Pearland ISD voters to decided 3 trustee races
Three Pearland ISD incumbents faces challengers in the May 4 election, and candidates’ platforms cover an array of issues ranging from ensuring fiscal responsibility to providing appropriate mental health resources for students.
For Position 5, board president Rebecca Decker is running against Dr. Dona Kim Murphey.
On her FaceBook page, Decker, who has been on the board since 2010, refers to various district programs introduced during her tenure that she says reflect consistent leadership, such as introduction of a dual-language program and of a stand-alone gifted and talented program.
“Thus fiscal efficiency and high student performance have been a theme of my tenure,” she wrote in a post. “By practically every measure, we are a district thriving in superior results.”
Decker is chief operating officer for Communities in Schools of Brazoria County and previously was an assistant principal at Rustic Oak Elementary School in the district.
Murphey, a neurologist with two children in Pearland ISD, has a platform that includes advocating for more and better resources for mental health and counseling services for students.
She has written that she is concerned about detrimental effects of teachers having to focus too much on preparing students for standardized tests.
“I have spoken with many teachers who feel they must devote themselves heavily to teaching to standardized tests, leaving them little time to creatively teach individual students who need help,” she wrote on her campaign site. “Our children have an intrinsic value beyond their standardized test scores — scores that mirror economically and racially segregated expectations and perpetuate achievement gaps rather than closing them.”
Position 6 incumbent Lance Botkin is running against Joseph Say.
Botkin, elected in 2013, is a former Pearland High School teacher and football coach. He works in outside sales and is part-owner of Floyd’s on the Water Seafood Restaurant.
“I would like to bring a proactive vision to the board along with my fellow board members,” Botkin said in his bio on the Pearland ISD site. I hope to take Pearland ISD from a good district to a great one.”
Say, who is an IT engineer, has lived in Pearland since 2011. His platform includes leading with compassion and ensuring district transparency and equitable access to technology for students and parents.
“Our students should have access to revolutionary technology, that will augment and empower their teachers, and themselves, to do more,” he wrote on his campaign site. “We must ensure the tools they use enhance decades of educational research, while also keeping our students data secure.”
Position 7 incumbent Jeff Barry faces challengers Al Lloyd and Carmine Petrillo.
Barry is president of Barry Insurance Group — an independent insurance agency — and has lived in Pearland for 20 years.
If elected, he said he would focus on school security, students’ mental health, academic achievement, fiscal responsibility and teacher retention.
“I will work to build a firm foundation to manage these issues that future boards can build upon year over year,” he said in a written statement.
Lloyd, who ran for Position 3 in 2017, has lived in Pearland for 13 years and works as a special programs coordinator for Houston ISD.
His platform includes increasing district employee wages, bringing adequate access to mental health resources to students and ensuring that arts and music programs maintain a strong foothold within the district in the face of potential budget cuts.
Also in the race is Carmine Petrillo. Efforts to obtain information about Petrillo’s campaign were unsuccessful.
Early voting begins April 22. For more election information, visit here.