Information for the Candidates
Saturday, July 23, 2022, is the first day candidates may file an application for a place on the ballot for the Nov. 8, 2022 Board of Trustees Election; however, the Leander ISD offices are not open on weekends. The deadline to file an application for a place on the Nov. 8 ballot is Monday, Aug. 22, at 5 p.m.
All school board positions are four-year terms and represent the entire school district. All Leander ISD residents who meet the eligibility requirements specified in Board Policy BBA (Legal) may run for any place in the Board of Trustee election.
The following five positions will be on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot:
- Place 1 – Currently held by Trish Bode
- Place 2 – Currently held by Dr. Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia
- Place 5 – Currently held by Sade Fashokun for an unexpired term ending Nov. 2024
- Place 6 – Currently held by Aaron Johnson
- Place 7 – Currently held by Elexis Grimes
Important Election Dates
- Saturday, July 23, 2022: First day to file an Application for a Place on the General Election Ballot
- Monday, Aug. 22, 2022 at 5 p.m.: Last day to file an Application for a Place on the General Election Ballot
- Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022: Last Day to Register to Vote
- Monday, Oct. 24, 2022: First Day of Early Voting by Personal Appearance
- Friday, Nov. 4, 2022: Last Day of Early Voting by Personal Appearance
- Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022: Election Day (voting from 7 a.m.–7 p.m.)
Candidate Forms & Resources
- Notice of Deadline to File Application for Place on the Ballot
- Notice of Drawing for Place on Ballot
- Frequently Asked Questions about Running for the Leander ISD School Board
- Application for a Place on the ISD General Election Ballot
- Board Policy BBA (Legal), Board Members Eligibility/Qualifications
- Campaign Finance Guide for Candidates and Officeholders Who File with Local Filing Authorities
- 2022 Filing Schedule for Reports Due in Connection with Elections Held on Uniform Election Dates
- Political Advertising: What You Need to Know, Brochure
- A Short Guide to the Prohibition Against Using School District Resources for Political Advertising
- Fair Campaign Practices Act and Code of Fair Campaign Practices (Form CFCP)
- Appointment of A Campaign Treasurer by A Candidate (Form CTA) and Campaign Treasurer Instruction Guide
- Candidate/Officeholder Campaign Finance Report (Form C/OH) and Candidate/Officeholder Instruction Guide
Additional Resources for Candidates
- The Texas Secretary of State Candidate Information
- Texas Ethics Commission: Frequently Asked Questions
- The Texas Ethics Commission: Local Non-Judicial Candidate/Officeholder Forms and Instructions
- Texas Ethics Commission: First Steps for Candidates Running for School Board Trustee
- The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) offers a free online training course, Serving on a Board: An Insider’s Guide to Board Service for School Board Candidates , designed by experienced school board members especially for people considering running for the school board. This course explains what to expect when serving as a school board member.
For additional election information, please contact Michi Ishimura by phone at 512-570-0005 or by email at [email protected].
About the Candidates
The candidate bio information below has been posted as submitted by the candidates without modifications by Leander ISD. The district takes no stance on the content submitted.
I am a 24 year resident in LISD, and both of my children went to LISD schools, grade school through Cedar Park High School. My grandaughter is starting kindergarten this year, and I hope that our schools are safe and follow common sense academic standards.
I have taught at Middle School, High School & College levels (even wrote a College level Electrical Engineering Textbook).
I have a budget definition, review & management history. I have personel handling, including hiring and firing, in my history.
I am worried about the financial direction of the current board. I am worried about the philosophical direction of the current board. I am running on a common sense and Texas values platform. As your next Leander ISD Trustee for Place 1, I’ll bring a lifetime of learning and expertise to this critically important board, applying our time-honored values and conservative principles fairly for all LISD residents.
Currently the President of the Leander School Board, Place 1, Trish is running for re-election with early voting in October and the general election in November.
First elected to the board in 2015, she served as secretary and vice-president of the board before being elected President by her Board colleagues in 2019.
Since Trish has been President the Leander ISD Board has elevated the student voice by ensuring a student learning presentation at school board meetings during the school year, students being promoted to the top of citizen comments to speak first, and an agenda that highlights the student experience. The Board has also increased its community outreach through initiatives such as the Board Cafe Session.
Trish also serves in Key 6 meetings with the City of Leander and City of Cedar Park, is the chair of the LISD Board Legislative Priorities Committee and member of the LISD Board Operating Procedures Review Committee. She also serves as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee.
