In many communities, school board elections are not contested races. There is one candidate willing to serve, and he or she is voted into office. This year in Galveston is different; there are three candidates vying for the position in District 6-F and two running in District 5-E.

Galveston is fortunate to have five individuals who care so much about what is happening in our public schools that they are putting themselves up for election.

We are also fortunate that The Daily News takes its commitment to educating and informing the public seriously. I am grateful that Leonard Woolsey and Michael A. Smith have stepped forward to initiate a public forum that will allow Galveston voters to get to know the five civic-minded individuals, Laura Addison, Matthew Hay, Beau Rawlins, Johnny Smecca and Sandra Tetley, who are running for seats on the school board.

Thanks to The Daily News, the community will have the opportunity to hear directly from all five candidates about their backgrounds, qualifications, motivations, goals, and viewpoints.

As a community, we entrust decision making about the education of our most precious individual and community asset, our children, to the board of trustees of the Galveston Independent School District. We should be well-informed before we head to the polls to cast our ballot because our votes are impacting the future of our young people.

Thanks also to Donna Lang, Erica Adams and Raymond Lewis for agreeing to serve as a panel to begin the process of asking questions of each of the candidates. The Daily News will assemble questions from the public and share these with the candidates in advance of the forum; the panel will pose these questions and ones of their own that evening.

Written questions from the audience also will be taken during the event as time allows. Leonard Woolsey will serve as moderator for the forum. Thanks to the Rotarians who have agreed to act as ushers and runners for the evening.

So here are the particulars: School Board Candidates Forum is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the auditorium of Central Middle School, 3014 Sealy St., in Galveston. I would encourage you to attend and hear from and ask questions of all five candidates for the district’s board of trustees. And also thank them all for their willingness to serve.

Editor’s note: Send your questions to with the words “GISD forum questions” in the subject line. As of Sunday, only candidates Matthew Hay and Johnny Smecca had committed to attend. We’ll report it when more respond to the invitation, which was issued Thursday.

Betty Massey lives in Galveston. Her three children: Dane, Jennifer and Brian attended Parker, Weis and Central, and graduated from Ball High School.


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