Election 2018

Five potentials are vying for the vacant Place 5 seat on the Sanger school board.

Board President Ken Scribner is running unopposed for Place 4.

Like many school districts in the area, Sanger ISD is witnessing rapid growth. It recently secured a $750,000 grant put toward prekindergarten education, as well as a $300,000 grant that will benefit the THRIVE program: Together Harnessing our Resources to give Individuals Voice and Empowerment.

It would appear the district is not in need of additional grant writers, but board members could use another head to figure out how best to allocate funds.

In addition to that, board members are currently reviewing six applicants for the superintendent position over the district, following the dismissal of Sandra McCoy-Jackson.

According to a district timeline, a finalist for the job is set to be named four days after the elections, and a vote to hire will be held May 30.

The election is May 4. Early voting begins Monday and ends April 30.

Following an extensive background check done by the Denton Record-Chronicle, each candidate was asked three questions. Responses have been minimally edited for clarity and space.

Mitch Hammonds



DRC_Mitch Hammonds

Mitch Hammonds

Age: 53

Born in: Pilot Point

Employment: Compliance safety and protection manager, Walmart, 2001-2019

Education: Attended Grayson College, 1984

Online: https://www.facebook.com/groups/586644321854248/

What sort of person do you hope to see hired for superintendent?

I’d like to see an experience superintendent who’s budget-minded and student-minded. What I’m looking for is a small-town experienced superintendent who’s there for all the kids, not just a select few, and who’s budget-minded for the growth that this town’s got coming.

Do you think prekindergarten should continue to be a focus for the district? Why or why not?

What’s focused on pre-K, it’s every campus, every daycare, and we’re having the same curriculum so everybody has the same start. And eventually, the gist of it was from my understanding at the board meeting when they discussed that, was to take the pre-K and grow it up. So you have the same curriculum all the way through and everybody learning the same way.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the coming years for Sanger ISD?

The focus I see now is gearing the kids up to be successful in higher education, but you know the majority are going to go straight into the workforce. So [I want] more vocational programs to benefit a higher population of students. The majority of them will not go to college, if they do, it will be for one semester or a year, and then they’re back in the workforce.

I would like to see more help in the classroom ... if you could get someone in there to help [teachers], they will pay more attention to the kids. It’s easier on the teacher.

Brandon Knight



DRC_Brandon Knight

Brandon Knight

Age: 34

Born in: Denton

Employment: Teacher, Sanger ISD, 2016-18; staff accountant, Trinity Broadcasting Network, 2018-present

Education: Bachelor’s in accounting, Texas Christian University, 2007

Online: None

What sort of person do you hope to see hired for superintendent?

The person who I am hoping to have hired for the district is someone who can provide growth opportunities and advance the Sanger school district.

From a professional standpoint, the characteristics I’d like to see them have are integrity, honesty, fairness and a variety of knowledge and experience inside the classroom and outside the classroom. And that they are a change agent, so they understand the pacing of the community and how to kind of get everybody on the same page because not everybody is right on the same page right now.

Do you think prekindergarten should continue to be a focus for the district? Why or why not?

I think pre-K should continue to be a part of a focus for the district because it brings in a lot of new members for the community and can help bring some more sustainable growth to not only the educational community, but also the Sanger community as a whole.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the coming years for Sanger ISD?

So, one of the changes I would like to see in the coming years is to develop a more forward-thinking culture to provide opportunities for growth to our students. We have some amazing resources, as well as teachers and students who are within our district.

And I know that we’ve been losing students to other districts, and I want to be able to make sure that we take the steps needed to not only maintain the current student body and the current community that is here but also be able to bring in that new growth, such as the new parents and the new families that the pre-K grant will bring in.

I also want to make sure the teachers have the resources they need all across the district and not just focused on one specific age range above the others.

