Advocate - Parent - Leader
My name is Anna Smith and I am running to be your Leander ISD (LISD) School Board Trustee for Place 4.
I am a 4th generation Mexican-American and grew up in Rockport, Texas. My family moved to Leander, Texas in 2015 because of the reputation that the district has for providing an excellent education to all students. We have 4 children who attend school in LISD.
I know that the power of public education is only as strong as our commitment to equity and excellence. I am committed to the vision in which from preschool to high school graduation, every child in Leander ISD receives the best opportunities and education that we, as a community, can provide regardless of their circumstances or ability.
Over the last 3 years, I have been active in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), worked hard to implement various committees at the local level, and collaborated with our district to ensure we are educating the whole child at every level. My family's struggles navigating the special education world inspired me to help foster a community where parents, staff, and school administrators can come together to build an equitable education for all students. For that reason, I have also worked to develop and implement a group specifically for parents of students with disabilities. This group is a collaborative effort where parents, students, and teachers from LISD come together to build a strong and transparent path of access to our special education system that benefits every child.
In addition to being an advocate for special education, as your Trustee I will advocate for solutions that prioritize the mental health of our students and support our school counselors. This issue is deeply personal for me as the guidance of my own middle school counselor, Mrs. Roaten, helped me to become the first in my family to graduate from high school and the first to go to college. We all need a Mrs. Roaten. However, counselors are often charged with supporting well over the recommended maximum of 250 students. Additionally, they are also tasked with prepping for multiple standardized tests throughout the year, organizing GT/Pace, screeners, and scheduling. These responsibilities take up a large portion of time that could be devoted to preventative lessons, and education. Given the strain many of our families have dealt with in light of COVID-19, our counselors are more critical than ever and must be prioritized as such.
I love our LISD community and am proud to call Leander my home. As your next Trustee, I will advocate for all students, teachers and parents. I appreciate your support in this election and your vote for me on November 3rd, 2020.
Serving my community isn't just part of a campaign to me- it is my life. Since moving to Leander ISD I have been active in the following organizations:
Board of Director for Williamson County Children's Advocacy Center
Fundraiser Chair for Hopes, Heroes and Handbags 2019-2021
Leander High School PTSA
VP of Membership 2019-2020
Leander Educational Excellence (LEEF) Ambassador
Wiley Middle School
Leander High School Equity Task Force Charter
Community Member 2020-2021
Leander ISD Council of PTAs
Communications Chair 2019-2020
Inclusion Chair 2018-2019
2018 Candiate Forum Committee
Leander ISD Special Education Parent Working Group
Community Member 2020-2021
Wiley Middle School PTA
You can read about my PTA work at the following links:
- Anna Smith Volunteer of the Week from LISD, October 2019: "Anna has a “get it done” attitude that drives her to help everyone or anyone that needs it. Her impact has extended well beyond fundraising and school dances. As an advocate for all children, she was instrumental in the creation of an inclusion committee at Wiley to ensure all children feel welcome at school." https://news.leanderisd.org/volunteer-of-the-week-oct-2-2019/
- Texas PTA, April 2019. "PTA President Anna Smith from Wiley Middle School in Leander ISD spoke earlier today during a press conference at the Capitol on special education funding. Anna urged lawmakers to immediately address the underfunding of special education in Texas and to provide an adequate education for all students." https://www.facebook.com/TexasPTA/posts/pta-president-anna-smith-from-wiley-middle-school-in-leander-isd-spoke-earlier-t/2630624487011046/
- Texas PTA, June 2018. "While Wiley PTA President Anna Smith attended the 85th Legislative Session to advocate for her own children with special needs, she saw an essential ally in Texas PTA for the fight for inclusion. She realized that PTA is more than fundraising and school dances, it could help ensure that all children feel included in school." https://issuu.com/txpta/docs/voice_summer18/10
I am a tireless and outspoken advocate for excellence, and inclusion. You can read some of my commentary below...
"Our story and struggles of obtaining services for special education inspired me to speak out in an attempt to work with our district in hopes that another family will not endure the same struggles that our family went through.” https://www.hillcountrynews.com/stories/leander-isd-announces-special-education-program-improvements,82313?
"Leander School District Approves Changes to GPA Class Rank as Part of Coronavirus Response". Austin American Statesman, March 2020.
"Smith said she is frustrated with the Texas Education Agency on the lack of guidance it has provided for Texas school districts when it comes to this semester's grades. "I think it's unacceptable that they left it to all the districts," Smith said."
"Trailblazing Parents Address Meaningful Inclusion at LISD Board Meeting". Hill Country News, October 2019.
"Smith said the inclusion culture committee would continue to seek ways to improve practices and opportunities for students with disabilities and develop a mission statement that celebrates diversity and builds empathy and understanding. “The goal is to make sure that all students feel encouraged to participate in academics, social and extracurricular activities and feel included and valued.""
"Parents Calling on Lawmaker to Deal with 223 Mill Special Education Shortfall". CBS Austin, April 2019.
"I feel this is the time for parents like me to be loud, and make sure our legislators understand this is an important issue, that this (Special Education Funding shortfall) affects every single kid in Texas."
I am so incredibly grateful for the support of my neighbors and community leaders.
I am honored to have endorsements from:
Mitch Fuller, Former Cedar Park Mayor Pro Tem
"As a parent of two graduates of Cedar Park High School and after years of involvement in our community, I know the value a great school district like Leander ISD has for my kids and our community which continues to grow rapidly. I also know we need committed servant leaders with a heart for service and commitment to a high quality education for all children. Anna Smith is that leader we need now for the Leander ISD Board of Trustees. I'm pleased to endorse her and vote for her."
Heather Jefts for Cedar Park City Council Place 6
"Two words: Passionate Advocate. Those are the most accurate words to describe Anna Smith. She is fierce and formidable in her dedication to children and especially to children with special needs. She has a deep understanding and empathy for parents navigating the challenges of advocating for their own kids. She fights for inclusion, compassion, and equal opportunity for children across the district. Anna has put in the work for years to become the most knowledgeable, most prepared, and most ardent advocate for high-quality education for all students.
Anna dedicates so much of her time and energy to PTA, special education advocacy, and directly to the classrooms.
When she was named Volunteer of the Week, LISD wrote, ‘Some say Anna Smith, PTA Board Member, lives at Wiley Middle School. Although she doesn't have a student at Wiley this year, she continues to volunteer and offer a lending hand for all activities. Anna has a “get it done” attitude that drives her to help everyone or anyone that needs it. Her impact has extended well beyond fundraising and school dances. As an advocate for all children, she was instrumental in the creation of an inclusion committee at Wiley to ensure all children feel welcome at school.’
I can attest that this is just how she operates. If there’s a job that needs doing, Anna will get it done. Do not be lulled by her bubbly, infectious positivity. While she operates with optimism and hopefulness, she won’t back down, not even from the Texas Senate, until every student receives the services and education they need and deserve.
I am honored to call her friend, and even more honored to endorse her for Leander ISD School Board for Place 4.”
Andrew Maglich for LISD Board of Trustees
"Anna Smith will fight hard for underrepresented students in LISD, because that's what she has been doing her entire career. She's focused her campaign on lifting the voices of Black and Brown students. I'm proud to endorse her."
Williamson County Association of Realtors
"I am tremendously honored to have received the endorsement of the Williamson County Association of Realtors. Leander ISD is a great place to live and Realtors play an invaluable role in advocating for and supporting our local schools. I am committed to working with our Association to advocate for equitable solutions to lower the property taxes for LISD Residents, while equitably funding education and services for Leander ISD."