The Race For Dallas ISD's District 1 School Board Seat Is Going to Be Very Interesting

ElizabethJones.jpg
Elizabeth Jones
Like I was saying, or writing, earlier this morning ...

When Edwin Flores announced he wasn't going to seek re-election to the Dallas Independent School District board two weeks ago, the District 1 trustee said he'd hold off on making an endorsement. At the time, only one other candidate had announced: Michael Greenberg, a DISD dad. But, said Flores, "I am going to wait for the field to fill out," which it probably would now that the incumbent was beating a retreat. And, sure enough, a few days ago Jennifer Levy threw her nurse's cap into the ring.

But moments ago a third candidate for the District 1 seat emerged -- none other than Elizabeth Jones, a familiar name to those Friends of Unfair Park who followed Anna's coverage of the city's redistricting battle. Because Jones was the outspoken District 13 representative on the Redistricting Commission. She's also a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management and sits on the Big Thought board of directors.

And, says the release that follows, Jones has quite the big name serving as her campaign treasurer: none other than Ebby Halliday, who says, "Elizabeth is expertly qualified to be a trustee. Her incredible background both personally and in business and education will be an invaluable asset to the board and administration." (Though, if memory serves, Halliday also served as Gary Griffith's campaign treasurer during his odd, unsuccessful '07 run for Dallas mayor.) And to think: No one even wanted to run for the board last year.
Successful Businesswoman and Professor Elizabeth Jones Announces for Dallas ISD Trustee in District 1

Pledging to use her business expertise and deep commitment to the children in Dallas ISD schools, Elizabeth Jones officially filed today for Trustee in District 1 currently held by Trustee Edwin Flores who has decided not to seek re-election.

In announcing her candidacy, Jones, who is committed to excellence in public education, said, "I was a latch-key kid raised by a single working mother in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment. Thanks to a first rate public education and teachers with the highest commitment to excellence and to every child's success, my life was changed for the better. I have a deep commitment to community, social responsibility and education equity."

Elizabeth's professional career covers more than a quarter of a century including being a senior finance executive, investment banker, and corporate strategic management advisor with McKinsey & Co. Over the course of her career she has been a trusted advisor to governments, Fortune 1000 and emerging technology companies in strategic financial management, product/technology innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.

She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) School of Management, where she is the co-founder and Associate Director of the Center for Finance Strategy Innovation (CFSI). Elizabeth has developed and taught courses in the MBA and graduate finance programs for over ten years. She conducts extensive business research in finance, performance management and governance policy. Elizabeth is a frequent speaker to business, education, and public sector groups.

Civic leader Ebby Halliday Acers has agreed to be campaign treasurer. "Elizabeth is expertly qualified to be a Trustee. Her incredible background both personally and in business and education will be an invaluable asset to the board and administration," stated Mrs. Acers. "I am deeply impressed with her commitment and love for children and fervent desire to make sure every student receives a world class public education."

Elizabeth's public service spans nearly a quarter of a century. She currently serves on the National Board of Examiners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award & Performance Excellence program, and previously served on the Global Board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Corporation where she was the recipient of the 2009 MIT Presidential Citation.

She has a long history of service to Dallas, having served on the 2011 City of Dallas Redistricting Commission, three terms on the City of Dallas Cityplace TIF Board, the Dallas Business Development Corporation Board, and Leadership Dallas class of 1998. She is a graduate of the FBI Citizen's Academy class of 2009. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Big Thought and the Royal Northaven Neighborhood Association Board. Her previous non-profit Board service includes Texchange, The Family Place, Dallas All Sports Association, Dallas Chamber sub-committee on Trade Finance, and many others.

Elizabeth earned her BA in Economics and Political Science from Wellesley College, and an MBA in International Finance and Strategic Management from RSM Erasmus University (Netherlands) including coursework at MIT Sloan School. She has completed ppost graduate work in corporate and fund governance, project finance, and project management.


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50 comments
Steven Thrasher
Steven Thrasher

She's also an MIT Alum and cart-racing enthusiast! Her other-half's a successful CPA and business consultant. What a powerful force for education! I'm "all in" for Jones!

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Having reproduced or not is immaterial to me. Pregnancy does not make one an expert on EDUCATION.  

I have one question: When was the last time she actually attended a school board meeting?

Okay, two questions: Has she voted in the last 3 or 4 DISD related elections?

I smell North Dallas Oligarchy all over this.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

If it looks like Flores 2.0, and sounds like Flores 2.0...

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

A red flag will be an endoresment by Ed Flores.  

