Three hopefuls are campaigning for the District 2 Dallas ISD school board seat. Who’s applying for the job? Munger Place neighbor Alex Enriquez and Lakewood resident Nancy Rodriguez are trying to unseat incumbent Dustin Marshall, who has served in the position since 2016.

The future trustee, who will represent East Dallas, Preston Hollow and the area surrounding the Park Cities, won’t dictate how the district operates on a day-to-day basis. Instead, he or she will guide policy, advocate for the community and consider how to spend a multibillion-dollar bond if voters approve the package this November. 

Get to know your candidates and their top priorities with our election cheat sheet. 

Alex Enriquez

Why do you want to run for this position?

I’ve had too many playground conversations about whether Dallas families can trust DISD to act in the best interest of their children. DISD is facing a crisis of trust. That trust can only be earned through intentional partnerships with students, parents, teachers and neighbors. I believe in DISD, am a product of DISD and am deeply invested in DISD. As trustee, I will stand up for strong neighborhood schools.

How will your previous experience help you as a trustee?

I am a third-generation DISD graduate, was the founding executive director of City Year Dallas for the last six years and served on Lipscomb Elementary’s Site-Based Decision-Making Committee for four years, including three years as chair. These experiences gave me a deep knowledge of the history and inner workings of our schools.

What are your top priorities?

The three pillars of my campaign are community, equity and excellence. Three issues are consistently brought up as the greatest concerns: 

  • Program fidelity: DISD must fulfill the promises of specialized programs. Leadership cannot be more concerned with press releases than with long-term student success.
  • Safety: We must intentionally foster a safe and inclusive environment for all students by fully funding mental health and other social services.
  • Bond: The board must use its political capital to ensure every student a high-quality learning environment. 

 What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I believe in DISD, not just in theory, but in practice. I moved into my neighborhood so my kids could go to DISD schools. My policy knowledge is the most comprehensive among the candidates. My understanding includes how education policy actually affects Dallas students and how to most effectively advocate for policies that benefit my community.

How do you plan on governing?

A school board representative must have a pulse on the community. I will listen to community concerns and seek solutions that work in our unique neighborhoods. Trustees can and should work with neighbors through collective leadership, not in a unilateral or transactional manner.

Dustin Marshall

Why do you want to run for re-election?

DISD is in the midst of a turnaround that has been led by the current board, and it is critical that the board maintain a consistent commitment to the vision and strategies that we’ve pursued the last several years. We are transforming the lives of students, and I’m honored to be part of this progress. Another three-year term will enable us to deepen and broaden our impact.

Why should neighbors vote for you again?

I’ve already illustrated my ability to influence change and build consensus through my leadership in spearheading the development of our principal training program, overhauling our dyslexia intervention, expanding services for homeless kids, substantially changing our special education department, changing our sexual health curriculum, investing in new and improved facilities, increasing teacher pay and continuing the expansion of choice schools. I’ve been a consistent community advocate and have worked hard to communicate with constituents. We still have room for improvement, but we are headed in the right direction. 

What are your top priorities?

  • Improving student outcomes
  • Rewarding our best teachers 
  • Supporting school choice
  • Investing in facilities
  • Transforming special education

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

I’ve consistently invested my time, energy and resources in only one cause: advancing student outcomes. I’ve served on the boards of Reading Partners, Uplift Education, Social Venture Partners, Dallas After School, the Education Council for the Dallas Regional Chamber and the Woodrow Community Foundation. I’ve helped launch several schools, tutored and mentored dozens of kids and completed several leadership training programs. 

How do you plan on governing?

You must focus on your formal role, which includes setting policy, managing the superintendent and approving the budget. You must resist the urge to proactively involve yourself in the day-to-day operation of the district. You must also be attentive to your informal roles as district cheerleader, ambassador for the district and advocate for families.

Nancy Rodriguez

Why do you want to run for this position?

I’ve done a great deal of work in public schools, and we have some urgent needs. When parents speak up, the district is dismissive and discourteous. I voted for the incumbent trustee three years ago because he assured me that he would address these problems on a system-wide basis. I’ve been disappointed, so I decided to run.

How will your previous experience help?

I’ve had a great deal of real-life experience with DISD, both as a parent of two kids and as an advocate for kids with special needs. There is a huge disconnect between how the district presents itself to the board and how it actually operates. Trustees who lack that kind of in-the-trenches experience have a real handicap because they just don’t understand what is actually going on in our schools.  

What are your top priorities?

Our biggest problem is one of district culture. We need to stop seeing parents and community members as adversaries and start seeing them as partners. I’m also discovering that we need much tighter financial controls. Special education services in the district are poor. Finally, we need to better support our teachers. 

What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Neither of my opponents has kids in DISD, and I know neither of them has spent the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours that I have wrangling with our schools to get our kids really basic, common-sense stuff. I am also the only woman in this race and the only Spanish speaker. As a Latina, I understand the Hispanic culture, and I can engage parents who would like to participate but don’t feel they can.

How do you plan on governing?

My No. 1 priority will be to listen to parents and the community. I can’t run around personally solving every issue that arises in a school system of 150,000 kids, but I can certainly hold the administration accountable to do so.

The school board election scheduled to take place May 2 can be postponed until the Nov. 3 general election because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott says. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, a runoff election will follow. The elected candidate will serve a three-year term.

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