Weatherford Democrat

February 11, 2014

Q&A: The race for State Board of Education, District 11

Weatherford Democrat

The WD recently sent questionnaires to the candidates in contested county races in the March 4 primary elections. The candidates were asked to provide background information and answers, in 300 words or less, to questions posed to them. Early voting begins Feb. 18. Today we look at the  primary candidates for State Board of Education, District 11: Pat Hardy, Eric Mahroum and Lady Theresa Thombs.


Name: Patricia (Pat) Hardy

Age: 65

Occupation: educator

Family: single

Educational background: B.A. Howard Payne University, B.S. University of North Texas

Professional affiliations/memberships: Texas Council for the Social Studies, Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association, World Affairs Council, Texas Alliance for Geographic Education

Community involvement: served on the Texas State Board of Education for the past 11 years, presently chairing the SBOE’s Permanent School Fund Committee, Kid’s Hope mentorship program at George C. Clarke Elementary in Fort Worth ISD, active in the Koinonia Bible Study class at Travis Ave Baptist Church, Vice-Chair of the Indian Creek Condominiums


Why are you running for office?

The future of Texas and the nation depends on quality education for all students. Strong public schools are necessary to maintain our democracy. In my 11 years on the Board, I have had the privilege to initiate many positive changes in Texas public schools. I have both the expertise and the desire to continue to move Texas public education to even greater achievements.


What do you feel is the most important issue in education?

There are any number of important issues that need to be addressed in education. One of the most challenging issues is shifting from our traditional teacher directed classroom to the technology driven learning environment. It is true that students do learn differently today than 30 years ago. Learning to keep students both engaged and challenged in our fast paced society is an issue of utmost importance.


If elected, describe any changes you would like to make.

With the passage of HB5 education has made a Herculean shift in regard to graduation requirements and assessments. I would like to help implement these changes for the betterment of the five million school children of Texas. 



Name: Lady Theresa Thombs

Age: 55

Occupation: Business owner-remodel and disaster services, realtor, International Evangelist (children, youth and women).  

Family: my husband is Barry Thombs, I have one daughter who is a teacher and a 3-year-old grandson.

Educational background:  Paralegal Degree, Accounting Background, Licensed Agent with CDPE(short sale specialist), SRES(senior real estate specialist), CNE (certified negotiation expert).  Currently working on my Masters in Short Sales.

Professional affiliations/memberships:  Texas Association of Business, MetroTex Realtors Association, Texas Association of Realtors, National Association of Women in Construction, Builder’s Association, just to name a few.  A more complete list is on my website.

Community involvement:  Board of directors for the Texas Association of Business, Government Affairs, Public Education, Diversity in Housing and TREPAC for the MetroTex Realtors, Political Affairs Committee for Texas Association of Realtors, and the Texas Association of Business is heavily involved in public education, these are just a few.


Why are you running for office? 

To make a difference in our education system. The system is broken and it will take all of us working together to implement solutions. Parents, teachers, students, administration, business men and women, and board members working together to give our children a chance at success.


What do you feel is the most important issue in education? 

We have moved too far away from teaching the basics of reading, writing, mathematics, history and science. Children graduating without the tools they need to succeed outside a Public School classroom.


If elected, describe any changes you would like to make.  

Get rid of all the testing. Teaching to the test does not allow for problem solving and critical thinking skills to be developed. Instead of spending money on Common Core and programs like CSCOPE, let’s work on more Vocational and Career Schools. If we can graduate an entire generation into a career, we can take an entire generation off of welfare and give them the tools they need to be a success in life.



Name: Eric Mahroum

Age: 31

Occupation: Operations Manager

Family: Spouse, Holly Mahroum; children, Rayna and Ariana Mahroum

Educational background: American Intercontinental University, BA Business Administration

Professional affiliations/memberships: Republican National Hispanic Assembly, the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, the Northeast Tarrant GOP Club, the Fort Worth 912 Project, and the Fort Worth Republican Women’s Club (associate member), Arlington Republican Club, Northeast Tarrant County Young Republicans, Parker County Tea Party

Community involvement: St. Ann Catholic Church, Heavenly Supply Depot


Why are you running for office?

The board presents a great opportunity to positively impact our educational system. Having attended public school in District 11, I respect the hard work our teachers and administrators do. As your SBOE member, I will focus on what our district needs by listening to local school boards, to teachers, and to (sadly often overlooked) parents. The SBOE should not be some top-down board of bureaucrats that singularly sets education policy and dictates standards to local school districts without local input. While the state oversees the public education system, it is important that our school districts are actually independent — that they have the freedom to innovate and to improve locally to provide the best learning experience for students. “One-size-fits-all” regulations and common standards — whether from the federal government or from the state — too often shift teaching responsibilities from the classroom to educational bureaucrats who are backed by publishing giants and interest-group consultants. 

As your SBOE member, I will be an advocate for school reform that provides greater educational opportunities for ALL children. I will work to increase public accountability — particularly with parents — regarding curriculum that the SBOE supports. I will be a voice against the culture of testing versus actual learning that has been fostered in Texas. End-of-the-year testing does not ideally assess student progress in a timely manner; such testing hurts numerous school districts and unnecessarily penalizes teachers who have dedicated their time creating valuable lesson plans for students.


What do you feel is the most important issue in education? 

A big issue in education right now is failing schools. We see thousands and thousands of parents and grandparents taking their kids out of public schools. We need to find a way to engage the community so their voices can be heard. We need to ask questions. The SBOE needs to ask, what can we do to makes things better for students, parents, grandparents and teachers. Our ultimate goal is to work together to ensure every child has the best education possible. 


If elected, describe any changes you would like to make.

If elected, I would like to see more focus on children’s health especially with asthma awareness. We need to focus on engaging parents and grandparents as well. When it comes down to it, they are the ones in charge of education. We need to hear their voice. I would hold various meetings in the district so I can hear their thoughts and opinions on local education. We need a fresh approach to reforming public education. I would change the way we go about it now. As an SBOE member, I will spend time and work closely with teachers and staff to help improve our schools.