Not Convinced
Not Convinced

I wonder why she is just now filing?  Seems like she may have been persuaded by special interests.  Michael Greenberg has been in this race from the get-go.  He has a Ph.D. (in Political Science no less), and he has a 20 year track record in the public and private sectors managing multimillion dollar projects.  Also, I understand from his website that he is a father of a DISD kindergartner. I have talked to him personally, and it seems like he is in this race for the right reasons.  I do not see any other candidate in this race that can match that.

Guest
Guest

Advisor sounds a lot like community organizer to me.

Guest
Guest

Anyone working on "Finance StrategyInnovation" should be barred from getting anywhere near public funds.  They're the people that got us into the economic mess we're in - DISD doesn't need any more help flushing itself down the toilet.

Mike
Mike

Isn't the latest groupthink that we all have skin in the game regarding DISD? It also might be different to get people on the board that both have interesting backgrounds and are not looking to sell something to DISD. Limiting pool to only those parents with children in DISD leaves you with a lot of people that created what we now have.

SlamminSammySnead
SlamminSammySnead

This woman has been sent by the DCC and the Dallas Chamber...the new annointd one,  Don't be fooled.  She has no kids in the district and no real interest in education.  She hasn't attended any Board meetings or been a part of any of the education dialogue in the last two years.  She has been sent as the duly annointed big-business representative. 

Wondering
Wondering

Children? Children IN the district schools? For either of the candidates besides Greenberg?

NotAvailable
NotAvailable

Why do candidates always try to pull at our heartstrings by telling us how they grew up poor white children?  Between her and Leppert, I don't know who has the most pitiful story.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

This will get intresting.The question is, does that Jennifer lady has a Facebook or a website?

Finally!
Finally!

What an impressive background! Finally, someone with incredible business experience and someone who understand the classroom!  Plus growing up in public school and being raised by a single mother, geez, how amazing is that?  She obviously gets it and wants to share the love. She has certainly raised the bar for the other candidates in the race.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Not to mention shes REALLY easy on the eyes, unlike some of the ladies in the DISD right now...

Carter Critter
Carter Critter

 Diane,

I used to enjoy your thoughtful comments on the DMN website.  Why have you stopped?

cp
cp

Someone posted above that she has lived in Dallas 24 years and only ever voted in one local election, Anne Margolis. 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I agree that pregnancy or even parenthood does not make one an expert, but this woman has no ties to education whatsoever.

She has no children, no children in DISD, AND she is not and has not been working on a campus.

She has zero qualifications to serve parents and children.Greenberg doesn't work on a campus, but he at least has a child who spends all day on a DISD campus.

Ross3700
Ross3700

The DMN has reported that she has hired Flores' campaign manager.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Agreed.Also, I'd bet that the same people who cut him loose made it clear to him that he'd better keep his endorsements to himself if he wants any sort of future political support.He is the Kiss of Death at this point to all of them--Citizens Council, TFA, Uplift--and they want him nowhere near them.  They all terribly misjudged the power of blogs and now they can't distance themselves from him fast enough in an attempt to save their own interests.

Steven Thrasher
Steven Thrasher

No interest in education? She's "just" an MIT Alum and Prof. at UTD.  What interests could she possibly have in educating children? Sheesh!

Ross3700
Ross3700

" I have a deep commitment to community, social responsibility and education equity. " SNORT!! This woman  voted in the Ann Margolin election andthat is it - and she has lived in Dallas for 24 years! What a crock!  She's definitely a "sent woman".

GotMyVote
GotMyVote

 She sits on the board for Big Thought.  What do you mean she hasn't been a prt of any of the education dialogue in two years?

heyheymama
heyheymama

My first thought when I read this:  Dallas Citizens Council.No kid in the DISD?  Good God, that's a non-starter for this voter.Name-dropping Ebby and Ann Margolin?  Ebby had no children.  Did Ann send her two to the DISD?Give me someone with more skin in the game than his/her property values and business connections and ambition.

Questionable...
Questionable...

I don't see anything in her background that would make her qualified to be a trustee.

None
None

Astroturf much?

Snap
Snap

Elizabeth, you can't comment on a posting about yourself!

Lucyjhonson08
Lucyjhonson08

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Bob
Bob

With all the critical issues facing public education today, and DISD in particular, THIS is what you choose to focus on?

Bored
Bored

OK, her and 71 others are on that Board.  I think the Board comprises the entirety of anyone ever remotely associated with them.  Calling a group of 70+ people a Board is a little silly.

