Covering Katy endorses Susan Gesoff and Don Massey for the Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees. After careful consideration and observing their performance in Thursday’s Houston Association of Realtors candidate forum at Cane Island it is obvious that Gesoff and Massey are much more prepared to lead this district than their opponents. Much of their preparation has clearly come through good old-fashion studying, which we don’t believe the other candidates have done.
A scheduling conflict kept Scott Martin from participating in the forum, but we had already ruled him out as a viable candidate because of his ill-conceived proposal to spilt the board into single-member districts. Currently, every resident gets to vote for every member of the board. If elected and Martin’s single-member district plan became enacted, you would only get to vote for one candidate every three years. If a variation of his plan became enacted where at-large and single-member districts are instituted you’d still lose your right to vote for every member of the board. That means his plan would disenfranchise 100 percent of voters no matter how it’s enacted. Why would anyone want to give up the right to vote for every member of the board under the naïve assumption that a single member is going to do a better job representing them simply because they live just a few miles away? His plan would also create more division in the community, pitting the interests of one neighborhood against what is best for the district as a whole.
Being a trustee involves far more than attending two meetings a month and being a nice person who cares about children. It requires real work. To be an effective board member there are countless hours of preparation where intellectual discipline is a must. Thursday’s forum showed that Gesoff and Massey had done their homework, which is a clear indication of how they will behave if elected.
Covering Katy publisher Dennis Spellman was selected by the Houston Association of Realtors to be the sole moderator of Thursday’s forum. There were about 80 people, mostly realtors, in attendance. Gesoff and Massey performed extremely well while answering questions on numerous important issues. Subjects included the state’s funding formula for education, student accountability testing, construction bonds, Hurricane Harvey’s impact on property values, single-member districts, their assessment of superintendent Lance Hindt, and their philosophy on the relationship between the board and the superintendent.
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Don Massey is a well-known figure in Katy. For years he was the manager of the Katy Mills Mall. He still lives in Katy because he wants to live here. When it was time to move on in his career he chose to stay in Katy to raise his family. His background makes him well suited for a seat on the board, but his preparation for the job is what convinced us that he’s the right choice for voters. His skill set will help replace that of Bryan Michalsky, who is the Chief Financial Officer of a large corporation and departs the board after the election in May.
Susan Gesoff is not as well-known as Massey, but her strong performance in Thursday’s HAR community forum makes her the most exciting candidate in the race this year. Gesoff seems to have unlimited potential. She’s a former Katy ISD teacher and is an engineer. Those are two unique skill sets that the board does not have, and they would be extremely helpful over the next three years. While engineers often have a very black-and-white solutions worldview, Gesoff scored points for also having a down-to-earth, approachable personality indicative of a person who can see life’s gray areas. She was very well prepared for the debate with an instinct for the position born out of being a classroom teacher in the school district that she now hopes to serve as a trustee.
Covering Katy waited until after the HAR candidate’s forum to make its endorsement because we wanted to see how the candidates performed in a real-world environment. We believe that Susan Gesoff and Don Massey will be great additions to the Katy ISD Board of Trustees, and we urge our readers to support them at the polls.