Four of the seven positions on the Humble ISD school board are up for re-election. 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 – Nancy Morrison, Heath Rushing and Keith Lapeze – have terms remaining until May 2019.
Position 1: Robert Sitton is a financial advisor for Edward Jones Investments, a lifelong Humble resident and former teacher and coach in Aldine ISD. Sitton was the first of the incumbents to announce his bid for re-election. Sitton serves on the School Board’s Building and Planning, Board and Superintendent Evaluation committees, and is chairman of the Program Evaluation Committee. “Continued growth and continued state funding issues will drive most of our (school board) decisions,” Sitton said.
Position 3: Angela Conrad is currently serving her first term after being elected in 2013. A former Humble ISD teacher, she is 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.
“I'm excited to announce that I've filed to run for re-election. It's been a pleasure to serve my first term alongside a true all-star team. The experience, knowledge and resources I've gained this term will help guide our course as we seek to provide opportunities for all students to succeed,” Conrad said.
Position 4: Charles Cunningham, a longtime employee of CenterPoint Energy, has served on the board since 2007 and formally filed his bid for re-election Feb. 14. 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 the Building and Planning committees. He also has a board of director position on the Texas Association of School Boards.
Position 5: Nine-year board member Brent Engelage will not run for re-election. X candidates have already announced their intentions for Position 5. Dr. Lohit Datta-Barua is running on a campaign of embracing change and competitiveness in education. Datta-Barua has a Ph.D. in engineering and is a former project director in the oil and gas industry. An Humble resident for nearly 40 years, he raised two daughters who both attended school in Humble ISD.
Another candidate for Position 5 is longtime area resident Martina Lemond Dixon, who is a former teacher and currently serves on the board of directors for the Humble ISD Education Foundation. As a former teacher, she describes herself as a “student-focused educational leader with a strong background in communication.” Dixon has four children currently enrolled or graduated from Humble ISD schools.
Rolando Iseas Cruz position 5
Engelage said, in his opinion, the community is fortunate that Cunningham, Sitton and Conrad are seeking re-election, citing their intelligence, commitment and willingness to serve.
Kingwood resident Carrie Brinsden agreed 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,” said Brinsden. “I am confident our community will select a qualified individual to replace Mr. Engelage who will work effectively with the current board.”
However, many residents are angered at the assumption that the incumbents are an automatic shoo-in for re-election. There are those in the community who remain upset by the board’s conduct during the hiring process for 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 grassroots community efforts have been busy for several months to actively seek new board candidates. Social media is providing forums for their ideas.
Another residents’ 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.
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 and business positions and that several former board members went onto higher elected offices.
“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 eight is equipped to deal with this,” posted one woman.
Another group, Our Revolution Texas, is actively recruiting and supporting progressive candidates in nine districts throughout Texas. Awaiting statement from them?
Christopher D Herron
The filing period for school board candidates ended Feb. 17. 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.