Southlake Style: Thank you!!

Candidate Name: Edgar Hernandez

Occupation: Started his own business in 2018 as an independent business consultant with a private equity firm.

How long have you lived in Southlake? What brought you to town?

We moved to Southlake in September 2016 as part of corporate relocation. Like most, we chose Southlake because of the outstanding reputation of CISD.

What inspired you to run for this position?

I'm the father of three very different Dragons; we have a child in the AP program, a student in special education and an on-level student. Our children have had three vastly different experiences. My main inspiration was our youngest son PJ, who is in special education. I believe that all Dragons deserve an excellent education and CISD has not provided that to PJ and many other special Dragons. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and help make CISD better for all Dragons.

What in your background has prepared you for this position?

In addition to seeing the different programs for our three children, my background is in business and finance. I joined the Budget and Finance Committee in 2019 and the CEF in 2020. Based on my experiences working with CISD, I have realized that the pillars for a successful organization are the same: employees, processes, tools and fiscal responsibility. I see many innovation opportunities using a similar business approach to provide excellent and tailored outcomes for every student.

What do you hope to bring to this role?

I want to go beyond attending school board meetings twice a month. I will make a personal commitment to the following.

Dedicate one day a week to work on developing and implementing improvements

Leverage talent in existing committees to help with specific projects and challenges

Educate the community by bringing questions and challenges to board meetings

Develop alternative solutions when facing difficult decisions

Always provide transparency to the community

What do you hope to accomplish in this position?

My vision is to improve student outcomes for all students. We need to close the gap between 21st century expected skills and the current status and performance of our programs. The pandemic has widened this gap while simultaneously the CCAP has divided our community. We need to move forward with innovative, flexible and inclusive solutions so no Dragon is left behind. My goal is to improve outcomes for all students while rebuilding trust with our community through transparency and accountability.

Why do you believe you will be successful in this position?

This position is a challenge because of both the pandemic and the division in our community. I have never said no to a challenge. From high school to graduate school, I have always challenged myself to maintain academic scholarships. Professionally, I have also embraced challenging opportunities which led to 11 relocations in three different countries. I have faced other professional challenges such as starting new businesses, performing consolidations, acquisitions and implementations. I feel our school board will benefit from the addition of a businessperson with a track record of solving complex issues.

What are your top priorities if elected?

Fiscal responsibility needs to be addressed now. The school district does not have unlimited resources, and we must transform into a very efficient organization with a clear strategy for our $400 million of long-term debt. We need to improve all student programs. I would like to develop and implement the processes and tools to hire and retain the best teachers, provide more options for AP students, improve outcomes for on-level students and support the much-needed services for our special education students who have been completely left behind. If we do this correctly, I believe these two priorities should result in a net-zero impact on budgets.

What actions do you believe are necessary to help unify the community?

There is more that unites this community than divides us. Every person that I have talked to (on both sides of the CCAP debate) agrees that something needs to be done so that our children feel safe in school. I have been focusing on moving beyond CCAP and the first draft of this proposal is on my website. The lawsuit is needlessly preventing this community from moving forward to find solutions, and these issues should be solved by our community, not the court. I think it is important that we also pause to validate the brave students who shared their painful testimonials. Some of these stories have brought tears to my eyes, and I know that we can do better for our kids. I also want to thank the members of the community that volunteered their time with the DDC to improve the experience of our students and staff. I know how to listen and solve problems; together we can move past this difficult time and heal. I want to be part of the solution.

What's your relationship with CISD?

I have been a member of the Finance & Budget Committee since 2019. I have participated in the Audit Committee. I have attended nearly 100% of the board meetings since April 2020. I am on the board of the CEF. I am also the father of three Dragons and support them as a parent volunteer with the swim and dive team and special education meetings. My wife and I have also been advocating for a year for the development and implementation of a Special Education Parent Advisory Committee for our special Dragons.

What does being a Dragon mean to you?

Being a Dragon provides our family a great sense of both pride and belonging. It has been so meaningful to see our community come together to support our Dragons in athletics and academics.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

I am running for school board because I recognize the multitude of challenges we are facing, and I want to find solutions. Politics do not belong on our school board, and I have pledged not to take PAC money because, if elected, I want to make decisions free from outside influence. I recognize that, without PAC support, I am fighting an uphill battle, and I hope that everyone will visit to learn more about my proposals for moving our district forward. There is a lot of work ahead of us, and I hope that our community can come together and chart a better path for our Dragons.

Each candidate in this race was provided the same questions. We are publishing their answers in their own words. The views expressed in these articles do not directly reflect those of Southlake Style.

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