Challenger Lori Kirkpatrick is hoping to unseat incumbent Dustin Marshall in the race for Dallas ISD school board District 2 (pictured below).Dallas ISD District 2

Marshall survived a close election followed by an even closer runoff to claim the seat last June. He argues that voters should give him more time “to continue improving outcomes for kids” and to “retain a reform-oriented majority on the board.” Kirkpatrick, who has invited voters to question the education reform movement with which Marshall identifies and also his actions as a trustee, says she is running to “fight for my family and yours.”

Here is a quick overview of each candidate, in alphabetical order. (Richard Young, a former DISD employee and current charter school teacher, also is on the ballot but didn’t respond to our requests for an interview.)

Early voting continues through tomorrow, May 2, and Election Day is this Saturday, May 6.

Lori Kirkpatrick

Stats: Physician assistant at Parkland Hospital; 51; lives in Hillside (north of Lakewood) with her daughter, a second-grader at Lakewood Elementary.

Cred: Kirkpatrick points out her work with underprivileged DISD children at Parkland as giving her an understanding of the challenges the school district faces. With a child in DISD schools, she says she will “fight to improve the school district and system that will shepherd my daughter, that will shepherd her peers, and that will shepherd the children that become our community’s future.”

Motives: Kirkpatrick told us in February that she believes “public education is under attack — nationally, at the state level and certainly, I feel like, here locally as well,” and “I feel like if there was a time to take a stand, it’s now.”

Supporters: City Councilman Philip Kingston, whose challenged race for the District 14 seat is attracting East Dallas voters to the polls, has endorsed Kirkpatrick, along with teachers union National Education Association-Dallas chapter, former teacher, DISD board member and state representative Harryette Ehrhardt, former DISD board president Ken Zornes, and Democratic groups such as the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, the Dallas County Tejano Democrats and Annie’s List.

Top priorities: Working to improve teacher retention with a better evaluation system (she opposes DISD’s current Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) and the state’s pilot A-F grading system); establishing a Community School concept for struggling schools; and fighting against programs that would take taxpayer dollars and divert them to private education.

Dustin Marshall

Stats: CEO of his family’s company, Hazel’s Hot Shot; 39; lives in Preston Hollow with his wife and four children; DISD-zoned school is Preston Hollow Elementary but sends his children to his alma mater, Greenhill, a private school.

Cred: Leading up to his election to the board, Marshall touted his years spent on education boards and councils. More recently, he has pointed to his efforts to help homeless DISD students, improve DISD transfer procedures, and hold Dallas County Schools, with which DISD contracts for bussing, accountable for its practices.

Motives: Raised by a poor single mother who scraped to send him to Greenhill, Marshall believes his education changed the trajectory of his life and says he wants to provide the same opportunities for Dallas students who face similar obstacles. He says his background as a consultant for Bain & Company gives him insight into business practices he wants to apply to DISD systems.

Supporters: Marshall once again has been backed by education reform PACs Dallas Kids First and Educate Dallas. The Dallas Morning News also endorsed him, as did The Real Estate Council and the Texas Organizing Project, plus a slew of other current and former elected officials, and community members. Last week, Marshall’s campaign received a boost from the endorsement of Mita Havlick, who came close to defeating him last June.

Top priorities: Pre-K expansion and other data-driven education reforms, including racial equity, principal empowerment and teacher development (he supports TEI and wants to see the A-F system tweaked).

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