Weatherford Democrat

April 23, 2014

Q&A: The race for WISD Place 6


Weatherford Democrat

MEET THE CANDIDATES

 

With some contested races in area school board and city council races on the May 10 ballots, the WD will provide a closer look at some of those through a question-and-answer feature with the candidates. Early voting begins April 28. Today we look at the candidates running for Place 6 of the Weatherford ISD school board.

 

Name: Tiffany Branson

Age: 36

Occupation: Attorney

Spouse: John Branson.  John is employed as an investigator at County Attorney John Forrest’s office.  Prior to that, he was employed as the Crime Scene Investigator for the Parker County Sherriff’s Office with Sheriff Larry Fowler.  John enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with family.

Children: Owen, Age 11—5th Grader at Austin Elementary.  Owen enjoys sports,  reading and spending time with friends.  He is in the Quest program at Austin Elementary.  He plays football, basketball and baseball and also participates in gymnastics at Maverick.  

Carly, Age 5 -- Carly will be attending kindergarten at Austin in the fall of 2014.  She is currently at the Schoolhouse working to get ready for kindergarten.  Carly enjoys cheerleading, gymnastics, and reading.  She cheers for Owen’s football team and also participates in gymnastics at Maverick.  

 

Educational Background

BBA in Finance from University of North Texas in 2000 and J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 2003.

Professional Affiliations/Memberships:

C.O.O. of The Law Office of Tiffany N. Branson, P.C.

Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas since 2003.

Admitted to practice law in the United States Federal District Court in the Northern District of Texas.

Member of the Texas Bar Association.

Mediator.

Member of Parker County Bar Association.

Past president and vice-president of the Parker County Bar Association.

Member of Texas Lawyers for Children.

Member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.

Serve as vice president/secretary for Parker County Collaborative Law Group.

Teach the Business Law course at Weatherford College.

Community Involvement:

Member of Travis Avenue Baptist Church.

Serve as Budget and Finance Chair on Austin Executive Board PTA at Austin Elementary.

Serve as Budget and Finance Chair on WISD Council of PTA’s.

Serve as Secretary of Weatherford Youth Association Board of Directors.

Served on Campus Improvement Team at Austin Elementary for 2012-2013 school year.

Serve as the hearing officer for Weatherford Housing Authority.

Why are you running for Weatherford ISD Place 6 trustee?

     I have a firm belief in children and family.  Children are the most precious commodity in our community.  They are our future leaders, parents, school teachers and so much more.  We all have a direct interest in making certain that every child receives a great education and a good foundation in life.  To do so, we must ensure that each child here in Weatherford ISD has every opportunity at success that we are able provide.  It takes so many to make this happen.  No one person alone could set out and accomplish such a feat.  I believe in our kids and want to pull up my sleeves and work to make all possible for them.

     

What are your thoughts on House Bill 5 and its impact on education standards?

     I am very excited that House Bill 5 gives students an opportunity to begin thinking about their future and set some goals.  However, I also like the flexibility that is built into House Bill 5 so that a student can change their mind and change paths.  I love the fact that House Bill 5 requires the parents to be involved in that process with their children.  The most exciting news is that Weatherford ISD will be offering all of the endorsements to students right away.  Not all schools are able to that.  My only concern was whether we currently have enough counselors at WISD to handle this massive undertaking of meeting with each student and counseling them through their plan.

 

Would you be in favor of putting a bond election before voters, and, if so, what specific needs would you feel should be addressed?

     As we all know bonds are a way to raise funds to address needs that can’t be met through the usual budgetary process.  I don’t know if the bond will be readdressed and presented to voters within my term if I am elected.  I can tell you that my approach when considering a proposed bond will be a conservative one.  I will ask many questions and not relent until all of my questions are answered.  As a property owner here in Weatherford, I understand the direct burden a tax increase presents to land owners.  I will not take this issue lightly.  My husband and I have an anti-debt approach within our household and it runs on a tight budget.  Also as a business owner I have learned to pinch pennies to make dollars.  As far as needs to be addressed, I would cite safety as a concern for our children.  Many of our schools here in Weatherford have no barrier to entry.     

 

 

Why are you the best candidate for Place 6?

