Ten compete for spot on Leander district school board


Ten candidates are vying for a place on the Leander school board.

Each of the four at-large board seats up for election will be contested on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Those elected will serve three-year terms for no pay and will oversee the district’s continued fast growth, as another 1,100 new students are projected to enroll each year.

Place 1

Incumbent Trish Bode, a communications director for state lobby giant Hillco Partners who was first elected in 2015, is being challenged by lawyer Melissa Glaze and Bryan Patton, who works in the information technology division at the Texas Education Agency.

Bode, 44, who in her career has watched legislative and policy issues, also has served as vice president of the Central Texas School Board Association, on the district’s policy advisory committee and a member of the Texas Association of School Boards legislative advisory council.

Glaze, 39, is an attorney for the state and works in the area of safety and prevention of pollution in the oil and gas industry.

Patton, 39, who has a doctorate in educational leadership, has served on multiple higher education committees, including for strategic planning and campus disaster planning.

Place 2

Three newcomers hope to be seated in Place 2, which is being vacated by Trustee Don Hisle, a 23-year veteran of the board.

Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, 45, is the executive director of the Hanger Foundation, which provides assistance to those with physical disabilities. She is the former executive director for the Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF), which provides resources to the district, and has a long list of volunteer work in and out of the district, including holding officer positions for the Leander district’s Council of PTA. Hisle has endorsed Gonzales-Dholakia.

Gary Hampton, 32, is an associate in the University of Texas’ historically underutilized business/small business program office. Hampton, who served for seven years in the U.S. Army, has a master’s degree in education leadership. He also serves on the city of Leander’s board of adjustment and appeal.

Sharyn LaCombe, 48, is a policy advisory for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, Office of Planning and the Environment. She also has served as an elementary school room mom and volunteered with a middle school athletic booster.

Place 6

Incumbent Aaron Johnson, the vice president of sales and marketing at Relationship One, a small consulting firm, is being challenged by Mike Fischer, who plans the technical direction and technologies that Netspend will use in automating its operations. Netspend is a provider of prepaid debit cards.

Johnson, 47, has served on the board since 2011 and is the sitting board president. He has served in the district’s Watch D.O.G.S. (dads of great students) program and on school boosters.

Fischer, 48, is a former teacher. He volunteers with the Seedling Foundation, which provides mentors to children who have a parent who is incarcerated. He is also a regular volunteer with Austin Pets Alive and the Central Texas Food Bank.

Place 7

Two candidates are competing for the Place 7 seat, being vacated by Trustee Will Streit who served has served on the board for a decade.

Elexis Grimes, 38, is the operations and managing director for the Texas division of WEXCO International, a construction management firm. Grimes participated in the district’s financial leadership program and has served on the district’s bond advisory and oversight committees.

Donnie Mahan, 43, is a director of business operations at Visa, who leads project managers in supporting technology for the company’s employees. Mahan, a former officer in the U.S. Army, has served on Leander’s districtwide educational improvement council and in the Watch D.O.G.S. program.



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