Thursday, March 31, 2016

Monica Lira Bravo - District 4 Candidate


1. Please provide a brief biography that explains your educational and professional background.

I earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and a JD from Texas Tech University School of Law. I am a board certified attorney in immigration and nationality law. I also own my own law firm; I manage nine employees including an associate attorney. I most recently served as the President of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association. I also previously served on the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors, the City of Dallas Judicial Nominating Committee, the Southeast Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico.

2. What is the role of the elected Board of Trustees from your perspective? How does that role relate to your individual input as an elected trustee?  How would you describe the efforts that will be necessary to be effective in your role – and what has prepared you to be successful in that role? 

The role of the Board is to set the vision, mission for DCCCD and govern with input from its constituents. As an elected trustee, my role would be to vote in the best interests of the Dallas County community, which includes students, faculty, staff and taxpayers.  My training as a lawyer and as a businesswoman have prepared me to understand the complexities of financial statements and the intricacies of contracts and policies that must comply not only with DCCCD’s mission but also with state laws and policies. My previous board experience gives me the insight to understand how to be an effective fiduciary to the DCCCD community and Dallas County as a whole, as well as a good steward of our tax dollars.

3. What is the role of the DCCCD in the educational marketplace in Dallas County? What is your agenda to continue to improve the quality and availability of educational programs to the citizens of Dallas County?

With rising costs of university tuition, the role of DCCCD has grown significantly. More than half of college students in Texas start at a community college. Additionally, unemployed workers normally turn to DCCCD to gain training in a new field or trade. My goal as a trustee is to continue to keep the DCCCD at the forefront of changes in technology and industry. By building partnerships with the local business community, not only will our students have more access to training and employment opportunities, but we also can access private funding to alleviate tuition costs for students to augment our successful Rising Star scholarship program. 

4. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters?

First, I would like to create forums where board of trustees can meet with students, faculty and staff at least once a semester at each of the seven colleges. These forums will encourage open communication between trustees and the DCCCD community.  In dealing with business, community, public servants and voters, I would attend community events and invite different stakeholders to visit a DCCCD campus to learn about all the great programs DCCCD has to offer. Despite the fact that so many students have passed through our doors to improve their lives and employment prospects, DCCCD remains an underutilized and underappreciated resource in the DFW region. 

5. What do you see as the biggest assets, challenges, and opportunities, in the DCCCD? How will you strengthen those assets to meet the challenges and opportunities we face? What particular skills and connections do you bring that can benefit the Board as a whole, and by extension the DCCCD?

One of the biggest opportunities is to work with the appropriate partners to provide education and training in workforce areas that currently have a severe worker shortage. With more companies relocating to the DFW area, there is a greater need for more trained workers; the DCCCD is in prime position to provide training. My relationship with the business community could help foster and develop these opportunities. The biggest challenge is having adequate funding for DCCCD to continue to attract top-notch faculty and staff as well as top notch educational facilities. With state appropriations covering an ever-decreasing percentage of operating costs, DCCCD must continually identify efficiencies to reduce expenditures, but we also must help grow the overall tax base to alleviate pressures to offset declining state funding with tax rate or tuition increases.

Tommy Reed - District 3 Candidate

1. Please provide a brief biography that explains your educational and professional background.

I am a product of Garland ISD, graduating with honors from Garland High School in 1978.  I graduated Cum Laude from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1982 with a B.S. in Biology.  Having paid for my own education, I attended Richland College during the summer to take additional courses while working full time.  I guess you could say I’ve “walked the walk,” and I am a product of the system.  I graduated with honors from Baylor College of Dentistry, obtaining my Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1986.  I have practiced for nearly 30 years in my hometown and I been richly blessed by my educational opportunities.

2. What is the role of the elected Board of Trustees from your perspective? How does that role relate to your individual input as an elected trustee?  How would you describe the efforts that will be necessary to be effective in your role – and what has prepared you to be successful in that role?

The role of Trustee is to employ and directly oversee the Chancellor of DCCCD.  It is a Trustee’s role to form policy, oversee the policies of the District, and to see that they are implemented and carried out.  As a Trustee, it is imperative to have an ability to work well with others and to make tough and difficult decisions when they are necessary.  I feel that I will be a very effective Trustee, if elected, because of my 21 years of experience on the Garland ISD Board of Trustees.  I served as Board President 3 terms, elected by my fellow Trustees.  I have worked in an almost identical role on the GISD Board and my years of experience and service will be invaluable in my efforts to shorten the learning curve, “getting up to speed”, and becoming a vital part of the functioning DCCCD Board.

3. What is the role of the DCCCD in the educational marketplace in Dallas County? What is your agenda to continue to improve the quality and availability of educational programs to the citizens of Dallas County?