Hometown Boy
Hometown Boy

the whole concept of "having skin in the game" (like our children are currency to prove our commitment to public education) is one of the silliest and self defeating concepts I have ever heard of.  We literally have thousands of DISD teachers who do not send their own children to DISD and no one questions their motives and commitment to the kids they serve.  What a crock.

Hometown Boy
Hometown Boy

As opposed to say Medrano????

Friends, DISD is a $1.5bn organization with 20,000 employees.  There is more to running a school district than being an expert on education.....finance, marketing (yes, we are in a choice society whether people like it or not with DeSoto, Grand Prairie and Uplift marketing in DISD's backyard), HR, IT, real estate, etc.  Having the same backgrounds as we've always had is a recipe for disaster.  This district needs disruptive change with people who have more experience with large organizations.  The status quo is absolutely broken.   And we need people who know how to govern and manage the CEO instead of attempting to micro manage the district.

Mary Hasan
Mary Hasan

You are absolutely right.  Such a stupid and sexist comment.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Yes, bob...it is..I'd rather take bad news for a pretty face than some of the uggos on the board right now ;)

Also bob, take my comments w/ a grain of salt, Im trying to interject a bit of humor on the situation...

JS
JS

The only reason I read the press release was to find out if she was married. Now I see that she is eminently qualified and, since there's no reference to a family, I am going to assume unmarried. So she has my vote and my lust.

GotMyVote
GotMyVote

Honestly, I've worked in the afterschool programming world and I'm not that impressed with Big Thought and their program.  I feel as if working with DISD has actually required them to water down their programs and quality.  That said, I've met many of their board members and employees who are dedicated to providing quality education and afterschool programming and I think they have shown themselves to manage DISD's afterschool programs better than DISD ever would or could.  If she's on the board, she has certainly been a part of the education talk in the last two years.  Saying otherwise is foolish.

Big Thought Fan
Big Thought Fan

Before you open your mouth again, Bored, to show how ill informed you are, you might go to www.BigThought.org and see the amazing, cutting edge work they do!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

DISD is a cancer on the city because 99% of middle class PARENTS won't use it.  If they can't afford private, they move out of Dallas.

If DISD is not good enough for middle class PARENTS, Dallas is done.

Ebby?  What is this, the 50s?  Another clueless, childless Business Leader who knows nothing about what PARENTS want for their children.

We already have clueless, childless Morath and what has his whopping contribution been?Let's keep the teachers on campus for 45 more minutes.

Wow, Morath, way to solve the problems like kids doing drugs on camera at Spruce.

It's precisely because Business Leaders Who Think They Know Everything have run DISD into the ground by ignoring parents that DISD kills growth and investment.

Morath, this candidate---to people like them it all about the "business model".

Meanwhile, PARENTS vote with their feet and get out.Parents like Greenberg at least give struggling taxpayers hope that maybe DISD can change.  

Hometown Boy
Hometown Boy

Diane, what pct of DISD teachers would you feel comfortable teaching your own children?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Every DISD teacher I know fully supports firing every single person at HR and replacing them.

The problem is when business people hand down edicts into the classroom.  It's a disaster.

Behind every bad teacher--and there are many of them--is an incompetent or playing-the-game principal.

I am a parent and I am a teacher.You business people can have HR and 3700.Stay out of the classroom (CEI, CPG, ACP) and teachers won't say another word...AND we'll deliver excellent results.

For "savvy" business types, you people aren't very smart.Good teachers will tell you what you need to do AND YOU WILL REAP THE REWARDS.We don't want the money; that's not why we went into teaching.

I can't fathom people too stupid to listen to people trying to tell them how to be successful.  How many more dismal years at DISD before they finally start listening to the teachers?

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Yes, we ARE the problem because we KNOW about the problems and broadcast them on the blogs. We ARE the problem, because we tell the truth. We ARE the problem, because we are not going to be silent, nor are we going away.

Hometown Boy
Hometown Boy

At least you were willing to admit that we have a not insignificant percentage of teachers with no business in the classroom.

I will fully admit we lack enough talented people at all levels of the district....the board, the administration, the principals and our teaching force.

And I will agree that if we could change one element in the district, it would be increasing SUBSTANTIALLY the number of quality principals in the district.  And we need to hire a real HR department capable of recruiting quality individuals at all levels.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Your ignorance is scary, since you act like you know what you are talking about.

1. KIPP and UPLIFT cherry-pick kids. Let me have the exact SAME criteria for my school, and we would be stellar. They also limit enrollment, restrict enrollment periods and cap class sizes. DISD does not.