Working in corporate communication has allowed Trish to enjoy over 15 years engaging in legislative advocacy at a state level and immersing herself in the regulatory process.
Continuing with legislative outreach, she also has served two terms as a Legislative Advocacy Committee representative for Region 13 and has been twice elected to serve on the TASB Legislative Committee. She has been elected as President of the Central Texas School Board Association and continues to work with Trustees and Business Chambers across the region to identify workforce support and solutions for teachers, staff and students.
Trish is a frequent presenting speaker with Texas Trustees on portions of federal legislation in ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), with Central Texas Trustees on regional associations, and with her Board trustees and administration on Good Governance and the development of the first LISD Strategic Plan.
My wife and I have been married for 29 years and have lived in Leander for the past 11 years. We usually speak Spanish at home and our two kids are fluent in Spanish as well.
I am fiscally and socially conservative. Our school district currently owes over $2.4 Billion in debt and it is time for a new direction. I will advocate for taxpayers. I oppose Prop B, which would result in a 35% increase in M&O taxes collected by LISD from property owners. Every year LISD raises our property taxes and while raising our taxes every year, Board members brag about “lowering the tax rate” while hiding from voters that the Board has the ability to further lower the tax rate to where our taxes are not being increased each year. Taxes are not being increased because of rising property values, but are determined by a balance between property values and tax rate. Setting the correct tax rate each year will result in eliminating those constant increases in taxes.
I will help to remove wasteful spending and return our focus to supporting our educators. Why pay an office receptionist more than a school teacher? Teachers need to be freed from excessive bureaucracy and they need to be allowed to maintain discipline in their classrooms. No employee should be forced to endure disrespectful behavior in the workplace and that includes students being disrespectful to teachers. Additionally, students who will not do their assigned work should not receive passing grades.
Our two children Rachel and Joshua graduated from Rouse High School. Joshua was the president of the student body in his senior year. After that, they both went on to graduate from UT Austin. Then both attended Dallas Theological Seminary where Joshua got his Masters Degree and Rachel finished a one-year certificate in Biblical studies before beginning to work as a 5th grade teacher in the LISD district.
I served my country four years and was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. After being Honorably Discharged from active duty, I went on to study Electronic Engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and have now been an Electronic Engineer for over 30 years, designing electronic circuits. My job consists of regularly creating things that never existed before by using innovative methods of circuit design and by “thinking outside the box”. In other words, I view things in unique perspectives that enable creating something that never existed before.
I have served as a volunteer Pastor in three Spanish-speaking churches through the years and have served on many Boards and committees. I look forward to addressing various issues in LISD and will never try to force students or staff to wear facemasks or to receive unwanted injections. I will respect parent’s wishes and ensure pornographic and obscene materials are removed from our classrooms. No adult should discuss sex acts with someone else’s kids.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.” (Psalms 127:1)
Brandi is a native Texan and attended the University of Texas. Brandi and her husband, Thomas, bought their home in Leander 18 years ago and she has worked in the healthcare industry for almost 20 years currently managing the hospital-based network for one of the state’s largest health insurance companies.
Brandi has two high schoolers that attend Leander High School and a home-schooled 5th grader. Over the years, she has volunteered in several roles, including Destination Imagination, PTA, and athletic booster club executive committees. Brandi was compelled to get involved when the school board was considering TASB recommended edits to the medical policy that would have allowed the district to remove a child from campus for a medical procedure and not inform the parents. Since then, Brandi has attended numerous school board meetings speaking against the obscene book selections, social emotional learning surveys being administered without parental consent, and parental rights violations.
Brandi does not have a teaching background and will never pretend to be the expert in teaching, as she is just learning to teach her own ten year old daughter at home. Brandi believes that our teachers deserve to be equipped with the proper tools so they can successfully teach our future generation. This includes on-level core curriculum and instructional material that does not violate the recently approved SB3, regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
Brandi attended the Texas House Education Committee July 26, 2022, and heard TEA Commissioner Morath admit pornography is in our classrooms and that less than 20% of Texas classrooms offer on-level instruction. The issues our educational system faces, is not something that will be resolved with more money. Our educational system needs to start focusing on education and the school board needs to be accountable to the parents and community.
Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D. is asking voters to re-elect her to the Leader ISD Board of Trustees, where she currently serves as Vice President, so she can advocate for students, teachers, parents, schools, and taxpayers.
