On Wednesday, I caught up briefly with State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) at an early voting location in Sunnyside. He was shaking hands and talking to people about what he believes is an urgent need for new leadership in the Houston Independent School District.
Senator Ellis is supporting his former aide, Adrian Collins who is challenging school board president Larry Marshall for the district 9 seat.
Marshall has served on the board for twelve years, but critics say he hasn’t done enough to improve the schools or the academic performance of children in his district.
Collins is a husband and a parent who says he is concerned about the lack of leadership in HISD. He also recently received the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle, which had this to say about him:
For HISD Trustee in District IX, we believe that Adrian Collins is the best choice. District IX is home to several of HISD’s most troubled schools. Incumbent Larry Marshall has served for more than a decade, but we believe that, for the sake of the district’s students, it’s time for change.
After more than 11 years as an aide in the Texas Legislature — including stints assisting Rep. Scott Hochberg and Sen. Rodney Ellis — Collins most recently served as a member of President Barack Obama’s advance team. “This district’s infrastructure is crumbling,” he says. “I traveled with the president in the Third World. And some of the schools I saw there were better than what we have here behind barbed-wire fences. That has to change.”
Senator Ellis, who says he sends his three children to public schools, says he wants to see to see a change. He says he’s also disappointed that after passage of the $800-Million bond proposal in 2007, more hasn’t been done to improve schools in the district.