NISD’s Young elected to Texas SBOE

NISD’s Young elected to Texas SBOE
Posted on 11/11/2020
NISD’s Young elected to Texas SBOE

Dr. Audrey Young has been an educator for 27 years, has worked at all levels within public education and is currently Director of Student Support Services of Nacogdoches ISD.

And in January, she will be sworn in as the District 8 member of the State Board of Education, a group that, for the most part, sets curriculum standards in Texas, reviews and adopts instructional materials and establishes graduation requirements for the state’s 5 million children attending public schools. The SBOE also oversees the Texas Permanent School Fund, an endowment established years ago to benefit public education in the state.

On Election Day, Young easily secured the post, beating out Libertarian Audra Rose Berry by capturing 570,858 votes, or about 74 percent of the turnout. The victory will allow Young to replace Barbara Cargill, who’s served four terms and 16 years on the SBOE and chose not to seek re-election.

“We’re very proud of Dr. Young and her victory in the election,” said NISD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo. “It means something, too, that one of our educators will play a vital role in helping craft some of the key decisions made in Texas.”

Young ran on the Republican ticket and said she went through an exhaustive process being vetted by a number of local and state party officials connected to the district. That meant some late night phone calls with state elected officials who wanted to know more about Young than that she was simply a public educator.

“Just because I’m an educator with 27 years experience… that wasn’t enough,” said Young.

The starting line for getting on the ballot began a few years earlier, Young said. While completing her Doctor of Education degree at Stephen F. Austin State University, Young landed an internship in the offices of Trent Ashby, spending the  semester working for the Lufkin state representative who fills Texas House District 57.

“My interest was in public education and politics,” she said.

The internship took place in 2016 while Ashby was seeking a third term in the Texas House, and Lufkin chiropractor Keven Ellis was challenging for the District 9 seat on the SBOE against Mary Lou Bruner. In that race, Bruner nearly took the GOP primary outright in March, but Ellis squeaked into a run-off by the narrowest of margins and eventually won the Republican nomination later on in May.

Seeing that race up-close got Young’s attention and when Ashby – as part of the internship program – asked what Young wanted to do next, the answer was easy: “Get on the State Board of Education.”

“It’s the pinnacle of volunteering where a school board is concerned,” she said.

Young, who served on the Apple Springs ISD Board of Trustees until October, made an initial connection with Cargill. A couple years later, when word came that Cargill wasn’t seeking re-election, Young was ready to get on the ballot. “I told her that I, of course, would have never run against her,” Young said.

That started the screening process as well as a lot of night-time and weekend travel for Young. That part wasn’t exactly new… her kids had been involved in all manner of school activities, she said, including FFA, 4-H, UIL academic and athletics. “However, it expanded,” Young said.

District 8 covers a lot of territory, both in geography and socioeconomics, ranging from Houston County in rural East Texas all the way to metro areas of Houston, reaching as far west as the Katy area along Interstate-10 and Baytown to the east. In fact, District 8 stretches nearly to League City on the east side of I-45 between Houston and Galveston.

While the geographic size of SBOE districts vary, the population represented doesn’t. The current set up was based on each district having roughly 1.7 million population, established during redistricting following the 2010 Census.

“I’m thrilled for Dr. Young,” said Dr. Daya Hill, NISD’s Chief Academic Officer. “She’s worked hard for this and is positioned to provide for state leaders the much-needed perspective of an active educator.”

The state panel really isn’t that much different than being on a local school board, Young says, it’s all on a grander scale. “I look forward to serving all the children of Texas and being able to apply my knowledge of an active public educator and as a former local trustee,” she said.

In January, Young will be sworn into office by Trinity County Judge Doug Page, and a ceremonial swearing-in will take place in Austin later on in the month.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.