Published: 02 June 2016 11:40 AM
Updated: 02 June 2016 12:52 PM
Both candidates in the runoff for the school board seat formerly held by Mike Morath are capable, hard-working and passionate about this race.
But a key difference separates Dustin Marshall from Mita Havlick: Student outcome, regardless of ZIP code, trumps everything.
With the Dallas ISD at a crossroads on assuring academic excellence for all its schoolchildren, Marshall’s philosophy – and the action he will take to support it – makes him the superior choice.
For more than 15 years, Marshall, 38, has steered meaningful and transformative public education initiatives. Getting the chance to attend a great school, despite coming from modest circumstances, sparked that commitment.
Marshall would bring useful knowledge and solutions from his experience, from helping open literacy centers in 18 DISD schools to providing pro bono consulting for school creation and expansion in Boston and Chicago.
His business background also would come in handy; Marshall most recently managed a turnaround of a large logistics operation. The school board needs a range of approaches and expertise – as well as opinions – and Morath’s departure has left trustees without an accounting wonk’s perspective. Marshall, like Morath, is steadfast about data-based analysis.
Marshall’s two oldest children attend his alma mater, the private Greenhill School. That choice doesn’t lessen our belief that he will devote himself to making Dallas schools a worthy competitor to schools like Greenhill.
While Marshall is outspoken when it comes to support for district efforts to propel academics, such as the Teacher Excellence Initiative, Havlick, 48, opposes the evaluation system and expresses concerns about other reforms. She also seems too narrowly focused on her neighborhood’s Woodrow Wilson High School feeder pattern.
For the sake of all Dallas schoolchildren – and, indeed, the future of North Texas – Marshall gets our support.