To inform readers about the candidates seeking their votes on the November ballot, the San Antonio Report asked all candidates to answer the following questions. We edited answers for clarity, not substance or grammar, and we did not fact-check responses. We restricted responses to 200 words for each question.

Read other candidates’ answers here.

Position sought:

North East ISD, District 5

Incumbent?

No.

Link to campaign website:

https://www.gilsonforneisd.com

Age:

40

What is your educational background? Where did you go to school growing up and what is the highest level of education you completed?

University of Notre Dame, B.A., 2002 (Government Studies)
Ave Maria School of Law, J.D., 2007
Mexican American Catholic College, B.A., 2012 (Pastoral Ministry)
Catholic schools growing up: St. Peter’s and OLPH-Selma locally, JFK Catholic HS in Seattle.

If you have completed higher education, what degrees or certifications have you earned and from where? In what years did you complete these degrees or certifications?

See previous answer.

What is your current occupation, employer, and job title?

Probate & estate planning attorney. Self-employed at Gilson Law Firm PLLC. Opened my practice in 2012. Prior to that, I served as a federal judicial law clerk for US District Judge George P. Kazen in Laredo, TX 2007-10

List any previous elected offices that you held and the term you held that office. List any elected offices you sought and the years you sought those offices.

I’ve held no elected offices that I can recollect. I did run for GOP Precinct chair about 5-10 years ago in the Selma/Schertz area. I did not win that race.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the office you are seeking?

My opponent has lost touch with the values of District 5. Her record is: higher taxes, radical sex ed, changing Lee H.S.’s name, removing class ranking, and 4+ years of leading a rubber stamping board, with a record of 600+ consecutive unanimous votes. Her 8 years is enough. It’s time for change. I am an authentic conservative, and I will act like one if elected to represent District 5.

What three issues do you feel are most important to your constituents?

We need to 1) Reform policies and procedures, 2) Restore conservative, pro-family representation on the Board, and 3) Respect parents’ rights, children’s innocence, and teachers’ hard work.

If you are elected, what will be your top priorities once you take office?

1) Reform the grievance procedure to allow for more time to file a complaint. 10 days is way too short a time for people to learn, navigate, prepare, and file a complaint. 2) Review & reform board policy and operating procedures from the top down to increase transparency and respect for the public we serve. 3) Open the SHAC back up to the public & restore abstinence sex ed programs to MS & HS to conform to TX Ed Code 28.004e.

For incumbents: What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time in office? Is there any vote or decision you would change now looking back?

N/A

For non-incumbents: Would you do anything differently from the current representative holding the office you’re seeking?

Yes. A former board member & members of the community have stated that the current board operates in a shroud of secrecy and hard line conformity. I have seen this first hand. I would ensure we are complying with the Open Meetings Act, holding debate in the public, allow for trustees to respond to public comments at meetings, end forced unanimous voting by trustees, and look into possible conflicts of interest between current trustees and companies who bid at NEISD.

How do you assess your community college district or school district’s performance during the pandemic and the way it served students?

I’d give it a C or less. Cons: Parents were kept in the dark for much of the summer. The board announced its back to school plan only 3 days before the 1st day of school, creating questions and unneeded stress for many families. For many or most students, virtual learning is less beneficial than in person learning, yet in person instruction is still not happening, even when nearly 44% of district parents surveyed wanted that option. Spring and Summer food distribution did not occur at schools north of 1604. Pros: NEISD responded quickly in the spring and provided food to many students and families.

How will you approach budgeting for your district given the economic uncertainties? What are your budget priorities you would want to keep intact?

There have been no reports or evidence of a drop in property tax revenue, yet we have millions more (at least $40 million as far as I know) in local and federal aid and at least 2,000 fewer enrolled students to teach. We also have millions in the NEEF. With that combination of factors, we have a unique opportunity to lower school taxes for a change and provide relief to struggling families impacted by the economic downturn caused by the lockdown. I would prioritize all programming that meets the basic educational and legally required needs of our students. Focus on the basics you could say. Cut salaries of the superintendent and other high level administrators. E.g., Why do we pay our super significantly more than what a state or federal judge earns or 3/4 what the US President earns?

How do you plan to work to overcome academic gaps that may have developed or widened during the pandemic?

Involve and draw in all community stakeholders, particularly those who are passionate and innovative about this issue. The quickest solution is bring back in person learning. Many parents opted for charter schools because in person instruction was available there to them. Stop fighting charter school expansion and instead improve how traditional public schools perform to win those students back. Many parents also are discovering that their children learn better at home, so assist them with home school options and curriculum if it helps. Provide equity in funding and provision of resources among all 7 clusters, particularly those with most hardship.

San Antonio Report Staff

San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.