Editor’s note: Ahead of the May 7 election, Port Arthur Newsmedia posed identical questions to candidates running for trustee in the Nederland Independent School District. Candidates who gave longer answers were informed that their answers could be edited to save space. Early voting runs from April 25 to May 3.
Name: Diana Brown
Date of Birth: March 27, 1955
Job: retired educator
Why are you running? I love being with children and I think if they succeed, I will too.
What is your main concern? Involve parents. We have board meetings and it’s hard to get parents involved. At the time, people showed up. Now they won’t show up until their child receives an award. This will be my main focus this session.
What makes you the best choice? I’ve worked for the district for 25 years, visiting schools back and forth, and as a candidate, I know what to do. After retiring, I couldn’t stay home. After a year away from the neighborhood, some friends asked me to run and said, “You know our needs, why not do it? I want to be a voice, not only for the children, but also for the employees.
Name: Yadi Cardenas
Date of Birth: February 11, 1977
Job: Stay-at-home mom, community advocate
Why are you running? I am running because I have five children who attend or attend PAISD. Two of them are in college, one just graduated from Lamar State College in Port Arthur in December and will be graduating (Memorial High School) in May. And I still have two kids in the school district. I want to give back to the school district, to my community. I think it’s important that as parents we have a voice; and having kids in the school district gave me insight into what we need to do in our school district. Being a volunteer parent has given me many opportunities to see and work with our young children and I want to continue to do so at a higher level.
What is your main concern? My main concern is for our young people, because if we see the news over the past few months, we have seen an increase in crime, criminal activity involving our young people. They are or were students from Port Arthur, from our high schools, and it pains me as a parent to see that. These children are there and have destroyed their future, their life, and not only their own, but also the lives of others.
I have friends who have lost their children. I think if we work more with young people and give them more importance, we will get better results and more success stories than those bad stories we see in the news.
I think it has to take a community effort… talking and listening to the superintendent and addressing some issues saying it starts at home.
What makes you the best choice? I think what makes me the best candidate is that I’m a parent and I think it’s important that parents have a voice, that they have a seat at the table. We bring a different perspective. We don’t have to say “I did my research” or “I investigated to find out” because we hear from the teachers. We know what is happening.
name: Kimberly Wycoff Johnson
Date of Birth: June 13, 1985
Job: Process Operator at Valero
What are you running? I am running because there is a change that needs to be made in the district right now.
There is an ever-changing cycle of youth. It is always necessary to bring a new perception to the school board to continue moving towards positive change.
What is your main concern? According to surveys of friends, professors and staff, one of the main reasons is the lack of communication between professors and the administration. Their main words, per se, were lack of communication; and we absolutely must restore this where people feel wanted, needed and heard by the district and the administration. There is also a lack of parental involvement. You tell them and they have no idea what the program is.
What makes you the best choice? I feel like the best candidate because I’ve been a resident here all my life. I am a product of PAISD and have a very good relationship with the faculty, administration and students. And I’m active in student programs. I am a very creative person with ideas to move the district forward in a positive direction.
Name: Jacori Narcissus
Date of Birth: June 17, 1988
Job: Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Counselor
Why are you running? First of all, it was the most fun and exciting experience for me. It was time for me to continue and improve my communication. All of my experiences with the district, as a product of the district, substitute in the district, and my current work in the educational department, allow me to be an advocate for the children and staff of the Port Arthur Independent School District. I also embrace this journey because it is time to break down barriers and build the future of Port Arthur ISD. My goal is to ensure that my influence on the school board is effective and efficient throughout the process.
What is your main concern? My main concern is education; ensuring that we provide the most effective and efficient education to all students, where upon graduation they are able to thrive in all endeavors.
What makes you the best choice? What makes me the best choice is that I am a visionary. And also, we have to be very goal-oriented. I am also a leader. You must have effective leadership and I am committed. I am approachable and approachable, and want to be able to collaborate with other colleagues by being team players, and collaborate effectively and prove what is best for Port Arthur ISD.
Name: Nina Stely
Date of Birth: February 23, 1960
Job: Substitute Teacher and Associate Minister for the Missionary Baptist Church of Antioch
Why are you running? I show up on a platform to make sure our teachers are treated with respect for what they do – they are professionals. The pandemic has been going on for two years, and they’ve gone beyond that. And I really think they deserve a raise. Second, we need to bridge the gap between home and the classroom. Our parents need to take a more active role and be involved in their school and their child. Every child can learn, and we can use the resources we have and ensure we have the right staff so our children can learn and succeed.
What is your main concern? First (that) would be the teachers, if they are respected and have a voice. (Teachers) being part of policy making in the district and having a say in it. We need to have more teachers involved in the decisions of our district.
What makes you the best choice? I am a voice. I feel like because of my years of experience in the district, outside of the district, I’ve been through some things. A second thing… is that I have an academic background — a doctorate in theology.
AFTER: See the Port Arthur mayoral race election guide
AFTER: View the Nederland ISD School Board Election Guide