Attending DKF’s community endorsement interview felt like such a critical opportunity for me as a passionate advocate for community and education. It was an eye-opening experience as my first time meeting candidates, even though I attended DISD for 10 years as a student and later worked for 5 years as an educator in two elementary schools.
I was joined by a diverse group of parents, fellow educators, non-profit representatives, business owners, and students, too, all just as fiercely passionate about holding our district accountable for improving opportunity for all students across the district.
Being front row, listening to and asking questions of candidates made me feel the weight of electing a well-qualified representative for trustee in a newfound, guttural part of my conscious. It was the feeling of my intuitive alarms going off, creating emotions of empowerment and frustration at the same time.
I was genuinely grateful and enthused to see individuals outside of my own tight-knit progressive community seeking the same change and betterment for our kids. Yet, after several questions around my district's candidates and their backgrounds, I realized there must be obstacles keeping other experienced and qualified individuals from pursuing election as well — an issue I know is more complex than this reflection allows.
After participating in the experience, I explored my own questions around metrics for school and district performance, policy-making and access to our elected representatives. Having seen my own family and friends become lost in a system and lose out on educational opportunities, I have deep personal connections to seeing the educational landscape in my hometown improve.
I look forward to using my experience to share my perspectives while canvassing, at discussions with colleagues and organizational partners, and helping all people across the city realize not only do students and families have a lot riding on these elections, but we all have skin in the game, and our votes are our play calls.
Election Day: May 4th
About Nancy Tien
Nancy Tien is in the CAMP Fellowship. She is an educator with five years of experience as a teacher leader in Dallas and Mesquite schools. After college, Tien, a Dallas ISD student, returned to the district as a 2013 Teach for America corps member. Throughout her years as a teacher, Tien volunteered on several campaigns to support candidates who put education at the forefront. She also worked to promote policy changes at the local school level to impact Dallas students. In the past year, Tien served as a Racial Justice Fellow with Teach for America, designing and facilitating group learning around identity work for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian (AANHPI/MENASA) corps members. Tien continues her work for educational equity through continuing to volunteer and organize for campaigns and is currently planning to attend law school to further her efforts.