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 4

Incumbent?

No.

Link to campaign website:

https://www.facebook.com/NEISD.Hoelscher

Age:

44

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

I graduated MacArthur HS in 1994 and have earned two Masters Degrees and a JD.

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?

BA in Political Science in 1998 from St. Mary’s University, two MAs from St. Mary’s (International Relations, Communications Studies), and a JD from Baylor University School of Law (2006). I am licensed to practice law in Texas and in federal court as of 2007. I maintain membership in both the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas and the College of the State Bar of Texas (requiring annual training well beyond the mandatory requirements for lawyers in Texas).

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

Lawyer, Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC, Managing Attorney

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.

407th District Court Judge (2012), County Court at Law 13 Judge, Bexar County (2014)

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

My experience as a child welfare attorney working with families of abused or neglected children, business owner managing a law firm, and award-winning educator are unique in this race. So is my history in working with child protection and advocacy organizations such as CASA, Voices SA, and Bexar County Children’s Court. Serving on the NEISD Board is an opportunity for me to use my experience to help children before their families are in crisis and to help them find success, not just solace.

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

Giving parents, teachers, and students a greater voice in NEISD policy. Improving communication and transparency from NEISD. Creating more customized educational options to compete with charter schools, especially for special need and gifted children.

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

Giving parents, teachers, and students a greater voice in NEISD policy. Improving communication and transparency from NEISD. Creating more customized educational options to compete with charter schools, especially for special need and gifted children.

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?

Of course. First, I would actively question the information presented by the administration and engage in due diligence as an actual fiduciary, instead of only voting with the rest of the board to support the administration (500+ unanimous votes in a row by the current board). Second, I would ask the majority of meetings be regularly scheduled meetings, not emergency meetings with limited notice to parents, teachers, and staff. Third, I would support efforts to educate NEISD children well above the state average, instead of hovering just above it in most areas, by looking for ways to give teachers the freedom to teach children the way they need to be taught. The administration needs to adapt to constituents instead of demanding everyone else adapt to its vision.

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

NEISD has done a lot of great things, but the community has a right to expect real leadership from one of the largest school districts in the country and a Superintendent who is better compensated than many corporate CEOs. NEISD should be complying with Bexar Metro’s COVID reporting requirements, communicating sooner to parents, faculty, and staff, and providing greater learning support like other, less well funded districts. I think we have room for improvement but I appreciate that the circumstances are difficult.

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

NEISD has established a policy of regular capital improvements without acknowledging that enrollment is declining because of demographic changes and competition from charter schools. Instead of spending on infrastructure, we need to focus spending on customized academic programs to improve education and compete with charters, which will help stem the loss of students and state funds. Also, the current administration has emphasized marketing, but needs to refocus on informing parents and students about programs and inviting their participation. That will improve constituent satisfaction more than social media campaigns telling everyone how great our district is.

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

Focusing more on students individually is the answer to this problem, as it is for most areas where NEISD needs to improve. We need to increase the number of actual Licensed Professional Counselors on campuses and begin working with teachers to create more customized instruction. Our students need to be treated as individuals, assessed individually, and supported individually. Some charters are doing this by redirecting resources from administration into student centered faculty and staff. NEISD’s educational model has fallen behind the times and become top heavy. Our resources need to be directed back to the front lines and we need to give our people on the front lines more authority to adapt and do their jobs. We have the resources, the talent, and the motivation on the ground to take care of each other, if the administration has the courage to trust our teachers and parents with that responsibility and listen to them.

San Antonio Report Staff

San Antonio Report Staff

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