“Education is not about filling the pail, it’s about lighting the fire.” That is a mantra that Coppell school board candidate Tracy Fisher lives by.
The mother of two kids, Aaron, a senior at CHS, and Sam, a sophomore, Tracy has dedicated the last 15 years of her life to community action.
“I quit working when Aaron turned three and I started getting involved in the community,” Tracy said. “I didn’t know then how or where I would focus my attention, but I knew I would and I was drawn to education.”
Before her son Aaron had even entered school, she was a representative for the Town Center Elementary improvement committee. Now, Tracy is on the District Education Improvement Council.
Fisher has been to more than 40 school board meetings in the past five years. Besides the actual school board members, Tracy said, the only people who stay are those representing the press, administration and herself.
“It’s kind of sad,” Tracy said. “At the school board meetings, they do introductions at the beginning, where they give out awards and recognition, and everyone is always there for that, but as soon as that’s over, everybody leaves.”
Sometimes, the school board members joke with her by saying, “Oh, Tracy is here. Now we can start the meeting.”
“I care a lot about education, and I’m really sickened by the fact that Texas has now fallen to fiftieth out of 50 states in terms of education,” Tracy said. “I know Coppell doesn’t have the same issues as many other Texas schools, but I think we have a unique opportunity to be leaders in education. We need to not just compare ourselves to other schools in Texas, but we need to really look at how we’re doing nationally.”
Tracy was a part of the GPA committee and worked with counselors, teachers and other parents to make the GPA system more balanced and take some pressure off of students. The committee decided, after being stalemated for a time, to change some aspects of the GPA system.
“It takes the pressure off and it spreads out the benefits of the GPA,” Tracy said. “That way someone that wants to do theatre, can do theatre. Someone that wants to do band, can do band.”
Though Tracy will not have a child in a Coppell school next year, she believes the board would benefit from her objectivity.
“Some people leave the school board when all of their children leave the school district and graduate, but I feel the exact opposite,” Tracy said. “To me that says you’re there because your kid is in the school, and you’re only going to be there because you care about your kid. I care about all of the kids in all of the schools and I care about making things better.”
The Coppell Gifted Association is Tracy’s brainchild. Six years running, it is the number one regarded Gifted and Talented parent group in the state of Texas. They put together summer enrichment programs for kids and all of the money raised from the programs is put toward teacher scholarships so that teachers can continue to learn about education.
“What’s great about gifted education is that it helps all students,” Tracy said. “Education is a process. You shove them in kindergarten and they go running out at the end and you hope that, in the middle, they get something out of it. And the kids really deserve to get something out of it. It’s a lot of time.”
Though she has been involved in education for many years, Tracy has recently decided her experience could be put to the best use as a board trustee.
“I used to think you could have more impact not being on the school board, because you could say what you thought and not have to worry so much about the politics of it,” Tracy said. “But when it’s all said and done, the people that actually get to decide are on the school board. And I think I have a unique voice that can add some value.”
Aaron is proud his mom is campaigning for the important position.
“It’s so cool to see her running for school board [trustee],” Aaron said. “She is hands-down the most qualified because of her work in PTO’s, her constant volunteering at the high school, her work for the CGA and the fact that she has been to virtually every school board meeting for the past 5 years. But beyond that, I know that she would love the opportunity to help our school district in such a direct way. She knows what the district needs and if she were elected, it would amplify all the amazing work she is already doing every day.”
Her work in education is a high priority for her and Fisher’s family realizes this commitment and encourages her to continue her work.
“Whatever I do, my family is supportive,” Tracy said. “What’s most important is my family, but they all know that I’m really passionate about this. It’s like anyone with a job. I left work to stay home with my kids because I could and now, for me, this is my job.”
Early voting for school board members will take place at any precinct in Dallas County from May 2 through the 10.