Three candidates have filed to run for the Dallas College board in Place 1 – Lynn Davenport, Dr. Catalina Garcia and Gretchen Minyard Williams. Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, has 7 board members elected from single member districts, and Place 1 includes much of Lake Highlands, Richardson, Lakewood and Addison, plus a portion of Preston Hollow/North Dallas.
Davenport and husband William are Lake Highlands natives who sent all three children through LH-area schools. She ran unsuccessfully for Richardson school board in 2017 and was a founding member of Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League.
Davenport is host of the Social Impact Podcast on the OffBeat Business Media (OBBM) Network. She worked for Arthur Andersen as a recruiting manager for their global IT services and business consulting practice before opting to stay home to raise her children. She served as a career coach to unemployed people for 11 years and was appointed by Councilman Adam McGough to be a commissioner for Dallas’ Community Development Commission.
Davenport says her years of public education advocacy have made her “an avid researcher of K-12 and higher education issues, predatory data-mining, experimental technologies, and social impact schemes under the guise of innovation.”
“Under the leadership of outgoing Chancellor Dr. Joe May, Dallas College consolidated and homogenized seven unique campuses,” says Davenport. “The controversial corporate-style consolidation was adopted despite complaints from longtime faculty and the declining student body. Dallas College passed a $1.1 billion bond in 2019 while student enrollment is down and spending has increased. Dallas County residents deserve taxation with true representation to ensure the money is spent on education and preserving academic integrity for those seeking higher education. I will put the community back in our community colleges.”
Dr. Catalina Garcia is a retired anesthesiologist and the first Latina to earn a medical degree from UT Southwestern. She served on the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board, and she’s co-founder of the Texas Women’s Foundation.
Garcia received the Latina Living Legend Award from DFW Hispanic 100, the Susan B. Anthony Award from the League of Women Voters, the Women Helping Women Award from the Dallas Women’s Foundation and Volunteer of the Year from Dallas ISD. Her grandparents fled Mexico during the Revolution, and she was raised in El Paso and educated in public schools. She lives in Preston Hollow.
“Recent changes at Dallas College have inspired me to run for the Board of Trustees to ensure that students have equal access, not just to any education, but to a quality education that truly equips them for their working future and not just an entry level position,” she says.
“I am also concerned about the wasteful spending of our tax dollars which has occurred at Dallas College in the last few years. Consolidation of the seven campuses under one administration should have saved tax dollars, but did not. As a board member, one must require an accounting for expenditures, review and compare bids and contracts, and demand transparency. For example: Why are we still paying the huge costs of a retired chancellor?”
Gretchen Minyard Williams was appointed in October to complete the term of her husband, Sonny, after his death in July of 2021 from a lengthy illness. Sonny was first elected in 2006.
Williams lives in North Dallas and works as a licensed real estate agent with Ebby Halliday. She serves on the board of directors of Baylor University Medical Center, Leukemia Texas and High Ground Advisors, an investment management and trust services company. She’s a member of the Dallas Junior League and Dallas Women’s Club, and she’s former CEO of Minyard Food Stores, built by her family into one of the nation’s largest supermarket chains. She has two children and one granddaughter.
“Anyone who wants the opportunity to achieve their education goals should have the chance to do so, and as a trustee I understand and fully support these goals,” Williams said when appointed. “COVID has continued to challenge our students who might not have the necessary resources to successfully complete their education virtually.
“Many of those students are making the difficult decision to pay for their education or their everyday expenses. Through the pandemic, they have felt that education must take a back seat. I applaud the work of Dallas College to provide viable, affordable educational options to help bring these students back so they can accomplish their goals.”
Board members serve six-year terms, and four seats will be determined on Election Day May 7. Early voting begins April 25.