During Gloria’s 4-year tenure on the Board, the district:
- increased teacher and staff salaries;
- expanded public school choice and pre-K offerings;
- lowered the tax rate every year;
- saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by refinancing, rebalancing, and paying off bonds early;
- enhanced safety and security throughout LISD schools; and
- continued serving students and families while navigating a global pandemic.
Additional service to Leander ISD
For more than 15 years, Gloria has been:
- a mother,
- volunteer, and
- taxpayer in schools across Leander ISD.
She supports every school as a member to all the PTA and PTO groups. She served as the founding executive director of the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF), earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for teachers and students.
Gloria comes from a family of migrant farmers and janitors, and credits her teachers, and public education, with changing her life and the trajectory of her family. The support and encouragement of her teachers propelled her to become the first in her family to achieve a college education— a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Baylor. She went on to get her Master’s of Education in adult learning and distance education from the University of Phoenix, then her Doctorate in Education with a focus in instructional technology from UT-Austin.
Professionally, Gloria has served as the chief executive for multiple nonprofits and a corporate foundation and has been responsible for managing sizable budgets. She currently is the executive director of the Jeremiah Project, where she works to help single mothers obtain a college education and prepare their children for elementary school. Gloria is the mother of three boys who all attended LISD schools.
I am married with one son who attends school in LISD. I am a college educator with a Master’s and PhD in Criminal Justice, an Army veteran, a retired police lieutenant from the Austin Police Department (serving the 11th largest metropolitan area in the US), and have served as an interim police chief at a small municipal police department. With more than 2 decades as a public servant, I have developed a number of skills sets that translate well into an ability to serve on the school board. I work with others to build consensus and I take sophisticated approaches to solving complex problems. I also understand that board members must take deliberate, yet precise action to affect change in specific areas without disabling the entire structure. If elected, I will demonstrate how to help the superintendent lead change through layers of bureaucracy. I know how to cut through red tape, how to listen well, and how to craft and implement policy. I also know how to do all these things without being needlessly divisive. I want to help change course to focus the district academic excellence in bias-free, safe schools. I want to do this in a fiscally-responsible way that places a primary focus on competitive teacher salaries that keeps property taxes in check. Focusing on academic excellence is cutting through the noise of radical ideologies and giving children the education that will prepare them for adult life; schools should be teaching children how to think (not what to think). By adopting this focus, then underpinning that focus with LISD’s 10 Ethical Principles, we can realize a safe environment for our children. This only happens with deliberate action that demonstrates support for teachers. This includes:
- Developing a graduate profile with measurable goals,
- Adding objective measures of academic success for each subject at each grade level,
- Supporting teachers to maintain discipline in classrooms, and
- Providing teachers with the time they need to meet the children’s academic needs with instruction and time to prepare lesson plans.
Teaching in a bias-free, neutral environment to me means teaching children to respect others and their differences without taking sides on social issues or engaging in political activism. By focusing on academics and character development, we can develop our children into conscientious, productive, successful adults. If we can work together, we can restore LISD to match its extraordinary reputation – the reputation that attracted so many families to the district in years past.
Shawn, his wife Ashleigh, and their two children Brooklynn and Nicholas are blessed to live in Leander, Texas. He owns medical business’ within the district and his daughter attends one of the local LISD high schools. Shawn has been an entrepreneur and business consultant for the last twenty-two years. He is a principled conservative that believes in fiscal responsibility and common sense solutions.
Having attended LISD school board meetings within the last year, He is concerned about the way that the current board is taking the district.
His main issues are as follows:
- Stop out-of-control tax increases due to wasteful spending.
- Restore academic excellence through a rigorous curriculum.
- Reduce administrative burden and let teachers teach!
- Minors should not have access to sexually explicit materials.
- Remove political activism & social justice indoctrination from our schools.
- Expand trade & technical classes like welding, carpentry, and mechanics.
- Respect parental rights. Parents are partners in the education of their children.
I am the current Trustee for Leander ISD Place 5, and it is my desire to remain. I accepted the call to serve as a Trustee when I was appointed to the board in October 2021, and I hit the ground running. I quickly grasped the complex public-school finance system. I have a natural thirst for knowledge that is guided by my analytical and critical thinking skills combined with an interest to have open and transparent communication with students, educators, and the community. I recognize that these elements aid in sound decision-making. I believe that to best serve the needs of the various stakeholders of Leander ISD, I must be present in the district community. To this end, I made a conscious effort to participate in several campus visits last school year. While there, I listened to students and educators so that I had a better understanding of their experiences and perspectives at the campus level because that makes me a better servant leader. As part of my board service, I am also a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, Policy Committee, and serve as an Internal Audit Liaison. In these capacities, I focus on the needs of all students and educators and aim for efficiencies throughout the district.
