Four candidates are hoping to represent District 2 on the Dallas Independent School District board.
The district surrounds the Park Cities, from Preston Hollow to Lakewood.
The candidates are running to replace Mike Morath, who is now the Education Commissioner for Texas.
Mita Havlick has two children in the district. She said she decided to run after getting support from the community.
“I have always been involved in my childrens' school. I believe we can do a great job in public education,” said Havlick.
She said schools need to expand early childhood programs, and continue to improve the buildings. But teacher retention tops her list.
“Priority number one is to retain and recruit good teachers,” said Havlick.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Like Havlick, Carlos Marroquin is focused on teacher retention. He says they have to give teachers better incentive to stay.
“I want to make sure we have teachers that stay with us and they have something in here to stay with us for, like, three year contracts. I believe they should not have a cap in our salaries,” said Marroquin.
Marroquin, who is a substitute teacher in the district, is a product of Dallas ISD schools, but his children do not go to schools in the district.
He said he has learned from being inside the schools that different schools have different needs and there should not be a one-size-fits-all formula.
“We need to make our district better,” he added.
Dustin Marshall is hoping to get the job, as well. He says he already has relationships with board members. Marshall has four children, and the ones old enough for school are in private school. He also went to private school.
“I grew up in a poor single parent household, but had a great opportunity to go to Greenhill in Addison it changed my life. It taught me the value of education, and changed the way I think about what education can do for a child, and so wherever I have gone, I have tried to give back,” said Marshall.
He owns a business, but says he spends 20 hours a week in the non-profit world and public schools.
“We have got to do a better job of delivering outcomes to students and help prepare them for their lives either in college, in a successful career or the military,” he added.
Suzanne Smith comes from a family of educators. Her parents were teachers. She does not have any children. Smith, who is an adjunct professor, owns a consulting group. She points to her experience working with at-risk children and projects in the community.
“Part of what I want to try to do is make sure everyone in this community knows all the great things that are happening in DISD. We have so many good things that are happening. I think personally if we can elevate the conversation around DISD, more people will come back to DISD schools,” Smith said.
Smith rolled out an action plan this week, which goes all the way from Pre-K to high school.
“DISD is doing some amazing things, so if they get the right leadership on the school board, I think we can really make a difference,” she added.
The election is May 7, but if one of the four candidates does not get 50 percent of the vote, it will go to a runoff.