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  • Writer's pictureGloria Gonzales-Dholakia

The future — yours, mine, & LISD's

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

May 2, 2022

My first term as a Leander ISD Trustee unfolded very differently than I, or anyone, expected. A global pandemic challenged our school district to adapt and innovate like never before and reinforced how crucial personal connection and care are in the education environment. We also saw how quickly our exhausted and under-resourced educators went from heroes to political targets. As a trustee, I will continue to stand with our educators because they are the foundation of our district.

The last four years have been a roller coaster, for all of us.

I am proud of everyone who has worked tirelessly to balance educational needs and safety considerations while having to pivot time after time. I am proud of our teachers for doing everything they could to meet the needs of all students, no matter the hurdles. I am proud of how our schools served as the hands and feet of our community, continuing to provide meals, wellness checks, technology support, and more, even when schools weren’t open. I am proud of our Board’s commitment to equity and support of all students. There is much to be proud of in Leander ISD.

And yet, there remains more work to be done. Recovery continues on multiple levels, and will for some time. But we also learned a lot about how education can, and needs to, change in the wake of unprecedented challenges.

We need more district, parent and community dialogue about how to transform education in our district so each and every student has more ownership over their learning and more opportunities to explore the possibilities for their future — whether that is college or career. We’ve made great strides through new programmatic offerings, the new early college high school, and continued exploration into public schools of choice. I supported this in my first campaign, and I plan to continue pursuing a vision where every student feels a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose in our district.

We need to do everything possible to recruit great teachers, keep great teachers, and give our great teachers the resources and support necessary to prepare our students for the future. Our teachers achieved incredible things under the toughest conditions ever faced by educators, and they deserve better than they are getting. Our teachers know I am a champion for them. Teachers changed my life, and education changed the trajectory of my family. I was a teacher, I know both the burdens and the fulfillment of the teaching profession. There is no higher calling, and no career more critical to the future of our children - our district, our community, and our state.

We need to continue strengthening our district finances while advocating for more state support. Our state funding system is both arbitrary and insufficient for our district. Education is an investment, not an expense. I believe we can be good stewards of taxpayer dollars while maintaining Leander ISD as a destination school district in Texas. I have been an active voice for our district and community at the state legislature, and I will continue using my voice for the voiceless and for those who entrust our district to do what is right for all students and taxpayers.

These are a few of my top priorities, but I also know you have hopes and dreams for our district and our students, and also some frustrations. I kicked off my first campaign with a listening tour that helped inform my perspectives, my platform, and my votes for and against policy proposals. That listening tour never ended. I spend a lot of time visiting schools, talking with teachers and principals, meeting with parents and other community representatives, and that will continue. I will kick off another formal listening tour shortly to hear from both those who tune into board meetings and work in education as well as those who typically only engage with their children’s schoolwork and teachers. Strengthening and advancing public education for all students takes all of us, and I want to hear from those at any stage along that continuum.

Thank you for your engagement, your encouragement, your feedback, and your care for our students, teachers, and #1LISD community over the last four years. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve accomplished a lot together. And we have a lot more work to do. I’m ready to continue this important work and I need your help.

In case you’re still wondering, I’m running for reelection, and I’m asking for your support. Please join my campaign - here, you can donate, sign up to volunteer, and subscribe for campaign updates. I’ll see you on the campaign trail!

XO, Gloria

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