish your work. Play hard, after the work is done. Go to school and learn. Gain as much knowledge as you can. School is for learning traditional education and life skills. It is NOT for politics. School is for learning and developing moral skills. Loyalty above all, except honor. Respect is earned, it is never entitled. Respect your elders, and respect yourself. Never sell yourself short. This is how we will successfully help our children succeed.
Question 2: Administration is necessary in order to ensure smooth and successful operations in just about anything we do nowadays. However, there is an appropriate number based on the size and the type of job. MY belief is that you must always try to do more with less. In public schools, at the end of the day, NO amount of administrators will meet their goals if there aren’t any teachers. We need to take a hard look at our administration as our budgets continue to grow, to keep up with teacher retention and acquisition. As far as the appropriate number of administrators in Salado ISD, it is something that definitely needs to be looked at now, and on a continued basis.
Question 3: I support Central Administration 100 percent. This is done by providing them with everything possible in order for the district to succeed. That being said, a successful administration does not have to have a number of administrators attached to it. If it can be successful with an administrative staff of 10 or 100, as long as it is successful, that is what is important.
Question 4: I believe in my heart and soul in traditional values, education, and giving each and every student the maximum opportunities to succeed. I would never sacrifice my own values when dealing with school board issues. Our students should always be our number 1 priority. Every single one of them. They are mine. They always will be.
Question 1: As a board trustee, I value every single student in the district and want to see each studen succeed. As a public school, we are charged with educating each child within our school district boundaries. I want to see our students graduate and succeed in life, whatever avenue they choose to pursue. Each child is an individual and has an unique path. I see value in working in a group, being able to work well with others and to recognize other people’s strengths even when they differ from your own. I also see value in what each individual brings to the table. I value honesty, integrity, teamwork and perseverance. I want to see a district that can work together to achieve success for each child at SISD.
Question 2: Yes, I believe our district has the appropriate number of administrators in SISD. The main role of the administration is teacher support and I believe our district administrators do an excellent job providing that encouragement to our staff each day. Our district has grown by an average of 100 children per school year over the last nine years and will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the unforeseeable future. The district administration needs to be in place to face this growth challenge. These administrators have done a superb job communicating with our board on issues during my time as a trustee, as well as with the community of Salado.
Question 3: Yes, I support the SISD Central Administration and believe they do an outstanding job overseeing the operations of our district. Dr. Novotny and Dr. Ayock set the bar high for our district and push us forward to success. They make careful, thoughtful decisions on a daily basis. Our district should be proud of the leadership and service shown from the central administration.
Question 4: As a trustee, I bring experience having served as an elected board member since 2019. I worked with several district committees and groups prior to being elected, including the Long-Range Planning Committee, the district Bond Political Action Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Site-Based Planning Committee, home room parent and more. I also have three children in the district and am active as a parent. I have had a child at every campus and have been able to experience what takes place within our district, in and out of the classroom. I have seen both sides, the side as a parent and the side as a board member. I value the public education system and believe in quality education for each student within our district. I am a strong supporter of Texas public schools and want to help keep our school district on the path for success for the future. I want to continue to advocate for our district and our students as a board member at SISD.
Question 1: I will bring hard work, honesty, and commitment to our children and community. I believe, you may not be the smartest person in the room but there is no reason you shouldn’t be the hardest working; so work hard. Honor God and your parents, don’t lie, and be on time.
Question 2: I don’t know and I really have not looked at it. If it is identified as being issue, that there are too many administrators, we may have to cut some of the positions. If there is choice to make between administrators and teachers, I will chose to hire and retain teachers.
Question 3: Any support or lack of support I have for Central Administration will be told to them directly in private and then made public if appropriate.
Question 4: I believe the leadership skills I have developed over the course of military and law enforcement career will serve me well in this position.
I served on the Temple Police Association board that helped negotiate our first contract with the City of Temple. I have experience with sitting across from others who disagree with me and who I disagree with and coming to a consensus. I can do the same as a member of the school board.