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Education

Austin School Board Says Good-Bye to Four Trustees; Welcomes Four Others

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Kate McGee, KUT News
The newly inducted Austin School Board and interim Superintendent Paul Cruz.

The Austin School Board bid farewell to four members last night and welcomed their successors. Most of the night was filled with thanks to those leaving and advice for the incoming members.

Trustees gave short speeches about their departing colleagues, Cheryl Bradley, Lori Moya, Vincent Torres and Tamala Barksdale, while the outgoing trustees offered advice to their successors.

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Credit Kate McGee, KUT News
Former Austin School Board Trustees Cheryl Bradley and Lori Moya say good-bye to fellow trustees.

“You’re going to have to drown out the static, because you’re going to get it," said Cheryl Bradley, former trustee in East Austin. "And you’re going to have to stand on your convictions and you’re going to have to ask the hard questions. But at the end of the day, it has to be about what’s best for kids.”

Bradley represented District One since 2002. She was replaced by Edmund Gordon, a UT Professor. After his induction, Gordon pledged to work for District One students.

“We need educational equity, we need educational achievement. And, together, I hope we’re able to achieve that," Gordon said.

Besides the tearful goodbyes and the hearty welcomes, there was also talk about the issues going forward, especially educational equity. 

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Credit Kate McGee, KUT News
Trustee Edmund Gordon during his induction ceremony to represent District One on the Austin School Board.

"My dream is that when we're counting up school awards and accolades and scholarships we count up at graduation, that we see more children of color, children with special needs, children from economically disadvantaged households and children whose first language is not English," said outgoing Trustee Tamala Barksdale.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is holding a press conference Wednesday morning urging Austin ISD to self-assess school equity.

The new school members are diverse: one African American, one Hispanic, and two women. After the members were inducted, the board elected new leadership.

Trustee Gina Hinojosa was elected School Board President, while Trustee Amber Elenz was elected School Board Vice-President and Trustee Jayme Mathias was elected secretary.

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