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Election 2015

Incumbents Struggle In HISD School Board Races

Jolanda Jones, a former Houston city council member, won the open race for District IV, handily avoiding a run-off.

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Jolanda Jones watched election results with her mom, teacher union president Zeph Capo and other supporters at a wine bar near the Museum District.
Jolanda Jones watched election results with her mom, teacher union president Zeph Capo and other supporters at a wine bar near the Museum District.

Incumbents struggled in the races for the Houston school board, with one defeated and two others facing run-offs to keep their seats.

Current school board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones will face Larry Williams in District II while trustee Manny Rodriguez will have to fend off Jose Leal in District III.

Already voters have already put two new faces on the HISD board.

The open race for District IV guaranteed at least one new trustee for HISD. Jolanda Jones, an attorney and former track star, won that seat handily. She celebrated at a wine bar near the Museum District with volunteers, friends and her mom.

“It was clearly money over the people. That was the message that the other people did and they said I was a fighter,” Jones said. “Well, I don't know if they're paying attention, but people want a fighter. They want somebody who's not going to sit there and let them close our damn schools.”

Jones, a former Houston city council member, waged a tough campaign against three other candidates and avoided a run-off.

She'll be joined on the HISD board with another familiar face.

Diana Davila is returning to the District VIII seat on the city's east side, which she held for several years until she resigned abruptly in 2010.

In an ironic twist, Davila defeated the trustee who had replaced her, Juliet Stipeche.

At a election watch party near downtown, Stipeche told supporters why she cried a little when the results came in.

“I cry for the kids who live in poverty. I cry for the undocumented. I cry for those who do not have a voice. I cry for the teachers who have been shouting and crying for the past five years for justice and integrity in what they are doing,” Stipeche said.

She said that in her five years on the HISD board, she’s fought against cuts to the state education budget, dealt with Superintendent Terry Grier’s administration and tried to clean up corruption and mismanagement by building new systems.

Stipeche said that she may be gone from the HISD board after January, but her footprint will remain for a very long time.

Juliet Stipeche told supporters that her footprint on HISD will remain.
Juliet Stipeche told supporters that her footprint on HISD will remain.

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