Q&A with Trustee Kecia Mays
January is School Board Recognition Month, and this year’s theme is Forward, Together. The Arlington ISD has been moving forward thanks to our board. We appreciate our school board members, so we’re catching up with them this month to learn about their lives and why they serve.
We’re finishing the month of profiles with Kecia Mays, who has been on the board since 2014, has three sons who graduated from the district and served as the president from 2019 to 2022.
Can you believe it’s been nine years on the board? Has time gone by fast?
It really does. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done, so it really has.
What’s the biggest difference in not being the president?
The biggest difference is that the titles matter, but at the end of the day, the same amount of effort should be put in. It’s just now you’re not signing a bunch of contracts and being the spokesperson and just being able to lead a lot of different personalities.
What was it like being the school board president during COVID?
It was a little difficult, and that’s just because the nature of the community, the nature of what was going on all over, not just in Arlington. It was a little more difficult, absolutely. In the same way the community had different ideas and thoughts, we’re representative of our community, so it was the same way within our board. You want to make sure you’re doing the best thing for our students, and it was really hard to say what was right or wrong. It just had to be the best at whatever that moment was. That wasn’t easy.
When COVID starts, school boards were put in a spotlight like you probably never thought possible. Could you have ever imagined that?
I never was anticipating such a high amount of dissension amongst the education community as a whole. I would never have imagined that. You always anticipate some changes, maybe some transitions, but not sending everyone home or closing down schools.
That’s a lot of pressure?
Yes. It’s not just about how do we keep the learning going. How do we not burn out our teachers so badly in transitioning to not being in a classroom now to being online? How are our students going to eat? When they come to school, those are their main meals for the day. It was a lot. Wi-Fi connections. What will we do for our students who don’t have Wi-Fi? That was an awareness for many people in the community not knowing that we have a population in areas where Wi-Fi wasn’t just something that’s always available.
Are there a couple of things that stand out to you over the last nine years that you’re most proud of?
Absolutely proud of being able to join with the community and pass the bonds and to be able to try and make things equitable throughout the district as far as access to the services that we are so proud to be able to start offering. And to ensure that any student within Arlington ISD would have access to that through transportation. I’m very proud of being able to provide these services and open them up to everyone.
You’ve seen the physical changes of the district through the bonds. It’s got to be rewarding to drive through Arlington and see those changes, right?
That’s what is so exciting to drive by and see what used to be and what now is. Being in PTA on the council, I had an opportunity to visit so many schools. Each school knows its needs, and some things stand out more than others. To see that equitable piece with some of our older schools and schools that I call patchwork – things that they deal with and still manage to do a great job teaching and have the kids and community proud of their school. Now, to see that this is ours and be more proud of walking into schools and seeing the changes makes a big difference.