Jean Bono in the Moss Haven garden

Lake Highlands neighbor Jean Bono, who currently serves as vice-president on the Richardson school board and is completing her sixth year as a trustee, announced today she will not run again in May. Steve Mitchell, a Richardson city council member who formerly served as mayor there, will run for her at-large spot in District 7.

“I believe I am leaving the district in excellent shape,” shared Bono this morning, “with strong leadership on the RISD team, as well as on the RISD board. I see passion and commitment to achieve the challenging goals our board has put forth. I see relentless focus on every student, whether they are struggling academically, socially or personally; or they are excelling. My six years as trustee have been at times challenging, exciting, fun, rewarding and enlightening.”

In typical Jean Bono fashion, her announcement demonstrated humility and gratitude and focused on the lessons she will take away as much as those learned by the students of RISD.

“I expanded my knowledge about the need for compassion, tolerance, empathy, racial equity, vigilance, trust and equity in education,” wrote Bono, “and I am thankful to this incredible community for that opportunity. I am grateful for teachers and staff that create such wonderful environments in which our students connect, learn, grow and succeed. And I am grateful to live in a community of people who care deeply about education and each other.”

Mitchell, who works in the tax & accounting industry for Thomson Reuters, was first elected to the Richardson City Council in 2005. He attended RISD schools and has five children currently enrolled in the district.

“My wife, Karen, a labor and delivery nurse, and I are committed to Richardson ISD as the district that will educate our children,” wrote Mitchell in a press release. “However, I am running for reasons that go beyond my own family: I want the RISD to educate all 38,900 children successfully, closing gaps, and giving them tools they need to lead productive lives. I understand that this takes public support and continuous improvement to meet these challenges. I’m ready to get to work in building upon current successes to take us to the next level.”

Mitchell has served as a UNT regent and a member of the Commission on State Emergency Communications, the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition and the Regional Transportation Council. He’s a graduate of Leadership North Texas and Inside RISD.

The 2021 election will signal completion of RISD’s transition to a 5-2 system of representation. The board adopted 5-2 in 2019 after former trustee David Tyson filed a Voting Rights Act lawsuit in 2018 alleging discrepancies in student educational outcomes based on the way trustees were elected.

Candidates have until Feb. 12 to submit an application to run for RISD trustee. Also on the ballot in the northwest quadrant of the district will be contenders for single member District 1. Kim Caston, currently the longest-serving trustee in RISD, has not announced whether she will seek a sixth 3-year term.