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Rockwall County Uniform Election 2021 Candidate Q&A Series: Sherry Packer

Sherry Packer

ROCKWALL, TX – April 14, 2021 — As the Rockwall County Uniform Election 2021 approaches, Blue Ribbon News invited all candidates running for Rockwall ISD Board of Trustees to participate in our Candidate Q&A Series. We provided a questionnaire for each candidate on the ballot to provide some insight on themselves and their platform. The Early Voting period for the Rockwall County Uniform Election 2021 is April 17-29th. Election Day is Saturday, May 1st.

Meet Sherry Packer, who is running for Place 1 on the Rockwall ISD school board in the upcoming election. Read all about Packer in our questionnaire below.



First and Last Name:  Sherry Packer

 

City of Residence:  McLendon-Chisholm

 

Immediate Family Members:
I have been married for 38 years to Brett Packer, and we have two daughters, Alicia Rojas and Laura Bauer. Both of our girls have married wonderful men and blessed us with 6 grandchildren.

 

Education:
My education includes a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Education, and a Doctor of Education in Supervision, Curriculum, and Instruction

 

Occupation: I am a retired educator.

 

Political Experience:  I do not have any political experience.

 

Current and Past Public Service, Activism and Volunteerism:
As a former parent of Rockwall ISD students, I was the President of PTA as well as PTO and served as a room mom for many years. I also helped to form the Academic Booster Club for the district. I am currently the president of Rockwall’s chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, which is a leadership society of women educators working to impact education worldwide. I serve our community through my Sunday School class by supporting our police officers and fire fighters, helping to supply Helping Hands with needed items, and supporting multiple families in need of financial assistance throughout the year and during holidays. Through our Sunday School class, I’ve also helped donate items to Rockwall ISD schools and encouraged teachers by providing lunches, treats, and cards of encouragement.



Why are you running?
I am running for the Board of Trustees because I can bring a broad perspective from my experiences as an educator. I believe we need a variety of skill sets on the board, and my educational experiences can contribute to that skill set.

 

What are some specific goals you would like to accomplish if elected?
As a district, we need to continue making progress in the areas of instruction and student learning. Our students should be ready for post high school experiences, whether that means college or career opportunities. As a school board, we need to ensure that our teachers have the resources they need to prepare our students. The resources are necessary for daily classroom instruction, intervention, and enrichment. In addition, exploring the option for implementing a dual language program in our district is of interest so perhaps it would be advantageous to look at other dual language programs in similar districts. Finally, the district should ensure that all students are provided an equitable opportunity to learn.

 

What is your stance on how the school board should handle the growth of the district and potential overcrowding of schools?
I believe the school board should continue to survey our tax payers, parents, teachers, and administrators regarding facilities and restructuring of grade levels within the elementary schools. One option currently being discussed is building two ninth grade centers that can eventually be converted into high schools and building another middle school south of town that would be a second feeder school for Heath High School. This would solve the issue of students from Utley Middle School being split between the two high schools. If this middle school is built, it would allow sixth grade to be moved to middle school, and it would relieve some of the overcrowding in our middle schools as well as in some of the elementary schools.

 

How would you assess the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? What changes (if any) to the approach to the pandemic would you make?
The pandemic hit so quickly and was an extremely difficult situation for all districts including parents, students, teachers, administrators, and school boards. I believe our school board acted in the best interest of our district families as they saw it at the time. It would be easy for me to judge the decisions but so unfair as I do not know all the details and do not have all the information as the board had at that time.



In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing our schools today? How would you help solve that issue if elected?
There are two main issues our district currently faces. One is the emotions this pandemic will bring to students when they all return to school in our normal environment. There are some students who have been out of school for a year or a year-and-a-half, and walking back into the school building will certainly bring emotions that the staff should be ready to deal with. Some may have lost family members or family friends to COVID-19. Our counselors, teachers, and administrators need special training to know how to deal with this in the classroom as well as in individual settings. Secondly, we will face academic gaps for some students as the result of the pandemic. The gaps will require more than just basic tutoring. Teachers will be teaching in classrooms with students who have academic gaps and with others who do not. Students will need to be assisted in narrowing the gaps while also continuing on with new content. I believe the solution to this is for the educators to assess the needs immediately, communicate those needs to the parents, and for the campus leadership to communicate to the district and the board their needs for addressing the gaps in their classrooms.

 

What do you like to do for fun? Any hobbies?
Most of my extra time is spent playing with grandchildren and just being “Lolli.” I also enjoy working in my yard and planting flowers.

 

What’s one thing others may be surprised to learn about you?
One thing people may be surprised to learn is that until a few years ago, I enjoyed riding my Honda Shadow street bike on the back country roads of Rockwall. I even rode it to school as a principal on a couple of occasions to motivate students in the area of writing.

 

Anything else you’d like to share?
I am excited to know that school will start back to normal in the fall.  I do believe we will have parents who still do not send their children due to health concerns, and we need to make sure virtual learning is available to those students. My doctoral research addressed the use of blended learning (hybrid learning). There are many different models for blended learning, and I would seek to find the best model that would work for students in our district.


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