Incumbent School Board Member Tifannie Harrison Runs on Platform of Equity
Tiffanie Harrison is running for reelection for Round Rock ISD School Board Place 6. She is running on a platform of equity, community, transparency. Ms. Harrison is a former Round Rock High School teacher with experience, teaching business, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
Ms. Harrison grew up in Round Rock, attended Round Rock ISD schools, and graduated from Round Rock High School in 2004. After attending Baylor University and earning an MBA, she returned to Round Rock High School in 2012 as an educator in marketing and entrepreneurship serving for eight years. With a background in education, she discovered teaching while working at the non-profit Youth About Business from 2010 to 2012, offering financial education to youth in underserved communities.
“[Pursuing teaching] kind of happened by accident,” said Ms. Harrison. “What I realized is that I love working with the students in the teaching aspects. So a job opened at Round Rock High School for a marketing teacher. I got alternatively certified and loved it.”
Ms. Harrison decided to run for school board because she felt that those most impacted by school board decisions were not being properly represented or heard.
“I realized that the most important decisions were being made after midnight,” Ms. Harrison said, “Decisions that were impacting students and educators without the input of students and educators and families and communities. And so that was alarming to me. And I’ve spent a lot of time advocating and trying to get the board’s humanity and dignity of all of our students in Round Rock ISD and I just decided instead of spending all that time doing that, I would just run for the school board and actually be a representative for educators and for students.”
One of the issues Ms. Harrison is most passionate about is educational equity. Ms. Harrison is the founder of the Round Rock High School Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity Committee, co-founding sponsor of the Black Student Union at Round Rock High School, and co-Chair of the RRISD Equity Task Force. Ms. Harrison wants to make sure that students of color are being represented not only in the student learning, but also in the decisions that the school board makes.
“We talk about closing achievement gaps and then we do things that are harmful for students of color,” Ms. Harrison said, “One thing that I’m still working on is culturally relevant studies. I think it’s important for students to see themselves reflected in the curriculum, and I don’t think for me personally, the goal was ever to teach children about institutional racism. Children know because they experience it, and even when they don’t experience it they can see with their own eyes.”
Ms. Harrison’s opponent, Don Zimmerman is a former Austin council member who, according to his campaign website, is strongly against transgender student support and Critical Race Theory (CRT). Zimmerman’s own campaign slogan features the statement: “Teach 123’s and ABC’s not CRT’s and LGBT’s.” While Zimmerman is against transgender student support, Ms. Harrison believes they should be supported just as much as every other student.
“I think [the slogan is] pretty gross,” Ms. Harrison said. “We’re here to teach all children. First of all, CRT is not taught in K-12 schools. And so that right there is fake news already. I think every student is deserving of dignity and humanity and respect, and it greatly saddens me that his thought process is in our community. It saddens me that right now, students have to drive by and see that kind of hatred in our communities, because I don’t believe that that is the overarching view of our community.”
Ms. Harrison considers her board position an honor, so if re-elected, she wants to continue building a long-lasting legacy of helping underserved students feel more represented and improving school board collaboration.
“[Round Rock ISD is] a great community,” Ms. Harrison said. “It’s a very loving community. It’s not a perfect community, but there are a lot of great things about Round Rock and Round Rock ISD. I don’t know if I’ve always thought that I would stay here, but I definitely feel like I’m called to be here for this moment in time.