     I have owned my own business here in Weatherford since 2009.  During the past five years, I have successfully run that business and it continues to grow.  It is my belief that a school board must be run like a business.  Secondly, I have a heart for children.  I have two of my own and serve many here in Parker County and surrounding counties as their attorney ad litem and/or guardian ad litem when they are removed from their families due to abuse or neglect.  I have always had a heart for children and family and wish to serve and better them in any way that I can.   Also through my legal training, I have learned to read research and ask questions.  It is my opinion that these tasks are the main functions of anyone serving on a school board.  Lastly, I have a solid reputation of loyalty and hard-work and maintain a driven approach to problem-solving.

 

 

Name: Jeromy Puckett

Age: 40

Occupation: Business Owner (Pro-Tech HVAC Solutions Inc. in Weatherford)

Wife: Chastity Puckett 1st Grade Interventionist at Raymond E. Curtis Elementary

Son: Dylan Puckett (17) Junior at Weatherford High School 

Son: Jordan Puckett (13) 7th grader at Hall Middle School

Educational background:

Weatherford High School

Weatherford College

Community involvement:

Served as vice president on the Weatherford Optimist Club oard which serves the youth in Weatherford.

Former member of the Weatherford Optimist Club for four years.

Served four years as Weatherford Town Representative for the Weatherford Youth Association Board.

Served two years on the Saginaw Youth Association board.

 

Served three years on the Northwest Texas Youth Association board (1 year as vice president- represented Weatherford Youth Association).

Current President of the Weatherford Quarterback Club.

Current member of the WHS football booster club

PA announcer for varsity boy and girls basketball games.

Volunteer work at concession stands at sporting events.

Volunteer/mentor at Hall Middle School, Curtis Elementary, and WHS.

 

Why are you running for Weatherford ISD place 6 trustee:

Like the mission of WISD, I have made it my mission to “Teach, Challenge, and Inspire” children in this community for almost 20 years. As a coach, volunteer, mentor, and parent in WISD, I know the importance of making sure students have the tools they need to become successful & productive members of society. It is crucial that schools provide the recourses needed to make sure every student has an opportunity to be successful once they graduate; whether they plan to attend college, vocational school, or step right into a career field. I have a passion for Weatherford and children and I know that I will do everything I can help build a better future for WISD students, and help give faculty and staff the best opportunity to help students become successful members of the community.

  

What are your thoughts on House Bill 5 and its impact on education standards?

I have attended a meeting with the school board to learn about House Bill 5 and its effect on the education system in Texas. This bill will change the education system for the better. WISD’s vision statement includes being the “world-class district of choice” and House Bill 5 will allow WISD to expand horizons and set us apart from other districts. The possibilities can be endless and I am excited to see student’s succeed under this new bill. It does impact education standards, but in a positive way. Student’s aptitudes, goals, desires, and needs all vary, and this bill allows education standards to vary to meet the needs of students instead of students having to all meet the same goals and standards. House Bill 5 will help students set attainable goals at an early age and allows them to ignite a passion in their potential career field and feel successful in school.  

 

Would you be in favor of putting a bond election before voters and, if so, what specific needs would you feel should be addressed?

Yes, but I would offer different options so the community can vote for what they feel is the most crucial for our district at the time. Based on the information I have, I would like to see the bond broken down into three separate, smaller bonds. 

The first bond would address over-crowding, safety, remolding of the older schools, and improvements in our technology. 

The second bond would address new/remodeled technical facilities; auto mechanic shop, cosmetology, culinary, computer programming, etc.

The third bond would address bus barn/maintenance facilities and athletic fields.

 

Why are you the best candidate for Place 6?

My love and pride of this community started many decades ago. I was born and raised in Weatherford, my business is here and I have worked here my entire life. I have dedicated almost 20 years of my life helping the youth in Weatherford. Through my passion of sports, I have had the opportunity to help children understand the importance of setting goals, teamwork, discipline, responsibility, accountability, camaraderie, success, how to deal with failure, and what it means to have a passion for something. My wife works at Curtis Elementary and we have spoken many times about the needs of students, faculty, and staff. I feel as though I have such a diverse perspective given that I have seen and been a part of educational changes in Weatherford for over 30 years and having a wife that works for the district gives me an inside glimpse of WISD needs that the other candidate may not get the opportunity to see.