2. Charter schools have a track record of really being NO better than public schools. Up to 40% of them have or are failing. And this is in spite of being exempt from the red tape we endure, they use a "business model" you supposedly like and have all of the attributes listed in #1.

3. TFA recruits youngsters who cannot get a job in today's depressed market or are wanting to pad their resume for future political careers, law school or to quickly move into administration. THEIR track record in Dallas is ALSO not stellar. The stats handed out by DISD are not accurate. They compare them to only a select group of teachers, using a CEI which is inadequate and inaccurate. Oh, and many of them got the "best" kids and the least problem kids at some schools. Even so, they have a higher than TFA average of quitting here.... After only two years.

4. "Business eperience" in Dallas means, "feed cotracts and millions to my buddies in North Dallas." Since I have taught in DISD, I have watched as "business minded trustees who actually MAKE money off of DISD see no conflict of interest. I have seen contracts go to nephews of admin leaders, church buddies or to other nepotistic relationships. We have seen incompetent bidding processes for bond projects, where light fixtures do not match intended use--nobody actually measured the REAL place, or doors are hung without locks or glass int  he windows. I have had property STOLEN from my room, including a US FLAG, by contractors, and we have seen false statements given to city code inspectors. Let's put it this way: If a tornado hits a middle school in DISD, chances are, it might fly away, since the sign off sheets show it was anchored, but it never was.

I tell you what. Take the 50 lousiest , low-performing kids in any DISD high school and put them into Highland Park or Coppell. Let's see how much they can do with them, or how long they would last. Want to wager a bet, boy?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And, yeah, I'M the problem at DISD.

$57 million on hotels and fast food, drug-fests on camera at Spruce, kids mistreated at Halliday, $60,000 blown on a freaking field trip that excluded girls, 45 days of testing for kids... and I'M the problem at DISD.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And who hires all those terrible teachers in DISD?Principals.

Who fails to fill out the necessary paperwork to prove the teacher is ineffective (and not just "we need to fire her so we can hire some ED's goddaughter")?Principals.

Who embraces often very weak, new TFA teachers so the school board won't notice the bad teachers they are ignoring?Principals.

Who determines which people get principal jobs?DISD administration.

Who hires cronies and relatives?DISD administration.

Who says TFA teachers have such great results?DISD administration, using a completely invalidated method.

You are obviously involved with charters.  TFA and charters are both selling a "better"product, so of course they need to denigrate DISD teachers.  

As the latest Edwin Flores blowback proves, the public doesn't buy it.  You're a huckster after tax dollars.

cp
cp

Bullshit. It's a sad allegory that is decades old; Bad teachers = bad schools. Again with the causation vs. correlation. The administration at DISD needs a kick in the butt and the CEO mentality of the board of trustees is what's led us down this path (well, that and whole stupid "No Child Left Behind" crap.) Bottom-line, there are good teachers who can't do their jobs well because all we are focusing on is the tests and graduation rates, nevermind teaching kids how to think critically. 

Hometown Boy
Hometown Boy

DISD Teacher

You are such a perfect example of what troubles education...an educator incredibly quick to blame EVERYONE else but refusing to acknowledge that a meaningful contributor to the state of our education system today is the number of teachers who have absolutely no business being in a classroom, teachers who hide behind a myriad of rules and an appeal process that has historically made it incredibly difficult to remove a teacher who is ineffective in moving children forward.  You dislike TFA because you don't like young teachers showing what is possible with energy and a no-excuses culture; you dislike charter schools like Uplift and KIPP because they show the same thing while you twist data and make excuses.  Your presence in our district makes me incredibly sad.  Rather than replicate things that work, the adults instead want to fight over which adult gets the credit for success and the blame for failure.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

DISD is SUPPOSED to be a taxpayer-funded enterprise to educate children.

I agree we need disruptive change:  No more board members who care more about "governing" and "managing" and "CEO-ing" these children.

They sell out the kids to Pearson Testing, Uplift, TFA, and anyone else who doesn't mind cashing checks from poor kids.

The Board Member Business Types get campaign contributions and probably more quid pro quo than can be believed.

The kids get 45 days of testing, shitty facilities, shittier food, temporary teachers.

Neighborhoods get declining property values, blight-ables ("temporary" portables that although empty are never carted off), and higher taxes.

We've had your type for too long.  Take your CEOs and go away.  DISD belongs to children and parents.

Mary Hasan
Mary Hasan

She is married.  I think her husband serves on the Park Board.

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