I believe that Industry Alignment, as endorsed by Dr. May, will be an effective way to determine the workplace skills and educational needs of the companies and businesses in Dallas County.  I will work as a Trustee to see that these needs are met and I will oversee the Chancellor as he makes changes and implements innovative programs to meet these needs in our community and I will constantly try to immerse myself in the functions of DCCCD to ensure that the District’s Policies of: Employee Success, Student Success, Community Engagement, and Institutional Effectiveness are carried out.

4. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters?

I will continue, as I have in the past, to being a good listener and to be out and about in the community.  My uncle once told me something simple that has stuck with me to this day.  “You cannot make good decisions with having good information.”  You must be available and willing to listen in order to be an effective and resourceful Trustee.

5. What do you see as the biggest assets, challenges, and opportunities, in the DCCCD? How will you strengthen those assets to meet the challenges and opportunities we face? What particular skills and connections do you bring that can benefit the Board as a whole, and by extension the DCCCD?

Most may not realize that 1 in every 7 Dallas County residents sets foot on a DCCCD campus each year.  Our athletic facilities are open to the public and there are many non-credit courses available, as well as Emeritus Programs that are available to our Seniors.  We have one of the best community college systems in the state and in the country.  We have a great staff and we serve the needs of almost 90,000 students each semester and we do it with one of the lowest tuition rates and lowest tax rates in the state.  That’s something to be very proud of.  We will continue to be challenged by declining state revenue and financial support from Austin.  We have to look for ways carefully manage our financial resources, to reward our faculty, and to deliver affordable programs in a cost effective manner while considering our students and taxpayers.  Having been a product of this system, I am living proof that our system meets the needs of students and because of my community involvement, I will continue to be an ambassador for the DCCCD because of my passion for education.

Letter from DCCFA President Fred Newbury on the May 7 Board of Trustees Election


Colleagues:

On May 7, we have an extremely important Board of Trustees election taking place.  For the first time in many years we have three seats that will be on the ballot to replace retiring Board members.  One thing that has not changed over the years is the importance of the contribution of our elected Board members—they determine policy and provide the leadership that is so important to the District.  This is a very important election and one that will determine the future direction of the DCCCD.

On behalf of our Faculty Association and our Student Government Association, who will co-sponsor the forum, I want to invite and encourage your participation in this democratic process.  As many of you realize, the voter turnout for the May election is very small.  We need the involvement of all—particularly our employees.

I would invite you to visit the DCCFA Blog for more information about the election and the campus events.  We will be posting questions that have been sent to candidates as well as announcing a series of campus forum (dates below) that have been scheduled to allow students, staff and community members get better acquainted with our candidates.  We will welcome your involvement and need your participation—particularly on May 7.  You will also note on the blog that we have information that will help determine your polling place.

Fred

Campus Forums:
Eastfield—10:30 am Wednesday, March 30, in Performance Hall (F Building)
Brookhaven—12:00 noon Thursday, April 14, Performance Hall (C Building)
Richland—9:30 am Tuesday, April 19, in Performance Hall (Fannin Building)
North Lake – 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, Room G401

J.C. Osborne - District 2 Candidate


1. Please provide a brief biography that explains your educational and professional background.

My educational background consists of an Associates degree, Bachelor's Degree, Master in Public Affairs and Juris Doctorate (law degree). I have several years of experience in human resource management, loss management, budgeting, auditing, and public relations. Additionally, I have served as executive director of a very important non-profit corporation. I lead by example and strive to raise public consciousness. I have never been afraid to take risks or to stand firm on principle. 

2. What is the role of the elected Board of Trustees from your perspective? How does that role relate to your individual input as an elected trustee?  How would you describe the efforts that will be necessary to be effective in your role – and what has prepared you to be successful in that role? 

The role of the Board of Trustees is to provide checks and balances to the role of the chancellor and to be an advocate for the students. It is my desire to serve which has lead me to the privilege of running for this very important position. I realize that Trustees have an opportunity to effect change in the lives of Dallas County residents. I am highly driven and strive for excellence in every situation put before me. I was fortunate to be able to use my benefits as a veteran to achieve the American dream. I would like for everyone else to have the same opportunities.

3. What is the role of the DCCCD in the educational marketplace in Dallas County? What is your agenda to continue to improve the quality and availability of educational programs to the citizens of Dallas County?

The role of DCCCD is to provide the workforce with skilled workers and also to prepare students who intend to pursue 4-year degrees. In terms of improving quality, I would start by eliminating remedial courses which are costly bridges to nowhere. I support an open-admissions policy which would allow everyone in the community to attend college. Secondly, I would tailor academic programs to meet the needs of the job market. STEM (science, technology, engineer and math) programs would be made a priority to prepare students for the workforce. I would provide tutors and other resources necessary to prepare students for success.

4. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters?

The interesting thing about this question is that in order to be a great leader, one must first be a great follower. The second thing voters need to know about me is that I am not running to be a leader. I am running to be a public servant. As an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army, public service comes natural to me. While serving, I took college courses at night and received my associates degree in a relatively short amount of time. I ultimately was promoted to Sergeant and lead many soldiers to take advantage of their opportunity to pursue higher education.

If elected, the first thing I would do is survey the local businesses to determine the skills they seek. Then, I would ensure that DCCCD is arming students with the type of skills that they need to jump into the workforce. My goal would be to set a standard that at least 75% of graduates are employed immediately upon graduation and that they actually work in their field of study.

5. What do you see as the biggest assets, challenges, and opportunities, in the DCCCD? How will you strengthen those assets to meet the challenges and opportunities we face? What particular skills and connections do you bring that can benefit the Board as a whole, and by extension the DCCCD?

The greatest asset DCCCD has are its students. DCCCD needs to do everything within its capacity to attract as many members of the community as possible. As previously stated, I support an open admissions policy. The board's greatest priority (at least pedagogically) seems to be focused on getting students to graduate. Clearly, there is a shortfall in this area. I'm sure that the board is working hard to resolve this issue. However, the board doesn't seem to be listening to what the students actually want. They are not offering the types of academic programs which would attract students and reduce the student attrition rate.

Studies show that students are more likely to graduate when they are involved in extracurricular activities. I would increase funding in this area. I would fight to keep tuition low and reduce the cost of textbooks. I would also seek an increase in scholarships.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dorothy Zimmermann - District 3 Candidate

1. Please provide a brief biography that explains your educational and professional background.



I started my higher education at Eastfield Community College. I would have loved to have graduated from Eastfield because I loved the caring and nurturing atmosphere there. I took the basics and went on to UT Dallas for a BS in Accounting. At the time I graduated, the economy was in a full free fall with big oil and real estate laying off not hiring. After looking for a job full time I was finally told that no one needed an accountant for the indigent. I started substituting in mostly high school. I finally got a full time job with an automotive aftermarket company working in customer service. I then got an office manager position with a paper goods company and with that experience I was able to move to a better paying position with a national HVAC company working in customer service with regional dealers and two national accounts.

2. What is the role of the elected Board of Trustees from your perspective? How does that role relate to your individual input as an elected trustee?  How would you describe the efforts that will be necessary to be effective in your role – and what has prepared you to be successful in that role?


The Board of Trustees are to be representatives of their given districts making sure their students and taxpayers are represented in all decisions made by the Board. As a Trustee I intend to make certain that tax dollars are respected not wasted. Education must be the driving force of any spending. I intend to visit campuses and speak to the students. Town hall meetings are also a good idea. Moving our meetings to a better time of day may also help the public be a bit more involved. An effective Trustee is someone who seeks input from the community rather than disregarding it. Traits necessary to be effective include the ability to listen, the desire to engage the public without the track record of elitism that has existed on this board. I am prepared, based on my years of customer service and community service to make my community stronger. I will strengthen my community by being a facilitator and not a dictator.

3. What is the role of the DCCCD in the educational marketplace in Dallas County? What is your agenda to continue to improve the quality and availability of educational programs to the citizens of Dallas County?



I view the role of DCCCD as being the front line of education for all of us who couldn’t afford or accommodate a full four year education. Without Eastfield, I’m not sure where I would have gone to school. Most four year schools were far away and carried a much higher tuition rate. Today, tuition is climbing faster than most students can afford and folks coming back for a second career have found it far more difficult than expected. I hope by keeping down the taxes and not raising tuition, education at DCCCD will be more available to those who can least afford it and help improve education by making sure more educators are appropriately compensated.

4. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters?



If elected, I will do my best not to continue the poor behavior of the Trustee I will be replacing. I will do my best to be welcoming of all students, taxpayers, voters, employees and all speakers. In the years I have attended the Board meetings, I have seen the present Board member ignore, mislead and talk down to so many people that I will have to work to change the tone on the Board. Again, town hall meetings open to the community should demonstrate a new and open atmosphere.

5. What do you see as the biggest assets, challenges, and opportunities, in the DCCCD? How will you strengthen those assets to meet the challenges and opportunities we face? What particular skills and connections do you bring that can benefit the Board as a whole, and by extension the DCCCD?


The biggest assets for the District are their alums. I’d love to start gatherings of reunions for the
Colleges. The experiences of the alums could work to educate the present students as much as any lecture simply because life experiences in many cases are far more accepted because they are authentic. Opportunities are endless if we unleash the talent we already have and start putting our students to work to build resumes before they finish their tenure with DCCCD. The challenges will be to live within our means and allow the eager to flourish.