UPDATED May 21 with recount results confirming challenger Marvin Lowe beat incumbent Natalie Hebert.
Newly elected school board trustee Stephanie Elad is ready to get to work for Frisco families and shake up the status quo that she and others believe has led to declining standards within the district.
Elad was sworn in Wednesday by Frisco Independent School District following the official vote canvass.
The expedited swearing-in means Elad can fully participate in the district’s upcoming budget workshop on June 1.
She can also officially start working on issues highlighted during her grassroots campaign that are negatively impacting Frisco ISD’s 66,000 students, as well as their parents and teachers.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” she told Texas Scorecard Tuesday night.
Elad is one of dozens of conservative school board challengers across Texas who rocked the local education establishment with big wins in the May 7 elections.
The Frisco mom and outspoken education advocate easily defeated two other candidates for an open seat, winning on a platform of respecting parents, advocating for teachers, focusing on academics over ideology, and putting students first.
Marvin Lowe, who ran on a slate with Elad, is expected to be sworn in soon, after a recount Saturday requested by incumbent trustee Natalie Hebert confirmed Lowe beat Hebert.
Lowe finished 53 votes ahead of Hebert on Election Day. The final canvassed results gave Lowe a 52-vote lead, and Saturday’s recount left Lowe ahead by 51 votes. Incumbent Gopal Ponangi won the third contested race on the May 7 ballot.
Elad and Lowe were both backed by Families 4 Frisco, a pro-education political action committee started by parents concerned about administrative changes within the district that they saw as eroding academic excellence—the very thing that drew families like Elad’s to Frisco.
The district’s latest academic performance report shows 68 percent of Frisco ISD students meet or exceed grade level across all subjects, well above the statewide average of 41 percent.
Yet Elad noted during her campaign that district practices like grade inflation, waterfall grading, standards-based learning, and reducing advanced classes are short-changing students academically and need to be eliminated.
Community members also told Elad they object to racial and gender ideologies injected into their students’ curriculum, sexually explicit books in school libraries (which parents attribute in part to an activist librarian at Reedy High School), and critical race theory-inspired policies that Lowe said “short-circuit excellence in our district.”
Lack of discipline is another big concern. An increasing number of fights and other bad behavior in school is endangering students and teachers.
Teacher retention is another top priority for Elad. She said more than 600 teachers left the district last year.
“I initially decided to run for the board to serve as a voice for parents,” she said. “I quickly realized that our teachers need a voice as well.”
Elad believes that giving teachers and parents a voice and returning to traditional schooling values are keys to providing the educational opportunities that Frisco ISD students deserve.
She’s ready to work with the board, district administrators, and the Frisco community to accomplish those goals.
“This movement is just the beginning,” she said.
There will be a ceremonial swearing in on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. during Frisco ISD’s regular board meeting.