Time frame to file intent to run is January 18-February 17
Four of the seven school board positions are up for reelection. The terms end in May for positions 1, 3, 4 and 5, held respectively by Robert Sitton, Angela Conrad, Charles Cunningham and Brent Engelage. The remaining three board members — Morrison, Rushing and new board president Lapeze — have terms remaining until May 2019.
Robert Sitton is a lifelong Humble resident and former teacher and coach in Aldine ISD. Sitton was the first to announce his candidacy in 2011 for the seat vacated by Dan Huberty when he was elected to the Texas State House of Representatives. Sitton just completed a term as board president, with Keith Lapeze assuming the role in late 2016. Additionally, Sitton serves on the School Board’s Building and Planning, Board and Superintendent Evaluation committees, and is chairman of the Program Evaluation Committee. A financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments, Sitton is also Chairman of the Board for the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the Kingwood Medical Center.
Angela Conrad is a relative newcomer to the board and is currently serving her first term after being elected in 2013. She is a former Humble ISD teacher, and is currently employed by Insperity as an Instructional Designer. She chairs the Technology and Data Governance Committee and the Superintendent Evaluation Committee, and serves on the Legislative Committee.
Cunningham has served on the board since 2007 and is a long-time employee of Center-Point Energy. He is chairman of the Board’s Audit Committee and serves as the Board's representative to the Humble ISD Education Foundation, as well as serving on both the Finance and Building and Planning Committees. He also has a board of director position on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).
Nine-year board member Engelage will not run for reelection. Engelage said that in his opinion the community is fortunate that Cunningham, Sitton and Conrad are seeking reelection, citing their intelligence, commitment and willingness to serve.
Kingwood resident Carrie Brinsden agrees with Engelage.
“Humble ISD has a committed, hard working school board that has steered our district wisely through many challenges faced by today’s public schools. Charles Cunningham, Robert Sitton, and Angela Conrad have served and dedicated themselves to making Humble ISD one of the best school districts in the state of Texas. I am confident our community will select a qualified individual to replace Mr. Engelage who will work effectively with the current Board,” said Brinsden.
However, many residents do not share the same opinion, and express dissatisfaction at the idea that the incumbents are an automatic shoe-in for reelection. Many in the community remain bothered by the board’s handling of the hiring of new superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen, and more recent issues like the rezoning changes for Atascocita Springs and Eagle Springs Elementary schools also have citizens hot under the collar – so much so that grass-roots community efforts have been in work for several months to actively seek new board candidates.
One such group issued the following statement: “We believe the recent actions by our current Humble ISD Board of Trustees prove that they do not have the best interests of our community at heart. So let’s replace them with board members who do.” Participants asked not to be named in The Tribune.
The group is seeking candidates singularly interested in education and kids, who won’t use the school board as a business booster or springboard to another political position, citing the fact that several board members also hold other very prominent community, business and healthcare positions.
“There is phenomenal ongoing growth in this district, with a growing disparity between wealthy and poor families. I just don’t feel that our current Team of 8 is equipped to deal with this,” said one woman.
Another group, Our Revolution Texas, is actively recruiting and supporting progressive candidates in nine districts throughout Texas.
On December 16, Humble ISD filed a public notice regarding filing of applications for a place on the regular trustee election ballot for the May election. The filing period starts January 18 and ends February 17. Applications may be placed in person or mailed to Humble Independent School District Administration Building, Beverly Aden, 20200 Eastway Village Drive Humble, TX 77338.
Less than 4,000 of the potential 105,000 voters typically vote in the May election, and many Humble area residents are hoping that voter turnout will increase for the important May election.
There are a few important election dates to remember: election day is May 6; the last day to register to vote is April 6; and the early voting period is April 24-May 2. Mail-in ballots are allowed, but an application for a mail ballot must be received by April 25, with the actual ballot postmarked on or before May 6.