Pass the Baton

With 2,791 District 9 students enrolled in a campus with an “Improvement Required” label and two qualified candidates stepping up to run, Dallas Kids First is endorsing a vote for change in leadership. For nearly a decade, District 9 in Dallas ISD has had the same school board member in office. In 2012, Dallas Kids First endorsed this member, but by 2015 could no longer stand behind a voting pattern that raised more questions than it did solutions.

With a narrow victory in 2015, the incumbent was able to stay on the school board for another three years. Of 3,922 voters, 52% supported the incumbent; and only 7% of eligible, registered voters participated in this decision.

A combined 2,106 voters chose to re-elect the same leadership for a total of 29 schools - representing 23,696 students and even more households.

While other members on the board have led policy efforts to make sure Dallas ISD students across all campuses have their needs met (breakfast for students, restorative discipline policy, etc.), the current trustee has missed opportunities to address the concerns of a diverse District 9 community, and an equally diverse Dallas ISD consituent-base.

Passing the baton to a solutions-focused representative on the school board would be a positive change for Dallas ISD and District 9. In the 2016-2017 school year, Dallas Kids First tracked high-impact decisions voted on by the school board. These decisions translated into board members voting on items that could either help or hinder students, teachers, and effective school board governance.

High-Impact Votes by School Board:

  • Turnaround plans to support schools with  “Improvement Required” label

  • Expanding student opportunity for PreK

  • Advocating for funding to meet District’s student outcome goals

  • Asking voters to support a $1.6 billion bond for improved facilities

On average, the Dallas ISD school board supported these topics with 90% approval. In District 9, these high-impact votes were supported 68% of the time.


Local elections matter and a development of civic engagement across the nation has inspired the local Dallas ISD school board race for District 9.

Campaign season typically starts closer to March, but 2018 brought an early start for a community ready to cast a vote. By November, two promising candidates publicly shared their interest in running for the same school board seat as challengers to the sitting incumbent. Two experienced individuals running at the same time for the same seat further highlight an inspired base of new leaders looking to get involved - not just at the voting poll, but on the ballot.

Given the qualifications of both candidates, Dallas Kids First considered four options throughout the five-step endorsement process.

  • endorse Edward Turner

  • endorse Justin Henry

  • do not make an endorsement

  • make an endorsement for change

Considering the interview panel, community input through DKF’s endorsement survey , and the DKF advisory team, it became apparent to all: By endorsing Edward Turner, DKF would be denying the fact that Justin Henry is deeply invested in supporting student outcomes. By endorsing Justin Henry, DKF would be ignoring Edward Turner’s commitment to the community in support of schools.

The DKF team works year-round alongside schools, educators, community partners, and elected officials to advocate for student outcomes. By not making an endorsement at all, all efforts would have been in vain and not aligned to mission - raise awareness, organize voters.

Henry and Turner are each rising stars for the local landscape and, in making a dual endorsement, Dallas Kids First is positioned to support each of their campaign efforts - all while shedding light on missed opportunities for District 9 in the last nine years.

With an evolving education landscape, it is time for the leadership in District 9 to evolve too.

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Find out if you or your friends can vote for this election here!

Find out if you are registered to vote here!

Click here to read about Edward Turner’s “Focus for District 9.”

Click here to read Justin Henry’s “Issues” page.

Click here for some critical ‘NO’ votes by current District 9 incumbent.