PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Opinion

May 9, 2013

Editorial: Reid, Thomas best choices for PAISD board

PORT ARTHUR — Several good candidates are running for the two positions open on the PAISD board of trustees in Saturday’s election, but two names rise above the others as the best choices to lead the district into the future. Robert Reid and Tracy Thomas are the right candidates to help lead the search for a new superintendent, address the problem of top heavy administration and provide the best opportunity for Port Arthur students to have the quality education needed to compete in today’s highly competitive environment.

Reid, who is assistant principal of academic affairs at Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School in Beaumont, has made education his life’s work. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwest Texas State University and a master’s degree in education administration from Lamar University. He understands that teachers are key to providing quality instruction to students and he wants to make sure the district is keeping good teachers. He believes that professional development opportunities will benefit teachers and students.

Reid, who sometimes jokingly introduces himself as Mr. Mary Ann Reid, is married to the well-known and popular former Chamber of Commerce president. They have children who attend Catholic schools, a choice he said was based in his faith and not a reflection of Port Arthur schools. The 1984 Thomas Jefferson graduate says the city of Port Arthur will not be everything it can be until the school district improves. He said the status quo is not acceptable. Reid understands the difference in the roles of trustee and administrator and would work with the other board members to move the district forward.

Thomas, a Lincoln High School graduate who has returned to her home town after earning her associate’s degree in business administration and completing eight years in the U.S. Air Force, wants to make involving parents in their children’s education a priority. She is the parent of two PAISD students and she knows from experience that parents are not always made welcome in the district. Thomas believes more funding is needed for teacher pay and one source of those funds would be from a top-heavy administration.

As the district begins its search for a new superintendent, Thomas believes a wide search should be done for the best possible person, but she would not overlook some candidates that are already on staff. It may be her Air Force experience coming through when she says discipline problems should not be tolerated because they disrupt the learning of all the other children in class.

Also running for one of the two seats on the board are incumbent Theo Victor, Anthony McDaniel, Regina Drake and former trustee Julia Samuels.

A failed tax ratification election, a mysterious two-month absence of the superintendent during an unexplained investigation, and test scores on the new STAAR test that seem to be a step backward have chipped away at the public’s confidence that PAISD is moving in the right direction. Robert Reid and Tracy Thomas bring the experience, concern and willingness to make hard decisions that the district needs at this critical time. We urge PAISD voters to give them the chance.

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