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Saturday, June 25, 2022

New School Board President Looks at the Challenges and Looks for Positive Solutions – Part Two

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Soon after being sworn in as the new KISD School Board President, Joe Taylor shared some of his thoughts on questions submitted by the Kennedale News in a written interview. Last week the Kennedale News printed his answers to several of those questions. ?(See http://kennedalenews.com/new-school-board-president-looks-at-the-challenges-and-looks-for-positive-s-p704-90.htm) ?This week the Kennedale News is printing the rest of the questions and his responses.
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One item that got a lot of attention in the last election for school board was the issue of openness or transparency. Do you feel that is a real issue? ?{{more}}Even if you do not think it is, the perception is there among a number of people in the district (based on election figures it is almost 40% of voters). How do you change that perception?
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We persist in our efforts to do better. Of course there is always room for improvement in communicating, but my opinion is that this is less of an issue than ever before. We have been very proactive in communication efforts and we continue looking for ways to do better, including hiring a public relations coordinator, the newsletter, the new district and campus Web sites, the School Connect communication app and more. Certainly we appreciate the job the Kennedale News is doing, too!

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Communication efforts have improved greatly and I?m excited about the improvements. Of course, a two-way interaction or participation, – some give and take, is necessary, so anyone wanting more information could certainly reach out, – the doors are open. It is said that a margin of 2 or 3 percent is a great win in an election. With the incumbent candidates receiving about 50% more votes than the challengers, it seems the election results were a clear and resounding shout of approval for leadership in the district.
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Is there a need to repair city/school district relations?
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There is a need for some crucial conversations. Leadership should come together to work for solutions, rather than working against each other. It is imperative for the city and school district, along with others, to be in partnership for the benefit of our community and our students.

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Certainly, the volunteer time I have invested for the last 13 years in literally hundreds of meetings and efforts including the Chambers, the Vision 2015 Committee, the Dispatch, the Rotary Club, and many coffees and lunches have been, in part, efforts to promote the synthesis that we should all be working for. We must work for the common goals our constituents and customers care about.
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I take this very seriously and I think, hopefully, everyone else does, too.
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What do you think are the greatest strengths of this school district?
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Our people.
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We have wonderful people working for the kids in our schools. Our teachers, aides, our front office employees, administrators, our staff including food services, maintenance, janitorial, coaches, our volunteers, parents, and counselors, and of course the people in our community are great. Our schools have a family feel which is an incredibly unique and special atmosphere. I credit the passion that many of our educators and others bring to their work.
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KISD has great academics, our band and fine arts programs and our athletic programs are excellent, facilities are excellent. Career and tech education is making great gains along with a number of other programs. We are richly blessed. We really have a lot of good things going for us.
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If you do only one thing that you think should be done as president what would it be?
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Create and improve opportunities for our kids.
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But there?s more; there are many things we hope to accomplish. I think we all want to create more and better opportunities for students, and I think we all want to lift up the kids that need help. It doesn?t require a title to contribute or be a part of that effort. I think we can all do significant and important things to better the now and the future for our kids. Margaret Meade once said, ?Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.?
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Right here in Kennedale there are a lot of kids who need some kind of help. Whether it?s a meal when they?re not at school, some clothes or shoes, a coat in the winter, or maybe some help with homework because mom and dad can?t be available. I think that one of the best things we could do as a community would be to come together to build a center where kids could go for those things.
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I envision a happy place where anyone could get help, get fed, get something from the closet, or find someone to talk, play with, or pray with. The Rotary Club has discussed it and taken some steps, but our club is small and it seems that we?ll need some partnerships to make this happen. People are working on some pieces of this, and a few more thoughtful, committed citizens could significantly impact the project.
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Ask them to call me.

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