HPISD Trustee Candidates Make Case On The Bubble Lounge Podcast

Highland Park ISD place 5 candidates Ellen Lee and Spencer Siino recently made their case for why each believes they’re the right choice to join the school board on the Bubble Lounge podcast.

Lee, 48, and Siino, 42, who are vying for the seat now held by Edward Herring, appeared on the show April 14. For more information about the candidates, read our bios of each candidate below.

(READ: Pick Two)

Lee’s children went through Highland Park and she’s involved with the Highland Park Education Foundation, served on the district’s boundary rezoning committee in 2019, the district’s parent education committee in 2019-2021, and on the high school literature review committees from 2016 until 2020.

“The fact that it’s multigenerational — just having grandparents who are involved and invested in the community is a big one, and then I also think … we have parents who very generously give their time and talents to the district whether it’s through PTAs or Dad’s Clubs, serving in classrooms,” Lee said about the district’s strengths. “The parent involvement in our district is really unparalleled.”

Siino, an insurance executive who is also a co-founder of Park Cities Parents Unite, a 501c4 organization established last fall that has called for the district to phase out mask wearing and other COVID-19 restrictions. In spring 2021, he filed a court petition asking for pre-suit depositions from staff and school board members about the mask policy before the HPISD announced masks would be optional for the 2021-2022 school year.

His children attended Highland Park schools until they withdrew from the district late last year, Siino said.

“I continue to believe (HPISD) is the best district in the country,” Siino said. “Now I separate the district from the administration, where I have seen some issues, but in the district, what we have are people with phenomenal values.”

He’s called for replacing Highland Park ISD superintendent Tom Trigg with “a classical educator.”

“I really haven’t taken the traditional path to the board of serving on the right committees precisely because our administration has so corrupted the committee process,” he alleged. 

Lee acknowledged that “the trust between our district and our families has eroded, and so it is important that we work to restore that trust..”

“I believe that that is best done through transparency. Parents absolutely have a right to know and provide feedback on what their children are learning in the classroom and so we need to improve that path of communication and the responsiveness of the district,” she said. “I will work collaboratively with the other trustees and our administration. In the end, this is like a house that you’ve got to remodel and you can’t take a wrecking ball to it.”            

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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