Q&A with Brooklyn Richardson
Today, we’re catching up with board member Brooklyn Richardson. The Arlington ISD parent is one of our new board members, having been elected last May.
Has being a school board member been everything you thought it would be?
No, it’s more. It is way more than I thought it would ever be. There is more of a time commitment. There is a bigger impact than I realized we could make. What’s more for me though is people care who I am and want me to come to their campuses and see their students because they’re so proud. That for me is huge, getting invited to come and see.
When you got elected, you said getting out to campuses was the part you’re looking forward to most. Has that been the best part?
Absolutely. Our district has so much talent in it. The variety of what our students participate in is outstanding. I knew I wanted to go on campuses to see those things. When they are excited to have me there, I understand that our presence means a lot to these students, and I want to make sure we’re always available to them.
How important for you was it to be on the board in the time of transition with the superintendent?
It was a different pressure. Coming in on the board, people that I trusted had made that decision. My job was to come on in and support it and I was prepared to completely do so. Instead, the role changed to where you were going to help select the candidate, and not only select, but to support them as well. I trusted [former board member] John Hibbs and Keisha [Mays] fully with what they had done.
To know you need to fill their shoes and do right by the district, that was huge. And now that we have Dr. [Matt] Smith big things are going to happen. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with our strategic plan that Dr. [Marcelo] Cavazos put in place.
The theme for the month is locally elected, community connected. How important is community support to you?
Community support is what our district is made up of. You can see our community support from the 2019 Bond and the way they voted and wanted to spend their taxpayer money for our district. You can see it in the new schools that were built. When you go visit Webb and Thornton, you can see that our community members came in and said, ‘This is what is important to us. This is what we value.’
Our community is made up of these qualities and principles and you can see it in the design. That community input is necessary. What I would love to see is more input in our board meetings. I would love to hear more community involvement. When they hear something going on, come and speak to us. Come to us one on one. Come to us as a group. We should always have a culture of hanging out with constituents. We want a culture of active participation. We don’t want to wait until there’s something wrong. We address it together as a group, and we make sure we’re always doing the best for our community.
Your favorite part of the job is…..?
So far it’s been graduations. That made me teary. I think I teared up at every single graduation. Watching the students walk across the stage, seeing their parents cheer them on and hearing their speeches. What impacted me most is every single valedictorian said grades were important but what really mattered most to them was the friendships and teachers over the years. Every single one said that!