The candidates running for the Bryan school board’s Place 6 at-large position said they want to help keep the district moving forward.
Deidra Davis is challenging 30-year incumbent David Stasny in the Nov. 3 election.
Stasny is a local attorney and graduate of Bryan schools. His four children also graduated from Bryan schools.
Davis is an instructional assistant professor at Texas A&M in the College of Architecture. Her son graduated from Bryan High School and is now a sophomore at Texas A&M.
Place 6 is one of two positions that serve the district as a whole in an at-large capacity.
Early voting continues through Friday.
Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University and her master’s and doctorate from Southern Illinois University.
When she moved to the area from Illinois in 2017, she said, she did not hear good things about the Bryan school district.
“It was just something about Bryan that was drawing me,” she said. “I’m big on diversity and the diverse populations, and I really believe we have it in Bryan.”
She said she now considers Bryan her home.
Bryan schools do not get the exposure or recognition that they should, considering the opportunities students have in the district, she said.
“We have everything here in our school district that could support the student that wants to go continue on out of high school and go to a four-year university, but we also have the [Career and Technical Education] Complex that also has welding and auto mechanics and all these other trades that are very lucrative that other students can go into as well,” she said.
She said her goal is to help the district earn a better reputation.
“I’m really excited about the things that I’ve seen over the last few years that have happened here in Bryan, and that’s because of a board and a superintendent that are fiscally responsible and have the resources to do things,” she said.
She said she would like to integrate financial literacy into the schools beyond being an elective course and create more family engagement.
With financial literacy, she said, the district has a responsibility to teach students how to use, save and invest money.
Her goal of increasing family engagement is based on studies that have shown barriers prevent families from getting involved with their child’s education.
“We need to make sure that we work to seek out families that may have different needs and identify any of those barriers that may cause the inability of some families to fully be involved,” she said. COVID-19 has shown that technology can allow family members who cannot be at the school to still be involved.
For more about Davis, go to www.facebook.com/DrD4BISD.
Stasny, who was first elected to the school board in 1990, graduated from Bryan’s SFA High School in 1970, from Texas A&M in 1974 and from the University of Texas Law School in 1977.
As a graduate of the school system, he said, he felt he had an obligation to give back to the district and sees serving on the school board as that outlet.
He said he believes every child should have an equal opportunity in schools.
His goal is for the Bryan school district to become a “destination district” in which people choose to live in Bryan for the schools.
As part of that, he said, he wants to see resources that will allow teachers to be paid competitively and help retain them in the district.
“We are a great school district; it’s just that some people seem to not understand that or believe it because they’re looking at the wrong information or just going by somebody’s opinion who doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “That’s very frustrating.”
The changes the district has made over the years, such as introducing Inquire Academy, Bryan Collegiate High School and the International Baccalaureate program, have helped move the district in a positive direction, he said. He sees his continued service as a way to maintain that momentum.
A challenge facing the Bryan school district — like many districts in the state — is an equitable school finance system, he said.
Another challenge, he said, is increasing the district’s reputation in the community and helping people understand the district’s work beyond the state’s accountability results.
“We know that the challenges are greater in our district than in some other districts just because that’s reality,” he said. “It’s not a knock on our students, but when you come from a home where there’s no English spoken or there are very few books or there’s no one at home who can help with homework or there’s one parent that’s working two jobs, it’s not the same.”
Stasny, who has been on the Texas Association of School Board’s Legislative Advisory Committee for eight years, said one of the most significant accomplishments in his tenure on the board is the construction of Neal Elementary School as a joint project with the city.
He said he brings a historical perspective to the school board and can offer context about the district’s past successes and failures.
Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.