A glance at Houston school board candidate Troy Castleman:
Background information: A 1984 graduate of the Houston High School; 45 years old; married to Elizabeth; two biological sons, A.J. and Alex, and six foster children; retired from the United States Air Force in 2004; currently works for the Department of the Army as an Intelligence Analyst at Fort Leonard Wood; bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management and one class away from masters degree in Intelligence Studies; just completed 16th year coaching youth basketball and about to begin 17 year coaching youth baseball; member of Houston Parks and Recreation board for almost a year.
How do you see the school district progressing forward in these tight budgetary times?
Even though the budgets are getting tighter in the state, the near future of the district looks great. With hard work, new ideas and a different perspective, the school district should be able to continue to offer required classes to meet current curriculum standards and the extracurricular activities currently offered. The school board, administrative staff and the teachers must work together to provide additional educational opportunities to the youth of the school district.
Explain how budget cuts could be made in the district without sacrificing the integrity of district curriculum.
Budget cuts should not be at the expense of the student’s education. We are having to do more with less. When making budget cuts, the district must keep two things in mind: effects on student programs and services, and effects on staff. We must work to reduce fixed costs; find areas that can be changed and rework areas to save money; re-write contracts to save money on operating costs; identify facility improvements that will save energy cost; use current facilities to their fullest capability; and find additional revenue streams (grants, business community, city government).
Describe what you consider to be the current strengths of the district.
The strength of the district is the people. This would not be the best district in the area if it were not for the students and the faculty we have in the Houston School District. The school district must work to provide a non-hostile learning environment for all students so they all can get an education that will benefit the future of our community.
What are the areas in the most need of improvement within our district? How do you propose to make the improvement(s)?
Knowledge management is the one area that needs the most improvement. Knowledge management includes collection and evaluation of important information, analysis of information, reporting of findings from analysis and the distribution of the information to all that have an interest in the information and findings. Everyone is asked to do more with less. Because of this, information has become a very important asset and can possibly be used to reduce operating cost. Hostile learning environment eliminates the accomplishments the teachers and administration are making.
How do I propose to make the improvement? Make collaboration a priority. Teachers, parents, community and administration must be encouraged to communicate with each other and use current technology to accomplish this priority. Also, share with others outside our school district. Use current technology to manage and share data – there are even free tools that can be used. The school district must embrace the current forms of communications – must continue to change with the times and be willing to integrate how students currently socialize. Teach all that the education system is a team. We all must work together to better each individual’s education.