The Port Arthur News
Anthony McDaniel is running for a seat on the Port Arthur Independent School District board of trustees because he is tired of seeing yesterday’s solutions applied to the challenges of today.
“I’ve seen a lot of defending what has already been done rather than rethinking,” said the 47-year-old Abraham Lincoln High School graduate, who works with intellectually challenged adults at the Golden Triangle Living Center in Beaumont. “But like in marketing, if you can’t sell a product one way, you go back and come up with a new idea.”
McDaniel believes he can bring a unique contribution to the table. He has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Lamar University, where he is currently a post-baccalaureate student preparing to pursue a masters in public administration. He founded the non-profit organization Concerned Citizens of Westside Port Arthur, served on the board of HOPE (Helping Our People Excel), and is a member of the Port Arthur Beautification Commission.
Accountability has long been absent from PAISD, McDaniel said, and the students will never attain their desired level of achievement if the board members do not hold each other accountable.
“People need to stop believing they have all the answers and give value to other people’s ideas,” McDaniel said. “We have to utilize self-appraisal and self-criticism.”
McDaniel also aims to raise the bar in terms of discipline. Like most school districts, PAISD has had its share of discipline problems — some of them very public.
“I hope to bring more discipline and order in the school environment, whereby teachers and students can feel safe,” he said.
In addition to feeling safe, teachers need more autonomy in the classroom, McDaniel said, so that they are free to utilize more innovative methods to inspire a hunger for learning among their students.
“I’d like to see more thinkers involved,” he said. “Even Thomas Edison used an army of thinkers and workers.”
Above all, McDaniel said, he wants to see the community work together.
“Maybe we need to try some pilots,” he said. “Once we see what’s working somewhere, it may be useful in other areas. We need to let the teachers and other administration be a part of the decision-making process.”