I am a strong proponent of public schools and trust Leander ISD with the education of my own children. My board service isn’t my first introduction to service within the district. I’ve been involved in the district since my family moved to Cedar Park in 2014. I care deeply about every student and their access to quality public education from our competent and caring educators who should be valued and have the resources to be successful. I am committed to families being informed and engaged because their engagement supports student success. It is imperative that we all work together to focus on addressing the issues and gaps created by the pandemic, while enhancing the quality of academics and extra- curricular options for all; and I am driven by this focus.
My service to the district began as a Literacy Partner before my children were even school-aged. I increased my involvement by assisting teachers with reading groups and students with math tutoring, mentoring, and after-school enrichment in Math Pentathlon and Destination Imagination. I expanded my service to the community through service on the PTA for 3 years in the roles of Treasurer and President. I have also served as a member of campus and districtwide committees – a Site-Based Planning Committee, School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), and the Bond Oversight Committee.
I hold a BS degree in Computer Science, an MBA, and JD degrees. I worked in the technology industry for over 20 years, and I am now a small business owner. These qualifications provide me a breadth of knowledge and skills to tackle the various issues of Leander ISD with a balanced and well-rounded approach but, more importantly, with a heart to serve.
I am running for Place 6 on the Leander ISD Board of Trustees because I am a public education advocate. I believe public schools are the backbone of our communities and should be treated as such. We need trustees that want to ensure each and every student feels safe and welcome while they are receiving a high-quality education, and that our teachers and staff are valued, respected, and trusted. My husband Lee and I have lived in the district for almost 17 years, and we have a fourth grader and a sophomore currently attending LISD schools. My involvement in the district includes serving as a crossing guard, band mom, and Parent-Teacher-Student Association member. I have also served on the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), the Community Curriculum Advisory Committee (CCAC), and the Bond Oversight Committee. Since announcing my candidacy in January, I have attended almost all board meetings in their entirety to keep up with the business of the district. I have also spoken during Citizen’s Comments numerous times in support of programs, students, and educators. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Concordia University Texas, and two advanced paralegal certifications from the National Association of Legal Assistants. I was previously certified in Civil Trial Law through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a designation held by less than 500 paralegals in the state. Before leaving the full-time workforce in early 2021, I spent my career working for Texas public school districts in school law defense, and the knowledge I’ve gained makes me uniquely qualified to be a trustee because I understand the complexity of the Texas public school system’s policies and procedures. I am also familiar with the laws that govern our district, including the Texas Education Code, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Texas Open Meetings Act, and the Texas Public Information Act. As a trustee, my priorities will be to amplify student and teacher voices, to work towards equitable educational access of programs, materials, and facilities across the district, and to increase community outreach over the 200 square miles that make up Leander ISD. We are a growing and changing school district, and I want to serve as your Place 6 trustee to make sure that all students who come through our doors leave with the best possible well-rounded educational experience.
I am a mother to 2 daughters, and 4 beautiful grandchildren, some of whom have benefited from Leander ISDs public education. I am also a wife of 30 years to my soulmate and love of my life Michael.
I moved to the Cedar Park area in 1992 and one of the main reasons was because of the excellent reputation Leander ISD had at educating children. This all changed recently after I started hearing what was happening in our classrooms from several concerned individuals, parents, and students. I decided to start following the school board meetings more closely. The tipping point was when parental involvement at the school board was cut to 90 seconds and the VATRE was announced to be on the ballot.
I have a very unique background. I was a paramedic in the Houston area and taught paramedic classes at San Jacinto Community College. I have also worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice training & counseling correctional staff and inmates. After moving to Cedar Park, I helped a local cardiologist grow his practice from a one-man show, into a practice of 7 providers. My job duties included finding and overseeing the build-out of multiple medical offices. Later on in life, I worked for a computer software company training associates. I eventually opened up my own Medical Billing company which I ran for over 25 years all while keeping multiple full-time jobs.
I am running for Leander ISD Board of Trustees, Place 6 because I believe, with my unique set of skills and experiences I can bring a different perspective to the Board.
Scott Reese is a veteran Marine Corps officer with an extensive and dependable background as a community volunteer. He received a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Oregon State University, receiving multiple academic & leadership awards, and went on to earn his MBA in Economics and Marketing Strategy from the University of California Irvine, where he was a Dean Scholar and also peer selected for the class leadership award.
