No matter who you ask, the phrase “Back to School” is sure to illicit a reaction. Our students know that the long, hot summer is coming to an end. Parents are both excited and relieved to see their children heading back. As a School Board Trustee on the Burleson ISD Board, “Back to School” means lots of events. Just this week at one such event, I was reminded of the reasons why I’ve chosen to spend the better part of my adult life fighting for access to education and job training programs for Texas students.
At Burleson’s annual New Teacher Luncheon, I had the opportunity to meet countless young, ambitious and gifted teachers ready to give back to their community and their state. These young leaders didn’t choose education for the money or the fame, instead they’ve chosen to devote their lives to shaping the leaders of tomorrow. One of this year’s new teachers held specific significance for me.
Kristen Reynolds will begin teaching 4th grade Math and Science in Burleson this year. As Kristen and I talked about why she chose to teach in Burleson, I was blown away by her passion for teaching and her excitement for the year ahead. Over the course of our conversation as I learned more about Kristen and her story, I was reminded why the work of education advocates across North Texas truly matters and that collaborative work on behalf of Texas students is paying off.
Kristen is a Burleson High School graduate who attended Hill College as one of the hundreds of Burleson graduates who have received the Burleson Opportunity Fund Scholarship (BOF). In 2008, the BOF funded over 20 first year awards. In 2017, we will fund over 100 first year and 40 second year scholarships. The scholarships are funded through the Burleson Higher Education Opportunity Fund, a collaborative effort between the city, school district, Hill College, and local business and civic leaders that provide funding for first and second year tuition at Hill College. After Hill College, Kristen attended Texas Wesleyan to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Education. Because her community believed in the power of higher education and believed in the power of its youngest citizens, Kristen is paying it forward by empowering a new generation of learners and leaders.
Her story resonates because Kristen is the epitome of what is possible when elected officials, business and civic leaders, public educators, university professionals and countless others come together to create meaningful opportunities for our state’s next generation to excel. Her story is one that can and should be emulated across our state. Her story is a reminder that we are stronger when we find a path to offer hope and opportunity and we are stronger when we remember to open the door to possibilities.
"It’s time for a State Senator who has the vision to make stories like Kristen’s come true for all Texans."
As a candidate for the Texas Senate, this “Back to School” is new and different for me. Instead of attending “Back to School” events only in Burleson, I will now be looking across the district to help ensure that all our district’s children have the tools and resources they need to succeed. I entered this race because it’s time for a new State Senator who’s committed to fighting for every child, in every corner of Senate District 10. It’s time for a State Senator who understands public education. It’s time for a State Senator who understands that our state’s children are our future, and it’s time for our state to invest in them like they are our future. It’s time for a State Senator who has the vision to make stories like Kristen’s come true for all Texans.