Tracy Scott Miller said the current school board doesn’t need a dramatic makeover as it is highly effective the way it is.
Miller, who currently serves as vice president on Lewisville ISD’s Board of Trustees, is running for re-election to Place 7 on the school board. He intends to continue to show leadership, drive transparency and be fiscally responsible, he said.
“We are getting more and more students coming to us, English Language Learners and special ed students, than ever before, and we’re not getting more money, so we have to do more with less,” Miller, 52, said. “We’re not going to compromise those services.”
It is important that whoever joins the board after the election, comes on prepared to be on a team and to work as a partner, Miller said.
“Not doing so will not benefit the taxpayers and parents and families of LISD,” he said. “We are in the constitutional responsibility of doing what’s right for the kids and helping them graduate… and work as a board together to achieve that result.”
An executive at Sutherland Global Services, Miller said because of his work-related travel, he understands the types of kids emerging in education that LISD students will be competing with for scholarships and jobs in the current marketplace.
How the company might run five call centers for AT&T across different locales is consistent with how one might run five schools in a feeder pattern, Miller said.
“You want your principal to understand his or her community, and, in the same token, you want some site-based leadership to do some things that are adjustments that better fit the personality of the community that you’re serving,” he said. “It’s the same basic model.”
There are 6,500 employees in LISD, and the district budget is similar to the budget he works with at Sutherland, he said. Miller also served as a Double Oak town council member for 11 years, working closely with public funds.
“[The budget is] not something that’s new to me,” Miller said. “That combination really gives me some keen insights on current best practices in the business world as well as my historical public service.”
Miller ran for Place 7 on the board in 2014, challenging former trustee and board President Carol Kyer. He won in an upset race against the 15-year board member.
“I served the voters well. I run on transparency,” Miller said. “I know that one of my opponents doesn’t think we’re transparent. That person never contacted me and yet I can tell you we’re more transparent than we’ve ever been.”
Opponent Shari Chambers told The Lewisville Texan Journal that she sees a lack of transparency on the LISD school board. For her profile, she said several agenda items consistently avoid public discussion at the meetings.
“They say, ‘Are there any questions?’ and nobody ever has any questions,” she said. “Everything they say is, ‘We want to be completely transparent.’ I don’t see anything transparent.”
Miller said he plans to focus his message on his transparency, his leadership and his collaboration with peers to get things done.
“There are opportunities for the board and the district to work on,” Miller said. “Tracy Miller as a candidate has been very transparent.”
Miller said he spends about 20 hours a week serving the school board.
“I think that investment is worth something to the people who put me in this position,” he said.
Miller said board members investigate a topic by asking staff questions and doing their homework before going into board meetings. Miller said he explains his decisions in a vote, as he did in his vote for the bond election, and would like to see other members of the board do the same.
“Hedrick was a very difficult decision. A lot of people provided input,” Miller said concerning the board’s decision to go forth with the bond that does not include rebuilding the elementary school. “Those kids at Hedrick Elementary will go to safe schools.”
Miller said the Facilities Advisory Committee told the board it was not the best option to rebuild the elementary school. Hedrick Middle School will be able to have track fields, basketball courts and outdoor facilities like they never had before because of the decision, Miller said.
The services Hedrick Elementary provided will follow the kids to whichever school they end up at, Miller said. He addressed the parents’ concern with the elementary students riding busses.
“I had to ride a bus all the way to my senior year and there are wealthy schools where students are riding busses for an hour every day,” Miller said. “It is not uncommon and in fact is part of our system.”
Miller said the board requires a diverse set of thinking. He said that there is a good set of ladies on the board that care about LISD kids and that having a man on the board is helpful like it is to have men in Parent Teacher Associations. He said he was a kid who grew up in the country and wants to show young men that you don’t have to go to big state schools or get 4.0 GPAs to be prosperous.
“I always tell kids, ‘Hey, where you go to school right away doesn’t matter,’” he said. “You can still be successful.”
Miller dismisses the notion that extracurriculars aren’t important to invest in. He said he is driven by getting students excited about learning and keeping them from becoming discouraged and frustrated. At times that’s through clubs and after-school programs.
Extracurriculars also help students avoid getting into trouble, he said, because it is more likely for students to make bad decisions between 3 and 5 p.m., when parents are not home.
“Sometimes football and band and theater or track or basketball… are things that keep [students] in school,” Miller said. “They keep us from having more teenage, student pregnancies.”
Miller is an Eagle Scout and works with Boy Scouts of America. He currently lives in Highland Village and serves in the city’s rotary club. He is also a liaison for Marcus High School’s Interact Club, a high school version of rotary club.
Miller is an active member at The Village Church in Flower Mound. He teaches kindergartners on Sunday mornings and leads a small church group in Highland Village.
Deacon at The Village Church Jon Pendergrass said Miller is prudent and has an incredible heart for the students at LISD.
“As a church body, we want to be involved in the community and involved with helping the school district as much as we can, whether that’s behind the scenes or if that’s providing a meal or if that’s helping a family in need,” Pendergrass said. “Tracy’s helping spearhead that.”
Pendergrass said Miller has introduced him to the right people within the district to get the church’s initiatives approved and running. Pendergrass described Miller as an activator and an outside-the-box thinker.
“The guy bends over backward to serve with a full heart,” Pendergrass said. “When we sit down to think of ways to engage our community, Tracy brings new ideas, and I think that’s important when you talk about someone who is running for a school board position.
Miller initially ran for school board in 2013 during a special election for Place 3. He wanted to affect change in awareness in education, which was initiated when his daughter’s then-boyfriend died of a heroin overdose.
Miller lived in Northwestern Illinois before moving to North Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and started his career at IBM.
Miller is married and has a 24-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son, both of whom attended Flower Mound Elementary, Downing Middle School and Marcus High School. Miller is also a grandfather. He said the plan is for his granddaughter to attend Lewisville High School when she’s old enough.
“I want to continue to work hard and learn for the people that put me here, but not even that, even the people who didn’t vote or that may not agree with me,” Miller said. “Once I’m in office, I represent them, so I listen to a lot of folks that may or may not have voted for me.”
Early voting begins April 24. Election day is May 6.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify how extracurricular activities help students. The original story incorrectly referred to the FAC as the Faculty Advisory Committee. It has since been changed to the correct name, Facilities Advisory Committee.