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Kennedale
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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

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With the retirement of Dr. Mike Walker as school board trustee and president in June, the members of the board turned to Joe Taylor. Dr. Walker had been on the the school board for nine years and had been board president for eight of those years. Joe Taylor, a longtime resident of Kennedale and a lifetime resident of this area, was chosen to succeed Dr. Walker in an unanimous vote by his fellow board members.
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Mr. Taylor later agreed to answer questions submitted to him by the Kennedale News . The following is the first of two articles on his responses to those questions. {{more}}
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What is your background? Briefly, tell us who you are.?
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My wife Ginger and I moved into the Kennedale school district in 1986, shortly after our marriage in 1985. I am a contractor, primarily involved in restoration, roofing, and remodeling work. Ginger and I have both been involved in church and community service for years. Ginger has served as a volunteer in schools since 1993, and I serve on boards of the Kennedale Chamber of Commerce, the KISD Education Foundation, Kennedale Rotary Club, previously the Boy Scout Troop, and have been a School Board Trustee since 2000, serving as Vice President most of those years.
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We have two children, Emily and Ben. Both Emily and Ben were 13 year students in Kennedale schools, valedictorians of their classes, and honor graduates of TCU. Emily went on to earn her Master of Science in Accounting (Taxation) from Texas Tech and recently became a licensed CPA. Ben worked in youth ministry while in college and works for Teach for America. Ben will be a classroom teacher for the next two years, serving students in poverty, helping give them an opportunity for high achievement.
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What are your goals as you take over as President of the KISD Board?
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Of course we want to maintain the positive track we?ve been on. We are standing on the shoulders of some excellent past leaders. My ongoing hope is for more and better opportunities for our kids, and that our schools can continue to improve and be proactive in preparing students for their futures.
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The world?s landscape is changing rapidly and certainly the demographics in Kennedale are too. The future for our students is, perhaps more than ever, a mystery. We?re told that schools are preparing many students for jobs that are not even known today, so there is no shortage of challenges or opportunities.
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Academic excellence is the priority. Career and Technology education is an area we all hope to expand. Involving families in education is an ongoing and important challenge for us. Certainly a safe and supportive environment for our students, faculty and staff is a top priority, along with providing more opportunities for all students. Kennedale High School was just ranked second in Texas 3A schools for the UIL Lone Star Cup, annually awarded for a combination of academics and athletics, and we want more!
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In my opinion, the most important thing the board does is set the vision and goals of the district, and a priority for our board is the renewal of our mission and goals in the near future. Some of the goals we set not long ago have become standards for KISD. I am excited about where we are, and even more excited about where we are going!
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The past two years have been contentious times for the Board and for the District. Is there anything that can be done to help?
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KISD is the largest employer and the largest real estate property owner in the district, I think. With that being said, if we don?t have a few challenges, it?s probably time to check for a pulse. Is there room for improvement? Certainly there are some areas of concern and some things to work through, but I don?t believe there?s anything extraordinary. The positives far outweigh any negatives.
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We have tremendous confidence in our educators working through any challenges. They are very proactive and steadfast in a time that public schools are facing greater and greater challenges. The accountability standards need an overhaul, but our educational leaders continually strive to make the best opportunities possible for our kids. Kennedale schools are doing great things and every year those opportunities are improving.
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To help? A thing anyone could easily do to help is to get informed of the good news in KISD and share the word. Also, volunteer somewhere, donate somewhere, support the Education Foundation or the Rotary Club, help a kid and thank a teacher. There is joy in giving, and there is a place for some committed citizens.
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In the next article coming next week, Mr. Taylor discusses the last election, city/school relations and his greatest wish.?

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