Election 2016

Three Serious Candidates Compete for HISD Seat

The next HISD trustee will represent a diverse district, from River Oaks to Harwin.

Three candidates debated in the race for HISD District 7: John Luman, Anne Sung and Victoria Bryant.
Three candidates debated in the race for HISD District 7: John Luman, Anne Sung and Victoria Bryant, from left to right.

 

This election, voters will pick a new member for the Houston school board. Longtime trustee Harvin Moore has decided to leave his seat early, representing District VII.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Three serious candidates are competing to replace him, and they recently introduced themselves at a debate at a community center in Gulfton.

Anne Sung went first. She graduated from the Houston Independent School District, returned as a teacher and now helps lead a local education nonprofit that promotes college access, Project GRAD.

“And the reason why I’m running for HISD trustee is because I believe every student in HISD — every single 200,000-plus students — deserves a high quality education that allows them to pursue their dreams,” she said.

It’s the second time Sung has run for the seat.

Next, first-time candidate Victoria Bryant introduced herself. She’s also an HISD graduate and runs her own healthcare business.

“The decisions I make on the school board will not only affect you, as students, as parents, but they will also affect my children. And that’s why I’m running,” she told the crowd of students.

Last was John Luman. He grew up in a working class family and now works as an attorney and lobbyist.

“I am running for this because I think my background in negotiations and understanding and being a fast learner — I’m a trial lawyer. And so trial lawyers, you learn quick, you learn what the issues are and you present them to people and you negotiate and then you resolve the issues that you have at hand,” he said.

Earlier this year, Luman led a fight to stop an affordable housing complex near the Galleria. He thought it cost too much and would crowd his children’s school.

Other issues came up at the debate organized by Liberty High School’s speech and debate team. They asked questions that ranged from teacher pay, school finance and the potential takeover of HISD schools by the state.

As the candidates answered, some differences emerged. Luman supports traditional districts working with charter schools. Sung wants to focus on strategic partnerships with businesses and community groups. And Bryant wants to crack down on wasteful spending.

They later explained what they would do first, if elected:

  • “I would like to see where all the money is going, because I feel that it’s not going to our schools and our students and the programs that are needed,” Bryant said.
  • “First is to have everybody on the board working together, to focus on the kids, to make sure that we’re all moving in harmony,” Luman said.
  • “Really focus on creating strong, credible plans for schools that are struggling to help them improve,” Sung said.

Whoever is elected as the next HISD trustee will represent a diverse district, from River Oaks to Harwin. It includes Lamar High School and Wisdom High School, formerly known as Lee.

There is a fourth candidate on the ballot, Danielle Paulus, who has been a no-show at debates and other stops on the campaign trail.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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