As early voting is underway and Election Day is fast approaching, another school district superintendent has allegedly sent an email to staff telling them to “vote accordingly” in the primary election. 

Leaked emails uncovered by Current Revolt show Castleberry Independent School District Superintendent Renee Smith-Faulkner instructing the district’s “administrative leadership team” to vote according to a voter guide from the Castleberry ISD Retired Teachers Association. 

“Please take the information in her email and vote accordingly,” reads the email from Smith-Faulkner. “The main responsibility we have is to have a voice in the future of public education.” 

“Vote in the primaries. Have a voice!” the email concluded. 

The email forwarded from the president of the Castleberry ISD Retired Teachers Association, Linda Jo Galvan, shares that she is angry at Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton trying to get out the vote for primary challengers running against the “legislators who voted for us against vouchers and those who voted to impeach Paxton.” 

“All I know to do is share our desire to get these brave legislators elected again and all of Paxton and Abbott’s efforts get thwarted,” reads the email from Galvan. “They need to see that they have made us common people angry and we can see through their evil ways.” 

Galvan then tells the recipients of the email—Smith-Faulkner and Kelli Kelsoe, the director of Instructional Technology at Castleberry ISD—to forward the list of candidates to “retirees, teachers or essential workers who are for us.”

The email not only covered the legislative seats up for a vote but also for the State Board of Education primary, where Galvan advises people to vote for incumbent Pat Hardy over her challenger Brandon Hall. 

“First of all, remember to vote for Pat Hardy for the State Board of Education. She has done a stellar job. She is against vouchers. She has a challenger who likes vouchers, Brandon [sic] Hill. We need to make sure she is reelected and Brandon is sent away.” 

The voter guide listed in the email divides the candidates by “legislators for us” and “Abbott/Paxton Challenger.”

“Let’s show up to the polls and vote those for us in… and those against us out,” concludes the email. 

Christine Welborn, executive director of election security organization Advancing Integrity told Texas Scorecard that this behavior from school districts should not be tolerated. 

“This is happening all over Texas. School resources cannot be used for electioneering,” said Welborn. “Naming ‘brave legislators’ and telling people to ‘vote accordingly’ should not be tolerated.”

Last week, Texas Scorecard reported on Denison ISD’s Superintendent David Kirkbride sending out an email to district employees encouraging them to vote for candidates who “support public education” while decrying the governor’s push for school choice for Texas students.  

Additionally, Paxton announced that he is filing civil actions against Denton ISD for allowing two administrators to send explicit political messages to staff in what Paxton describes as “illegal” election activity.

Government school officials accused of illegal electioneering can be reported to the Texas Ethics Commission, which is authorized to impose fines for election code violations, and to the Texas Education Agency, which can revoke educators’ certifications. 

Texas Scorecard reached out to Castleberry ISD for comment but did not receive a response by publication.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.