Ben Prado

Ben Prado, 25, says he’s always wanted to serve.

The 2015 Baylor University alum and graduate of Richardson High, West Junior High and Heights Elementary knows he’s young – younger than any other candidate for RISD school board – but he considers that an advantage. He says he’ll bring a fresh perspective to a district facing real challenges.

Prado is the youngest of four sons, and parents Rone and Patricia still live in Richardson. He isn’t married but is the proud uncle of two nieces and several cousins who attend various schools around RISD.

Prado is an “on call” managing consultant for US Painting Services, a property management firm, and works full time for Stephens & Associates, a clinical research firm. Both are in Richardson.

When it comes to running for elective office, this isn’t Prado’s first time at bat. Prado was president of the senior class at Richardson High and his Baylor classmates elected him freshman and sophomore class president.

I asked how these and other experiences prepared him to serve RISD.

“My experience cannot be summed up with a few positions or titles. To truly get a glimpse of who I am, you have to look at the values that guide my life: tolerance, inclusiveness, joy, learning and growth are just some of the many characteristics I proudly work on and try to instill in everything I do. Whether it be volunteering at local churches with my violin, hosting foreign students in my home, teaching English to students who speak a different language at home or mentoring high school students about college and career, a large part of my life has been and is dedicated to better the lives of others.

“All of my past experiences, whether leadership-related or not, are key to positioning myself as a reliable and vital asset to the district on the board. As a trilingual Hispanic American who has spent extensive time living in Germany, I understand different cultures and ways of thinking, something critical for an increasingly diverse district. As the youngest candidate on the ballot and as a recent product of RISD, I have a distinct advantage and opportunity to truly serve my community in ways the district has never had before. RISD, faced with new challenges, needs a new style of leadership.”

I asked if RISD is doing things “mostly wrong or mostly right” right now.

“I would not frame it that way. I would say that the district is experiencing a significant amount of change – we find ourselves at a critical crossroads. We know that the approaches of yesterday will not work for tomorrow. We need to invest more in evidence-based interventions, like early care and education and cross-sector partnerships with local employers, and we need to be more proactive in responding to the changing needs of our students. Given how close I am to RISD – I was a student who experienced many of these things first hand – I feel like my perspective and experiences could be a real asset to our community.”

Ben Prado will face Joseph Armstrong, Eric Eager and Karen Clardy in the Place 3 race. Candidates have until March 6th to file for a spot on the ballot, and a few other people have requested application packets.

In Place 7, Lynn Davenport will challenge incumbent Dr. Kristin Kuhne. In Place 6, incumbent Justin Bono is unopposed after the withdrawal of Shelby Eidson from the race.

The election is May 6.