School Board Elections – What You Need to Know

School Board Elections - What You Need to Know

To get teachers more involved in the school board elections, MaryAnn Knight and Allison Foster-Haliburton & Knight formed the Mansfield Organization of Voting Educators. They hosted a forum last Thursday at to allow all candidates a chance to speak to the community.

Below are bullet points of each candidate’s stances and goals. Early voting began yesterday through April 27; official voting day is May 1 for three seats on the Mansfield ISD Board of Trustees.


Kenneth J. Chalk (Place 1)

  • “Chalk belongs on the board”
  • Mansfield resident for 14 years, 2 sons graduated from MISD
  • Passionate about family and students
  • “One child at a time”
  • All students treated fairly with diversity and inclusion… “I’m proud to be an MISD graduate”
  • Fair and equitable for everyone
  • Learning gap has slid since virus, wants to fix that
  • Advocate for parents, students, teachers, schools


Desiree Thomas (Place 2)

  • Involved parent, maybe too involved according to kids
  • Substitute teacher
  • 2 daughters in MISD: one graduated, one current senior
  • Mansfield resident for 24 years
  • Volunteering with MISD for past 20 years, even before girls were in school
  • Believed in helping kids always
  • PTA council for 14 years
  • Decisions must be made based on all campuses, not just one campus
  • Wants to be recognizable face
  • She may have her own opinion, but wants to hear students, educators, parents, etc. because they live that life
  • Zoning, bond, student health, advocacy, leadership committees
  • Mansfield needs a voice; doesn’t believe MISD has that voice currently
  • Wants to speak for teachers when state makes mandates that aren’t necessary


Yolanda McPherson (Place 2)

  • Retired educator, 32 years
  • Married, 2 graduates from LRHS
  • Many committees under belt where she made “life-changing” decisions for families
  • Diverse group of students in career
  • Passionate about education and opportunities


Philip DeGroat (Place 2)

  • Cleburne public schooling, SFA, UTA; information tech background
  • Looked all over metroplex for school district, MISD outranked all others
  • Involved in district, PTA and starting STEM schools
  • Wants to contribute more in district
  • Bring skills that aren’t currently present – numbers, anomalies


Theresa Okoro (Place 2)

  • 16 years in Mansfield
  • Son in middle, 3 nephews in hs/ms, grandson in pre-k, family working in district; 6 kids through MISD, all GT, one SPED
  • Nurse since 1979
  • Has ability to lead and work as a team
  • Finishing doctorate currently
  • “If it was up to me, I’d pay teachers double, triple…”
  • Parents and teachers must work together
  • Member of school board in New Mexico previously, started closed campuses for lunch there because students didn’t come back; they said “food in school not good,” she tried it, made new menu and cafe
  • Came from outside, looking in to see what needs to be done
  • Wants to bring different ideas to district
  • Represents African community, born in Nigeria, bridge culture gap


Corinne Fiagome (Place 4)

  • Family in TX for generations
  • Mom had poor school experience, moved for children
  • Went through Arlington ISD, then started family in MISD
  • Students said school didn’t prepare them for life after graduation – unfair, public education wasn’t good enough everywhere
  • Former teacher, understands the hard work and support needed
  • Need to do more for students on the edges; many students are thriving, many are not – give more attention and resources to them at board level


Christine Beason (Place 4)

  • Mom of 2 in MISD, married to MISD teacher, former teacher and college professor for education
  • Always wanted to be on board, passionate about education
  • Has student, teacher, state and corporate/career perspective
  • Reduce emphasis on standardized testing – trust teachers to tell more about child’s learning than 4-hour test, stressful for students, poor assessments, should be to provide feedback to students and parents… STAAR/EOC results come too late to make a difference, student should be proud of learning
  • Support teachers – they are the experts, society doesn’t treat teachers as professionals, but as glorified babysitters, teachers should not be limited by state standards, they lose their voice


Kevin Robedee (Place 4)

  • Teacher for 21 years, 3 different districts
  • Brings employee perspective to board
  • Understands how hard it is to take a day off, more work than just staying that day
  • Teacher, principal and superintendent certificate
  • “Man of a thousand questions”
  • Houston has great teacher organizations, advocated for them and wants to do it for MISD


Keziah Valdes Farrar (Place 4)

  • Mansfield whole life, 3 kids in MISD
  • Voice for students and teachers
  • Invested in community, business owners – real estate, lawn care, commercial development
  • Utilize business relationships to fund programs and internships


The following candidates opted not to speak at the forum:

Michelle Newsom (Place 1)

Brad Crane (Place 4)

Meagan Sutton (Place 4)

Denise Lunski (Place 4)