courtesy of Amy Weir
Board Candidate Amy Weir Advocates For Greater Inclusion Within RRISD
After a long history of volunteering and a four-year term as a trustee starting in 2018, Ms. Amy Weir is hoping to be re-elected to Place 5 on the RRISD Board of Trustees this year.
Since 2004, Ms. Weir has been involved in organizations such as the PTAs at Pond Springs Elementary School, Deerpark Middle School, and McNeil High School. She has also served on the 2014, 2017, and 2018 Citizen Bond Committees for the district, and in 2015 and 2018, she was a parent representative for the McNeil Master Plan.
“[These experiences have] qualified me in a couple of ways because I’ve been very involved with the district,” Ms. Weir said. “I also got very in-depth with a lot of the projects, and the way our bonds and debt work, the way we can handle things going out to the voters, and the oversight of some of the projects that the district has had. Those were all really great experiences before I got on the board in 2018.”
During her previous term on the board, Ms. Weir advocated for policies such as stipends, raises, and increased support for teachers in RRISD. She was also part of the decision to enforce mask mandates during COVID-19.
“[COVID-19] was a little bit hard on all of us. It was hard on all of our families,” Ms. Weir said. “One of the things on the board is that you do have to make really tough decisions. We had a lot of people who wanted to get rid of masks right away and one of the things that we did as a board is bring in the health experts and get guidance from them. Some of our students had health issues where it was really, really important for them to be around people that were masked. [So] we kept [masks] in Round Rock ISD.”
Before joining the board, Ms. Weir advocated for more inclusion of families that weren’t familiar with the US public education system. This included some immigrant families or low socioeconomic students.
“I’m just trying to make sure that people are paying attention to those populations that maybe don’t show up at a board meeting and maybe don’t write lots of letters to the board, but are incredibly impacted by the decisions that we make,and I’m just making sure that the district doesn’t do something that has unintended consequences,” Ms. Weir said.
Ms. Weir’s interest in fighting for this issue stemmed from her background at Deerpark, a Title 1 school, meaning that at least 40% of students come from low-income families. Experiences from Deerpark helped Ms. Weir understand the importance of paying attention and giving opportunities to everyone — not just the people who showed up to volunteer every day. For example, Deerpark has a deaf education program, therefore events at Deerpark need deaf interpreters so everyone can be welcomed.
“40% of our students [at Deerpark were] on free and reduced lunch. There was a very big difference between this 60% of the students that lived in homes and then our [other] students that lived in apartments. It’s a bit of a blanket oversimplification, but the difference between the 60 and the 40 was pretty large,” Ms. Weir said. “If we really want all of our families to come to a six o’clock PTA event, we need to have food. We may need to get the NHS students to come down and babysit younger siblings. If you provide food for the whole family, you’re more likely to get them to be able to come to Science Night.”
Ms. Weir supports RRISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, who she called the “first step” in amplifying smaller voices.
“I think [Dr. Azaiez] has a very good track record,” Ms. Weir said. “[At] his previous districts, [he reached] out to populations. He speaks four languages. He’s very, very community engaged. And it is important for me to have somebody at the helm who came from a district that was all low socioeconomic. He’s very adept at paying attention to those populations that may not have the loudest voice in a community.”
Ms. Weir is reevaluating out-of-date school facilities, such as elementary school playgrounds that don’t follow Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Ms. Weir was on the bond committee that recommended and achieved a renovation for CD Fulkes Middle School in 2014, due to the school’s maze-like structure and tiny hallways. Ms. Weir plans to renovate Caraway Elementary next.
“Every campus in this district needs something different,” Ms. Weir said, “and we shouldn’t have just cookie cutter responses and cookie cutter resources for all of our districts. What Westwood needs is very different from what Stony Point needs or what Cedar Ridge needs.”
Ms. Weir believes that RRISD is on the road to improvement, but hard work is still required.
“It’s going to take a lot of work [for the student voice to be heard at the administrative level],” Ms. Weir said. “It’s going to take a culture shift for some people who have been at Round Rock for a very long time, but I think everybody is ready for it. I think everybody agrees that we have to make sure we’re taking care of all of our students and meeting their needs. Every student has different challenges. Every student needs to be pushed to a different level.”
Ms. Weir encourages seniors to vote. There have been many school board decisions — throughout the US and in Texas — that have been negative for students, such as book bans based on parent complaints and bans on the teaching of critical race theory among other controversial topics. Ms. Weir believes that youth voters should have a say in what they are allowed to read and learn about.
“It’s a really important year for school board elections,” Ms. Weir said. “I hope people are paying attention.”