By George Slaughter
Greg Schulte, an engineer and project manager, is seeking his first term on the Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees. He is seeking position 5 on the board.
Schulte is facing incumbent Trustee Bill Lacy.
1. Why do you want this job?
My four kids are growing older and I am having more time available that was previously committed in support of their activities. I have always wanted to find a way to make a difference, and give back to the wonderful community of Katy. Being a member of the Katy ISD Board of Trustees is the opportunity and challenge that I have been looking for, and I am excited about the opportunity to serve!
2. Briefly discuss your professional background, and how that will help you if elected.
I am married with four kids and have lived in Katy for over 20 years. I have been active volunteer in all my children’s activities including soccer, basketball, theater and choir. I have an engineering degree and have been a project manager of large complex international and domestic oil and gas projects for over 30 years. I am currently in the ownership group of a mid-sized engineering firm with over 500 employees and eight offices in three countries. I have served on the board of directors of my company for the last five years. Being a business owner, board member, and project manager, I have a wide range of responsibilities/experience including developing corporate strategy, identification and closing of organizational deficiencies, contracting/procurement strategies, risk management, and employee hiring/retention/development. I feel these skills, along with my strong character, work ethic, ability to listen and work with others, and my sincere desire to give back to this community make me a great fit for this position.
3. If elected, what would your top three priorities for the district be, and why?
If elected, my guiding objective is to use my position and influence to make Katy ISD the best school district in the nation. I plan to accomplish this by listening to the parents, teachers and students on challenges they are currently facing in the district. Katy ISD has always been an exceptional district, and there is always room to do better. During my campaign, I have had countless interactions with concerned community members over issues from the handling of COVID-19 to racism to special education concerns to teacher appreciation and many more. People have valid concerns, and great ideas. I plan to listen to the community, understand the key topics, and work other board member and the superintendent to identify gaps and develop actions plans to correct them.
Katy ISD has over 84,000 students, 9,000 employees, and an annual operating budget exceeding $1 billion. Katy ISD is indeed big business and the board members have a large role in ensuring it is run with excellence. One of my other prime objectives will be to ensure the Katy ISD superintendent has a well thought out and documented strategic plan. I will ensure the administration deliver the strategic plan as well as the annual budget with excellence. The board must hold the administration accountable to address the issues facing the district, and the board members must be committed to working with the administration to find solutions.
4. Do you anticipate that the Katy Virtual Academy (KVA) will become a permanent option for students, even when the pandemic comes under control? What measures would you support to ensure all KISD students have access to needed technology for virtual learning?
I think COVID has redefined how we work and go to school for at least the mid-term future. I personally would love nothing more than for everyone to return back to what I now consider to be the “good old days.” I think the district needs to be prepared for KVA to be around in some form for the long term. I think the district must continuously evaluate and adjust how KVA is working by actively engaging parents, teachers, and students for feedback, and also by performing studies to determine effectiveness of remote learning at all age groups. KVA will need to continue to evolve as our understanding of what is working, and not working, becomes more clear.
5. How have you been able to campaign, given the pandemic restrictions (avoiding large gatherings, social distancing, and so forth)?
As Houston is no longer the COVID hot spot it was earlier in the year, things are returning to a bit more normal on the campaign trail. I am still leaning more heavily on social media than initially planned and I am finding it only slightly less efficient than face-to-face. I always prefer face-to-face when possible, and to the extent people are open to it, I am returning back to in-person meetings ensuring to respect social distancing guidelines.
6. Is there anything else about your candidacy that Katy News readers should know?
I am a qualified candidate with new ideas and a unique approach. I stand independently with the sole objective of collaborating with the community, other board members, and the Superintendent to make whatever decisions, and take whatever actions are required, to make Katy ISD the district everyone is talking about!