Briony Houchin



DRC_Briony Houchin

Briony Houchin

Age: 37

Born in: Odessa

Employment: Teacher, Denton ISD, 2008-present

Education: Bachelor of Science, Texas Woman’s University, 2012

Online: https://www.facebook.com/Briony-Houchin-for-Place-5-Sanger-School-Board-413743152714956/

What sort of person do you hope to see hired for superintendent?

I think, really honestly, it has to be someone who’s going to put the stakeholders’ interests at the forefront. They have to be someone who has good moral character who’s going to look out for the interests of not only teachers but the students as well.

Do you think prekindergarten should continue to be a focus for the district? Why or why not?

I do think that pre-K needs to be a focus. A lot of parents are not equipped or [don’t] have the resources in order to prepare them for school, and the earlier that they can start, be prepared, get transitioned into kindergarten is going to be important.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the coming years for Sanger ISD?

I think the most important one would be the tools for those teachers in order to be able to teach the students. I think the curriculum is currently out of date. I think they need to have resources that are going to help make the students successful.

The next change would probably be the school buildings. Unfortunately, we have a lot of outdated buildings that are just kind of hodgepodge kind of buildings. We’ve got several different campuses that are just working in isolation. They need to work better together.

Guy Saenz



DRC_Guy Saenz

Guy Saenz

Age: 41

Born in: Weslaco

Employment: Quality assurance, Peterbilt, 2003-2005; quality assurance, Mayday Manufacturing, 2005-2007; director of quality, Hi-Tech Metal Finishing, 2007-2012; head of supply chain and quality, Pattonair, 2017-2018; head of operations and quality, Pattonair, 2018-present

Education: Attended North Central Texas College, 2003-2007; Bachelor of Applied Science in business management, University of Phoenix, 2012

Online: https://bit.ly/ 2vdhoaC

What sort of person do you hope to see hired for superintendent?

I would like to see a person who’s vetted to be fit for the purposes of Sanger. So, we’ve hired a few superintendents who haven’t worked out for us, and it’s really around what their vision is and looking at what demonstrated experience they have to be able contribute to what Sanger’s core values are.

Do you think prekindergarten should continue to be a focus for the district? Why or why not?

Absolutely, I think pre-K is a necessity.

It really brings our youths experience and gets them a good footing into the school system at an early age and gets them exposed to what a classroom setting is and gets them exposed to some of the fundamentals; some of the basics they’ll need to enter kindergarten and not be socially inattentive — to really help on-board them into the school experience and process.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the coming years for Sanger ISD?

For the Sanger ISD, I like to be brilliant at the basics, and that’s really having a rigorous selection process where we’re bringing in the best, on-boarding them to where they can be successful and then challenging our superintendents, challenging our principals to have regular one-on-ones with our teachers, our teaching staff, administrators and administrative staff to understand what’s going well, what’s not going so well and what we can do to change it. And take those considerations and bring them up into the school board to see what opportunities we have to bridge, if any.

And by setting that expectation, I think Sanger will be in a class all its own because not only are we tapping into the resources that we have at the ground level but we’re utilizing those resources to their full potential and extracting the experiences and the lessons learned so we can apply them to be that much better than we’ve been in the past.

Lisa Cody



DRC_Lisa Cody

Lisa Cody

Age: 58

Born: Dallas

Employment: Administrative assistant to the superintendent, Sanger ISD, 2002-2018; president and co-owner, LSC Precision Inc., 2018-present

Education: Attended North Lake College, 1983-84

Online: None

What sort of person do you hope to see hired for superintendent?

Well I worked for three superintendents while I was at Sanger ISD, so I think I know what it takes, and one of the most important things to me is someone who can communicate.

And certainly someone who is very knowledgeable of school finances. Those are the two most important things that I think we can find in a superintendent.

Do you think prekindergarten should continue to be a focus for the district? Why or why not?

Well I believe all grades are important. Our goal is to educate all students, not just pre-K.

Pre-K is important, but I believe all students in all grades are just as important.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the coming years for Sanger ISD?

I would like to see a bond passed, one the community can get behind and support. Sanger is growing and we have to meet the needs of the incoming students and the students that we have.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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