EducationLocal NewsNorth Texas ISD Chooses Newcomer as Nominee for Texas Association of School Boards Director

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD shook things up by sending a new, conservative-leaning trustee as its nominee for Texas Association of School Boards director.
July 11, 2022
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Over the last couple election cycles, conservative candidates have been elected and gained majorities on school boards around the state.

In Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD), four of seven trustees are now conservative-leaning.

As the makeup of the board changes, so do decisions about representation of GCISD at the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

TASB provides training to school board members as they serve their districts. It also lobbies officials and decision-makers about policies related to public schools.

On May 23, GCISD voted newly-elected trustee Tammy Nakamura as its nominee for the TASB board of directors in place of Becky St. John by a vote of 4-3.

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St. John has served on the GCISD board since 2009 and just completed a three-year term on the TASB board of directors.

GCISD superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan recommended that St. John be nominated to continue her service on the TASB Board of Directors, but four trustees disagreed.

Shannon Braun, who was elected in 2021, said she appreciated the time St. John has invested in her TASB service and the interest she has shown, but believes it is good to have “more diversified representation.”

St. John claimed that she has built relationships with state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), State Board of Education members, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that are important to GCISD.

“I think my connections are very valuable and would not necessarily exist if I am not reappointed,” she commented. She believes she can “provide taxpayers with the best representation in Austin” for issues like tax relief and teacher support.

In reply, Nakamura pointed out that the TASB should be looking out for “every one of the school districts” whether St. John is on the board or not.

Coley Canter, a trustee elected in 2020, insisted that St. John has “earned the spot.”

Braun supported Nakamura’s nomination because she is “likable, determined to get things done, and efficient,” telling The Texan, “She is more than qualified.”

Nakamura served on the Colleyville city council for six years before being elected to the GCISD board of trustees.

She asked for St. John’s support and help in learning the details of the role.

The vote for TASB nominee was revisited on June 20 due to a procedural error at the May meeting. The vote remained 4-3 in favor of Nakamura, who objected to the item being placed on the agenda “because some were not happy with the outcome.”

In May, TASB announced its intention to leave the National School Boards Association (NSBA) because of the NSBA’s letter asking the Biden administration to use counterterrorism tools against parents who have been vocal at school board meetings regarding mask mandates and critical race theory.

Braun expressed concerns about the TASB training content. She said at the summer 2021 TASB conference that she was shocked by some of the content about critical race theory and microaggressions.

“They expect us to enforce these in the district,” Braun recounted.

This summer’s conference has a presentation titled, “What’s the Big Deal About Race and Culture?” The description reads, “Culturally responsive school climates create atmospheres in which individuality is valued, positive identity development affirmed, and humans, regardless of race, income, gender, or language experience school and life success.”

One of the conference keynote speakers is Adolph Brown, described as “a much sought-after and highly effective unconscious bias, equity, diversity, and inclusion keynote speaker [who] skillfully addresses the impact of stereotypes.”

The TASB board of directors election will be held in September.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.