Danielle Weston Centers Campaign on Serving Students

Danielle+Weston+is+running+for+Board+of+Trustees+Place+7.+Preparing+our+students+for+the+future+is+a+sacred+obligation+of+all+school+board+trustees%2C+Ms.+Weston+said.+

Photo By Danielle Weston

Danielle Weston is running for Board of Trustees Place 7. “Preparing our students for the future is a sacred obligation of all school board trustees,” Ms. Weston said.

By Hannah Ashtari, Managing Editor

Election season has returned to Austin once again, marked by the colder weather and falling leaves, along with lines of people that can be found congregating at polling places and winding around buildings. This November, voters in RRISD will have the opportunity to elect new members to the Board of Trustees. Running for Place 7 are Danielle Weston, an Air Force veteran, former HR manager, and RRISD volunteer, and Jenn Griffith, a realtor and RRISD volunteer. Ms. Weston previously ran for the Board of Trustees in 2018 on a whim and lost by a very narrow percentage. 

When I ran in 2018, I made the decision at the very last minute…And I should have lost in a landslide. Instead, I almost won. That told me that this was winnable.”

— Danielle Weston

“When I ran in 2018, I made the decision at the very last minute…And I should have lost in a landslide. Instead, I almost won. That told me that this was winnable,” Ms. Weston said. “I’ve spent the last two years attending all school board meetings, all policy meetings, all facilities meetings, all safety and security task force meetings. I just got more involved and paid more attention.” 

Being able to connect with the community at board meetings and through volunteering has allowed Ms. Weston to hear feedback from the RRISD community and understand their needs. Through her communication with parents, Ms. Weston believes that RRISD parents feel their concerns are ignored by the administration and hopes to fix that if elected. It’s going to require “a change in the culture”, but she feels it’s necessary to best serve RRISD students. 

“[The RRISD administration needs] to recommit to understanding who our customers are. And our customers are our students and parents. And the way we should be measuring our success is whether or not they are satisfied with the service we are providing, which is to educate our children,” Ms. Weston said.  

One of Ms. Weston’s priorities has been to advocate for student mental health. As schools have closed and students have been isolated due to the pandemic, education has changed, resulting in difficulties for both students and parents. Ms. Weston advocates for making both a high quality virtual and in-person learning option available, and believes that the current in-person learning model for RRISD middle and high schools can be greatly improved. 

“Unfortunately, Round Rock ISD is not doing what it should be doing as far as making on-campus learning — real on-campus learning, not just sitting in a pod, with the same five students and the same teacher, [meaningful for middle and high school.] My first objective would be to get us in compliance for doing what TEA is telling us we should do. That will have mental health benefits for our students.” 

Another one of Ms. Weston’s goals is to close the achievement gap between students in the district. As the only candidate for the Board of Trustees with children who have attended a Title I school, Ms. Weston says she knows firsthand the disparities in the education students receive. Ms. Weston aims to decrease some of these differences and increase the quality of education for disadvantaged students by incentivizing the district’s “best teachers” to work at the “lowest-performing” campuses. 

“We’ve got these very high performing campuses and then we have these very low performing campuses, and I feel like we spend a lot of time broadcasting or advertising our high performing campuses, and we just kind of ignore lower-performing campuses. But I think that’s where the real opportunities are,” Ms. Weston said.  

Along with her leadership experience in HR Management, Ms. Weston also served as a personnel officer in the Air Force, where she earned multiple decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal. Ms. Weston says the experience taught her the value of making a difference as part of an organization larger than herself. She added that she had many memorable experiences as a woman serving in the military, where women are the minority. Ms. Weston cited a time where a National Guard unit was activated to her base to act as security, due to the majority of troops being deployed to Iraq. 

“I’m the only woman on the command staff, and they’ve activated this Army National Guard unit that doesn’t even allow women into the unit. So they show up, and they have to answer to me, and they have to call me Captain Weston, and they have to stand up every time I walk into the room. And back home, where their unit is, they don’t even allow women into their unit.”

Along with amplifying the voices of parents and prioritizing on-campus learning, Ms. Weston’s platform includes elevating vocational training for RRISD students, preparing for budget cuts that may come to public education due to COVID-19, and supporting transparency and oversight for the newly created RRISD police force to ensure that all students are treated fairly. 

I take the safety and security of our kids very seriously….The data shows that Black and Brown students, and students with special needs are disciplined at a higher rate than their White and Asian peers. This is a problem.”

— Danielle Weston

“I take the safety and security of our kids very seriously….The data shows that Black and Brown students, and students with special needs are disciplined at a higher rate than their White and Asian peers. This is a problem,” Ms. Weston said. “So [Round Rock ISD] is now going to create its own police force that is going to report to the Superintendent, that [has] fewer checks and balances over this powerful enterprise.” 

Though school board races are non-partisan, Ms. Weston has received endorsements from both the current and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and the Round Rock Democrats, as well as the Williamson County Realtor Association. She hopes the support will help her win in November and allow her to bring a recommitment to students to the Board of Trustees. 

Meeting the needs of students has got to be our first priority. Nothing else is more important.”

— Danielle Weston

“Meeting the needs of students has got to be our first priority. Nothing else is more important. We have to recommit and refocus to meeting the needs of students when it comes to how we spend our time, when it comes to how we spend our energy, when it comes to how we spend our money,” Ms. Weston said. 

Ms. Weston’s opponent, Ms. Griffith, also prioritizes student mental health, and has made supporting “the whole child” her campaign keystone, while Ms. Weston has focused on specific plans to help the district recover from COVID-19 and make changes to improve the quality of education received by students in RRISD. To learn more about Ms. Weston, visit her website and Facebook page. Early voting began on  Tuesday, Oct. 13, and election day is on Tuesday, Nov 3. For more information on how to register and where to vote, visit this website. 

 

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