Gloves Off: HISD District IX Trustee Race – Part I

ABOVE: HISD Board President Wanda Adams

Leading up to Election Day (November 7th), the Forward Times will take a look at each of the three candidates running for HISD’s District 9 Trustee seat.

Wanda Adams: The Politician

HISD Board President Wanda Adams is hoping for a second four-year term representing District IX, which includes the Westbury, Madison and Worthing feeder patterns.

After serving a six-year term on Houston City Council, Adams cruised to electoral victory with an impressive 71% of the vote in a three-way race back in 2013. Now, four years later, it’s once again a three-way race with Gerry Monroe and Dr. Karla Brown who we’ll learn more about in the next two weeks’ articles.

It’s been an eventful four years; including the ups and downs of school closures, a new superintendent, The Larry Marshall scandal, and word that the board might face state takeover at the end of this school year due to low performance at several campuses.

Before holding the reigns at the state’s largest school district and her stint on city council, Adams worked for a government program helping women transition back into society.
Of the three candidates, she has the most political experience, but some in the community question whether political experience is an asset or liability. Travis McGee, a community leader in the District IX community says HISD isn’t going in the right direction.

“Years ago, our schools had vocational programs that prepared students for careers upon graduation, we had an adequate feeder pattern for each high school. That’s not how things work these days,” says McGee. He points to a lack of programs and resources at schools like Worthing as part of the reason they’re low performing.

Adams says Worthing’s compensation for teachers is among the highest in the district with an average of $58,073, and that she successfully advocated to bring back magnet and vocational programs inside District IX.

She says she thinks the district will dodge the looming bullet of school closures at the end of this school year by working together to address the unique needs of each individual campus.

“It’s about hiring effective teachers, and principals who share that vision. It’s about wrap around services, emotional support that make success likely,” added Adams.

Adams points to the barber and beauty program at Madison as evidence that her work on the board is bearing fruit.

“With new leadership, I’m confident Worthing can, and will, turn around,” concluded Adams.

All three candidates will be participating in the “Gloves Off: HISD District IX Trustee Race” debate sponsored by the Forward Times, at the Sunnyside Multiservice Center on October 4th at 6:30PM. Community members are invited to attend, and participate in the online poll.