Education, hard work, the military, and faith were key elements to Scott achieving his early dreams of escaping poverty and having a loving and connected family. Scott’s faith journey was instrumental in his turn away from finding self-worth in material accomplishments and instead turning toward finding self-worth in following God’s call to serve and love others with the gifts, talents, and resources Scott has been blessed to receive. This inside out change over the past 15 years has led to relationship restoration, family healing, and increasing support and service to family, friends, and community.
Scott has 25+ years of military and corporate leadership and change management experience, including past roles like Managing Director, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President. He is now an experienced financial investment strategist with a local real estate and construction management firm. Reese has worked on the Leander ISD Bond Oversight Committee and hopes to expand his impact on his community by being elected to the Leander ISD Board of Trustees.
Reese is married with three children, two of whom were at Cedar Park High School before going on to attend college. Together they have 26 years of experience with Leander ISD, where they have collectively served in numerous volunteer and leadership roles.
My name is Joseph Gorordo and I am running for LISD Board of Trustees. I was born in Austin and raised in South Texas by a family full of committed and passionate educators. For the past 9 years, it has been my honor to call Cedar Park my home and the place where I’ve raised my three amazing (and unruly) children with my wife, Chelsea. While I’ve always had a heart for service to the community, my interest and passion grew even more when my children reached school age, and the importance of quality public education became personal.
In addition to being an invested father and member of the Cedar Park community, I’m a vocal and passionate member of the recovery community who has been sober for 14 years. On a professional level, I have dedicated my life to working as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor to bring hope and healing to individuals who are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. As one of the leading substance abuse and mental health experts in Texas, I have been afforded the opportunity to speak publicly about my recovery to a wide variety of groups across the country and I am currently President-Elect for the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals.
I am running for LISD Board of Trustees – Place 7, for my children and all others that depend on this district to teach them, support them, and prepare for the next phase of life. This is the time and place in a child’s life in which ideas and values are truly formed, and I’m excited for the opportunity to have a positive impact in this process.
I am married with 4 children and currently teaching theater. I am a Republican who stands for fiscal responsibility and school accountability and this is the reason I am running for LISD Board of Trustees, Place #7.
I have spent countless hours at the LISD board meetings over the last 2 years and have attended several State Board of Education meetings to shine a light on the issues I see going on in our schools. It has been clear to me that there are fundamental changes that need to be made in LISD that need strong people with conviction, courage and a clear vision to elicit that change.
The community has taken on billions of dollars in debt to fund the education of our children, but the educational outcomes are still poor, tell me our children aren’t the ones benefiting from the money being spent. I want to change that.
I have seen and talked to many parents and students about the curriculum, the culture and environment that is allowed in our schools. We need to ensure our schools are a safe place for learning for all children, that the curriculum reflects our true and accurate history, that social agendas stay out of the classrooms and that each child is given the opportunity to excel. We need parents to be restored as leaders in the education process, partnered with the board and administrators, and recognized as the ultimate authorities in the education of their children.
It is an honor and privilege to be asked by my fellow parents and citizens to take on the responsibilities of a School Board Trustee for our children. I want to restore fiscal responsibility and accountability in LISD and help earn back the trust of the community.
Elexis Grimes has lived in Leander Independent School District since 2007 with her husband, Lyle, and two sons. As a mother, she watched her oldest son, graduate from Leander High School, and continue his education at Texas Tech University. Her youngest son, will be entering High School this year. She remains very passionate about their education and the success of LISD. Grimes serves as a Trustee for Leander ISD in order to achieve academic excellence with a balanced approach to parent and community collaboration.
Grimes graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. Before moving to Austin, Grimes taught classes at El Paso Community College. When she was a young single mother, Grimes learned the value of hard work while going to college, raising a son and working full time. In her role as Trustee, she has actively sought opportunities to support other young parents continue with their education by advocating for programs like Acts of Love.
Grimes was elected among the other Trustees as Board Secretary for the past three years. Grimes serves on the LISD Long Range Facilities Committee, the School Safety and Security Committee (SS&SC), and the Legislative Committee. Grimes understands partnering with our first responders has a direct impact on students safety and mental health. She is passionate about creating safe and secure facilities that meet the needs of all students empowering them for deeper learning. Grimes has advocated for our nurses to be equipped with Narcan and to be partners in the community to serve our students in educating them against the Fentanyl crisis.
LISD has amazing teachers, parents, and students in LISD, and Elexis Grimes wants to empower teachers to teach, parents to parent and students to learn.