Italy ISD School Board 2014 Candidate Questionnaire: Larry Creighton

Image: Larry Creighton with his wife Sophia and their children Alex and Warren

Larry Creighton with his wife Sophia and their children Alex and Warren

1) Tell a little bit about yourself (current work, education, experience, background).

I am currently employed by the Town of Highland Park as a Public Safety Officer, which involves certification as a police officer, firefighter and paramedic. In addition I am an Army Field Artillery Captain currently serving as a Company Commander in the 71st Theater Information Operations Group, Texas Army National Guard. My military history includes one deployment to Baghdad, Iraq, as a Platoon Leader.

I graduated from Red Oak High School in 1989 and then received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. In addition I have also earned a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Prior work experience includes Murphy Oil Corporation and Acxiom, both of which are located in Arkansas.

2) What ties do you have to the Italy school district (i.e. children enrolled, family employed, former student)?

My wife and I have two children. Warren Major is six and currently attends Stafford Elementary. He will soon be followed by my daughter Alex Grace who is four. We have three nephews who also attend school in Italy. My mother is a retired Italy teacher and my sister is currently employed as a teacher at Stafford.

3) Why are you seeking a seat on the school board?

Holding a seat on the Italy School Board will allow me, through mutual trust, to be part of a cohesive team that will ensure our school district continues the never ending process of improvement.

4) What qualifications or experience do you possess that voters should consider?

Voters should consider my ability to envision a desired future and lay out effective ways of bringing about that future. This ability has been earned from years of planning and decision making as a leader in both the civilian world and that of military combat.

5) What do you consider your primary responsibility as a school board member?

The primary responsibility of a school board member is to empower and hold accountable an agile and adaptive administration in order to ensure students graduate with an education that is relevant.

6) What do you consider the most important issue facing our school district today?

One of the most crucial issues facing students is the necessity to build a strong foundation of written and verbal communication skills at an early age.

7) What do you consider the most positive and negative aspect of being a member of the school board?

The most positive aspect of being part of the School Board is to see inspired students and to know that you played a role. The most negative aspect is the fact that at times it will be necessary to make decisions that might require the termination of staff.

8) What do you think should be the top priorities of the school board after this election?

To collectively define the Italy ISD mission and ensure that it is understood and embraced throughout all levels of administration, staff and students.

9) Are there any policy changes you would seek to implement at the school district? If yes, which ones and why?

At this time I do not have any policy changes in mind. My intention is to earn a seat on the board and focus my initial efforts on learning and understanding the many facets of school board operations.

10) What community services have you given the school district or community in the past?

My wife is very active in the PTO and I assist her in idea development and at times help out with the work. I designed and donated a Stafford Student Council banner for use in the Town Christmas Parade. I was an elementary science fair judge. My wife and I teach Sunday school and regularly attend school sporting events.

11) Explain your position on hiring non-certified teachers.

Teachers should be certified prior to being hired. However, in the event that a staffing crisis leads to a non-certified teacher being hired, he or she would need to be closely monitored and placed on a path to certification.

12) How would you maintain a healthy balance between education and athletics?

Educational and athletic activities are both important in that they each provide spectacular opportunities for student growth. Students who participate in athletics should be encouraged to reach their full potential while being held to the same academic standards as those students not participating.

13) Title IX laws pertain to all state funded districts. How do you feel the Italy ISD performs in this area?

Italy appears to be following Title IX laws. In the event that the laws were not being followed I believe that concerned parents would be making it known.

14) What ideas or changes would you like to see to continue to improve school discipline?

The classroom must be conducive to the learning process. Students who choose to disrupt this process must be removed. However at the same time the district is obligated to uncover the root of behavior issues in order to get troubled students back in the class and back on track for success. Giving up is not an option.

15) What ideas do you have to keep the budget trim?

Thoroughly evaluate existing systems and programs currently in use and ensure that potential is maximized. It is quite often the case that one can do far more with creative and critical thinking instead of simply throwing more money at a problem.

16) What positive changes within the infrastructure of our schools might be made to retain and/or attract quality teachers to educate our children?

Teachers need to be given ownership and know that they are appreciated and respected. Each member of our teaching staff brings a great deal of knowledge to the table and we as a district should be able to recognize that and use it to increase our students’ educational experience.

17) In what ways can the district’s school board be more open to listen to teachers and parents about their concerns?

There must by an atmosphere of openness for teachers and parents to come and speak without fear of repercussion. Safeguards and routes of communication should be in place to allow those who do not wish to speak out to still bring their thoughts to bear.

18) What incentives, if any, do you think should be implemented to motivate students to improve their performance in the classroom?

Few things motivate students more that getting a high grade in a tough class. When teachers are empowered and given the tools to educate, the motivation takes care of itself. All students have the ability for greatness. The magic is showing them.