Today/Monday is the deadline to file paperwork to run in Place 3 for the Richardson ISD school board, and a fourth candidate is now officially on the ballot: Eric Eager.
Eager is a senior executive at a local software company, and he has twin sons at Westwood Junior High who will attend Richardson High next fall. His wife, Brenna, has served as PTA president at each of the schools their kids have attended, and she is active in RISD Council of PTAs.
Eager says his professional skills have equipped him to serve on the school board.
“I bring a combination of strategic planning, leadership skills, financial management and an understanding of current technologies as well as what employers are looking for in the next generation,” says Eager. “I have worked with people from around the world and get a true understanding that the opportunities for our students are not restricted to the DFW area but are available to them on a global basis. I believe that my experience of having to manage a multi-million dollar budget, understanding the rapidly changing world of technology and what is expected of young professionals in the workplace will only compliment the great work being done by our existing board.”
Having kids now enrolled in RISD, Eager says, gives him an insider’s perspective.
“As a parent of current RISD students, you get a perspective of how the education process is currently working for them. We have firsthand experience with the challenges facing families of children with special needs in our schools.”
Eager says he became interested in running for the Place 3 spot when Kris Oliver resigned, since Oliver is the only Richardson High School rep on the 7-person board.
“While I realize all of the trustees serve at-large, I feel it is important for all of the high school feeder patterns to have representation on the board.”
I asked if Eager is running with an “agenda” or a desire to make specific changes.
“I support Dr. Stone’s efforts to get back to the basics of instruction and focusing on the growth of all students. One of the largest areas of investment of the 2016 bond was earmarked for technology. My desire is to continue the work that has been started by the board for the implementation of technology throughout the school district.
“For this and the coming generation, technology is going to affect every aspect of their lives. It is important that RISD help equip our students and teachers with the technology they need to be ready for the jobs and opportunities of the future. The access to information about literally any subject is incredible. When I was a boy, I had to go to the library and hope the book I needed was available. Today, if one of my boys needs help with an algebra problem, they simply do a google search on the topic and quickly find a specific instructional video with working examples (i.e. Khan Academy). We need to continue to adapt and use technology as an aid to both our teachers and students. It is not meant to be a replacement for teachers but as a way for them to be more effective in helping all students.”
Eager says he sees things RISD is now doing right and things which need improvement.
“I’m encouraged to hear the board is commissioning a work group for strategic facilities planning,” says Eager. “The growth we continue to experience creates a number of challenges that we will need to address in the coming years. “I do believe we need to continue making improvements to attract and keep the best teachers. We need to stay competitive in the market by providing our teachers with good compensation, the tools to do their jobs, clear focused direction, strong leadership on all campuses, and listening to their input on where they need help to do the best for our kids. Finally, I am a strong supporter of Career and Technical Education. Our students need to graduate with the skills required to earn a living wage or help pay for college. An excellent example of this is the partnership between RISD and Richardson Medical Center with our newly expanded Health Science Program. We need to be looking for more of these partnerships in the industries that will create the most opportunities over the next ten years.”
Also running in Place 3 is Joseph Armstrong, Karen Clardy and Ben Prado. In Place 7, Lynn Davenport is challenging incumbent Dr. Kristin Kuhne. Justin Bono is unopposed in Place 6.
A candidate forum will be hosted by the Richardson League of Women Voters Wednesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the RISD Administration Building, 400 S. Greenville Avenue. One is also being planned by the Lake Highlands Chamber of Commerce, details to be announced.
The election will be held May 6.