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Photo courtesy Nichole Bentley

Nichole Bentley (Place 6)

What inspired you to run for Coppell ISD Board of Trustees?

“I have volunteered to help CISD over the past 11 years – Pinkerton, West, CHS and [email protected], band, wrestling, choir, football, Destination Imagination, Coppell ISD Education Foundation and numerous districtwide committees – and have developed a well-rounded understanding about how a school district run and operates, including public school finances. This year, my combined interest in public school finance and the transitions our district has been going through provided the spark that compelled me to run.

My business experience along with my passion for public education, a knowledge of district operations and a robust parent perspective allows me to see campus and district policies, finances and family perspectives in a uniquely comprehensive way, so I can contribute to educating students who are ready to take on the world and pursue their passions.”

 

What experiences make you the ideal candidate to serve as a Coppell ISD trustee?

“I am the only candidate who has kids who have attended 4 different campuses, including both high schools and graduated from CISD – two currently attending CHS. I have also lived in Valley Ranch and Coppell, so I understand the different ways our families experience CISD.  I have served CISD on more than 14 committees and boards in addition being a graduate of the inaugural iLead class. As a local business owner, parent and volunteer I am deeply invested in our community in the long and short term. My business degrees, chamber membership and Leadership Coppell 2018 participation give me the opportunity to see CISD through from the various perspectives of our community members in addition to the lens of a parent.”

 

What are the biggest issues facing Coppell ISD today and in the near future?

  1. “Rezoning for the 2019-2020 academic year as the third elementary school in Valley opens following the first year of CHS9 and the new CMS West. This has not been done comprehensively for about 10 years and it is critical that there is focus on immediate rebalancing in conjunction with long-term growth expectations.
  2. Teacher recruitment and retention is critical to student success. Stabilizing staff turnover through robust recruitment of new teachers who fit in Coppell ISD, retaining our best teachers and creating a proactive succession plan for retiring teachers and administrators who have been long time culture makers and classroom innovators. We have to create a work environment that is unmatched by focusing on what we do well and deciding what is not essential to teaching well.
  3. School finance has been and will continue to be a challenge especially if residents continue to see increased property value assessments, while the additional tax dollars that generates are sent to the State of Texas rather than kept in Coppell ISD.  I would like our community to be better informed about school finance and enlist their participation in our community standing up to legislators who want to undermine CISD’s ability to fund our schools.”

 

What plans do you propose to address these issues and concerns?

“Improve community engagement by thanking those who participate, enlisting those who are not volunteering, communicating with our citizens who do not have Coppell ISD students and seeking broader community input.  This will be a multi-faceted effort that will likely require partnering with other organizations to do it well.

Serve and educate the students in the “middle 70%” well. I believe there are assorted opportunities to tap into some of CISD’s existing programs differently. For instance, through CISD’s relationship with DCCCD, I would like to see more certifications, technical, trade and vocational offerings for high school students. It would be interesting to explore the possibility of bringing the most in-demand dual credit courses onto CISD’s two high school campuses.”

 

When you have the opportunity to tell a stranger about Coppell ISD, what do you say?

“I share that we moved to Coppell ISD because of the schools and that, while our experience has not always been perfect, it has been really good. I tell them that we like being in a community that is small enough that my kids grew up bumping into teachers at the grocery store and that we are big enough to have the opportunity to choose between two very different high school experiences which has allowed my 4 boys to choose what suits them – and those choices have been varied. A stranger would know after 30 seconds that I’m proud to live in a community where athletes can also be singers; an on-level kid can start a club she’s passionate about and that our students who need extra help learn life skills, so they can be independent or have a job. A stranger would know that I live in a community that is unstoppable when we come together for a common cause – and that is the rule rather than the exception – because we care about people.”