Overiew of Eanes ISD Board of Trustees 2022 upcoming election

With the Eanes ISD Board of Trustees election coming up May 7, yard signs have been displayed in support of several candidates throughout the Eanes community. Though yard signs may seem trivial, the school board is of the utmost importance to the integrity of the school district. The seven members of the board work closely with each other and the superintendent to set goals for the district each year. After setting these goals, they agree on a tax rate and budget to accomplish these tasks. 

The board members are responsible for reviewing and approving district staffing guidelines, compensation plans and salary scales. They also hold meetings in the community to give parents and staff members the opportunity to voice concerns or questions. 

Each year different places or seats for members of the board are on the ballot. Each board place is assigned a number simply to keep track of which place is up for election each year. This year community members are running for Places 6 and 7. If elected, they are required to serve for one term that lasts three years. 

“We work closely with the superintendent as a ‘Team of Eight,’” incumbent Place 7 candidate Ellen Balthazar said. “The superintendent is our one employee. All other staff and teachers report through him.”

Students may be wondering what these candidates stand for, as whoever is elected will have a great effect on the future of Eanes. The Board must be particularly strong this year because they are facilitating the transition of the new superintendent, Dr. Jeff Arnet, in June. 

Up for re-election this year in Place 7, Balthazar expressed why she thinks she is the best candidate for this position. 

“I am not running for re-election because this job has been easy; I am running because it has been hard,” Balthazar said. “We have come through a tumultuous couple of years, but EISD continues to thrive. I understand fully how important education is to this community. My stability, experience, integrity and confidence in our staff will be critical as we reconnect post-COVID and transition to a new superintendent.”

If elected this year, Balthazar will be serving in her eighth term and 21 year on the Board. She believes that her years of experience and thorough understanding of the school district show that she is the best person for the job.

Jay Lamy is running in his first year as a Place 7 candidate. He believes that the district must improve financially in order to best support the staff and students. In addition, he believes he will be the best person to accomplish this due to his experience working with organizations such as Any Baby Can, Goodwill Industries and St. Gabriel’s Catholic School among others.  

“I think what makes me the most qualified and dedicated candidate is that I fill a gap that currently exists on the school board by bringing entrepreneurship, finance, high level strategy and development experience,” Lamy said. “As Eanes is going to be facing a number of financial issues, I have solutions which involve maximizing the use of our current facilities.”

Heather Sheffield is running to be re-elected for a second term in Place 6. She believes that her previous experience on the board, involvement in the district and work as a first grade teacher in Eanes qualify her as a candidate. 

“I have been extremely involved at both the campus and district level as well as at the state Capitol and federal level,” Sheffield said. “I attended almost all of the EISD Board Study Sessions and Board Meetings along with the 2018-2019 Bond Advisory Committee meetings for three years before being elected to the Board. I have gone to great lengths to learn about and understand the complicated school finance system in Texas and have not only done my homework but have served on multiple district committees.”

Lamy believes Eanes must improve to move forward and grow as a district.  

“I feel the district has some healing to do,” Lamy said. “I am someone who has made a career out of bringing people together through my work. This is the first step and once we are able to accomplish this step by bringing parents and parents, parents and teachers, and parents and administrators together with love and transparency, we can then approach the challenges we see in the system. This can be done by creating financial freedom, lifting up our faculty and discovering, nurturing and maximizing our kids’ talents and passions.”

All candidates have been promoting their campaign through yard signs and word-of-mouth advertising. Several have been holding meet and greets with coffee to talk with parents. Some plan on distributing T-shirts and car stickers to promote their campaign. 

Voters must now decide what is more important to them: new board members with inventive ideas or board members who already have years of experience.