Published: 04 April 2017
Dallas schools trustee Dustin Marshall has been on the board less than a year, but he required little ramp-up time before he became a strong voice for reform-minded measures.
His thoughtful leadership earns him our recommendation in District 2, representing parts of North and East Dallas, over challengers Lori Kirkpatrick, a physician’s assistant, and teacher Richard Young.
Marshall, 39, hit the ground running.
He’s been a vocal supporter of the Teacher Excellence Initiative, the district’s evaluation system, as an effective way to measure effective teachers and hold them accountable for improving student outcomes.
Last year, he pushed for a smart tax ratification election that would have let voters decide to spend more tax dollars in order to quickly scale up successful initiatives — such as expanding pre-K and early college campuses — that hold the most promise for closing the achievement gaps.
He put his business background — he’s the owner of a freight and logistics company — to good use, raising concerns about student safety and accountability in the district’s contract with Dallas County Schools.
Kirkpatrick, 51, is a strong candidate, but she doesn’t make a sufficient case for why Marshall should be replaced. She’s well-versed in the district’s major initiatives, such as early-childhood education and the push for choice schools.
But she is on the opposite side of this newspaper in her criticism of TEI and the state’s new A-F school ranking system.
Her main knock on Marshall, that he voted against a resolution that included a rebuke of vouchers, doesn’t hold water. Marshall has steered transformative initiatives as a public education advocate and volunteer for more than a decade.
He said he voted “no” because the resolution also disavowed the A-F system before sufficient time to see if it holds schools more accountable.
Young, 37, a charter school teacher, is a distant third. He has a litigious history with school districts after he’s been fired, including a current suit against DISD.
Marshall is the best choice.