Who’s your Texas State Board of Education member?
Sadly, it’s a question too many Texans wouldn’t be able to answer. But the board is an incredibly important body. Not only does it decide what gets taught to more than 5 million students in the state’s public school classrooms, but the board also has over the years had an impact on what happens in other states, stretching the board’s influence beyond Texas’ borders. The board, unfortunately, has also been the source of some embarrassment.
So, Texas voters, don’t take the SBOE races for granted. This year, you will have seven of the 15 SBOE districts on ballots across the state. To check which SBOE district you live in, use this tool. And don’t forget: early voting is Feb. 20-March 2, and primary election day is on March 6.
Here are the candidates.
This district covers large portions of the Rio Grande Valley and stretches up the Gulf Coast to include Corpus Christi.
On the Democratic side, incumbent Ruben Cortez, a businessman who was first elected in 2014, faces Michelle Arevalo Davila, a classroom teacher.
For the Republicans, it will be former high school teacher Charles “Tad” Hasse facing off against Eric Garza, a charter school board member and political consultant.
There are no Republicans running in this district that runs from San Antonio down to the Rio Grande Valley. So the winner of the Democratic primary will be the winner in November. Facing off will be incumbent Marisa Perez-Diaz, an administrator in the Judson Independent School District who was first elected in 2012. Her opponent is author and historian Dan Arellano.
This Houston-based district also has no Republican candidates. The Democratic side has incumbent Lawrence Allen, a community liaison at Houston Independent School District first elected to the board in 2004. His opponent is pastor and educator Steven A. Chambers.
This is one of three open seats on the board. This year’s race also has no contested primaries. On the Democratic side, the nomination will go to Elizabeth “Eliz” Markowitz, a teacher and tutor for the Princeton Review from Katy. Her opponent in November will be Republican Matt Robinson, a urologist and Friendswood Independent School District board member.
District 7 lies east of Houston and stretches to the Louisiana border. The seat is currently held by retiring SBOE member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, perhaps one of the most divisive board members in recent memory.
This Fort Worth-area seat is currently held by longtime board member Pat Hardy, R-Weatherford. Her two Republican primary opponents are Feyi Obamehinti, a consultant and former teacher, and Cheryl Surber.
For the Democrats, it will be neuropsychologist Carla Morton against Celeste Light. Light doesn’t appear to have an active campaign.
District 12 is another DFW-area seat with a vacancy. The current member, Republican Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, has decided to retire from the board.
On the Democratic side, while three candidates filed to run, only consultant and university professor Suzanne Smith appears to have an active campaign.
The lone candidate on the Republican side is business owner Pam Little.
District 13 is the other SBOE seat that is open and has no contested primaries. The district spans much of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is currently represented by Erika Beltran, a Democrat who declined to run for reelection after serving one term.
The Democratic candidate is educator Aicha Davis. The Republican is teacher and school administrator A. Denise Russell.