RISD school board candidate Blake Sawyer and his wife are raising their young family in the heart of Richardson, but he’s spent plenty of time in Lake Highlands. His grandparents lived in the neighborhood for years, and his mother graduated from Lake Highlands High School.
“The Lake Highlands area is a great community. Much of my childhood was spent with my grandparents, who lived in the L streets,” says Sawyer. “When my wife and I were looking for a place for our kids to grow up, we placed a high value on a public school system that values students and educators alike. Lake Highlands has been a vibrant, growing part of the district for a long time, and the first project on the new bond is to make sure that there is space in the Lake Highlands Junior High. Making sure students are cared for and have the space and materials they need to succeed is crucial for all the district, and Lake Highlands is one of the areas that attention needs to be made.”
The Sawyers have a 6th grade son and a 3rd grade daughter at Arapaho Classical Magnet, plus a toddler not yet in school. Before long they’ll hit the trifecta, with kids in RISD elementary, junior high and high schools.
“I feel that my experience, combined with my heart to help every student regardless of their neighborhood, are great qualities for someone serving our community on the school board,” says Sawyer, a former Apple engineer and certified forensic video analyst currently working as VP of technical sales and support for Amped Software. “Through work experiences, such as serving our community at Watermark Church and helping others as a digital forensic examiner for a nearby police department, my goal has always been ‘how can I use my abilities and experience to give hope to everyone with whom I come into contact.’ Also, having been a foster parent, my mission has always been to provide a safe place where children can thrive.”
Sawyer has been involved on his local campus and with district administration since his oldest went off to school.
“One example,” he says, “started a few years back when all kids in the district were issued one-to-one technology. As a former Apple engineer, I wanted to make sure the tools we gave our kids were safely managed, were used as tools and did not become distractions, and teachers were given help so they could teach and not become IT administrators. Working with our PTA, school administration, and then serving on the district’s Technology Advisory Committee, I was able to help guide many of the improvements we have seen in the last two school years. Even in the pandemic when devices were sent home, RISD has been working to ensure there are safety and guidance protocols.”
Sawyer is running at large, meaning he would represent the entire district if his campaign is successful.
“I believe we need to ensure that the district’s primary goal is teaching students, so that when they grow up, they can excel in the challenges of life,” he says. “As parents, we constantly want our kids to have the tools to succeed both in school and in life. As a board member, my role would extend my responsibility to all the kids in the community. I firmly believe Richardson ISD should be an environment where every student in every school can succeed.”