Bridge City, Texas – Bridge City Independent School District has two seats open on the BCISD Board of Trustees. Tom Orozco, who currently holds Place 6, has chosen to not seek re-election. Running for Place 6 is Michael C. Johnson, Mike Faulk, Chris Thomas Ed.D., and Jason “JP” Martin. Mark Anderson is seeking re-election by running for Place 7. He is opposed by Dale Simmons.

A general election will be held on May 14, 2011 at the Bridge City High School Gym Foyer, located at 2690 Texas Ave. Early voting will begin on May 2 and will last until May 6 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On May 9 and 10, voting can be done between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Michael Johnson, 48 and a 1980 graduate of Bridge City High School, is one of the four candidates running for Place 6. He currently employed by Petroleum Solutions, Inc. in Sales and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce. He has been an active board member of the BC Little League for the past seven years and is the currently Vice President of the Major and Minor Baseball Division. Johnson and his wife, Lori Landry Johnson, have volunteered as coaches for the six and seven year olds at the BCLL.

Johnson and Lori have three children: April, Michael and Bryson Banks.

April and Michael have both graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with honors and are working on their careers. Bryson, a junior at BCHS, is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and a member of the varsity football team.

“Through my daughter, I know the everyday struggles and challenges that teachers face,” Johnson said. His daughter, April, has years of experience in teaching in Texas, New York and Oregon.

“I am dedicated to working with and for the teachers,” Johnson said. “I believe that students and teachers need to come first, and I understand that for the students to be successful, the right education environment needs to be in place.”

Mike Faulk, 61, moved to Bridge City in 1973. Faulk has spent 31 years in education system in BC. Upon moving to Bridge City, he worked as a custodian for the school district during the summer and drove the morning and afternoon school bus route during the regular school year. He has experience teaching students from early childhood all the way up to seniors in high school, both regular and special needs. He coached softball for ten years and was in charge of concession stands for athletic events. His duties as the student council sponsor were organizing fund raisers, scheduling dances and organizing all homecoming activities.

While retired from full-time teaching, he continues to substitute teach at the high school.

Faulk holds a Bachelor of Science in speech and a Master of Education in supervision.

Faulk has been married to his wife, Linda for 39 years. Linda, now retired, taught school in Bridge City for 33 years. They are active members of St. Paul United Methodist Church.

They have two grown children, Malinda and Christy, both of whom graduated from BCHS. Faulk and Linda have three grandchildren: Grant, Seth and Luke. Grant currently attends school at Sims Elementary.

“I am seeking a position on the School Board because I would like to continue to serve the community, students and parents of Bridge City as I did for those 31 years,” Faulk said. “I feel that my experience in the field of education would help me be a productive member of the board. I have been involved with students, parents, fellow teachers and other staff and administration all of my adult life. I would like to continue to be involved in the capacity of a school board member.”

Chris Thomas Ed. D., 37, is an Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of Student Union and Student Activities at McNeese State University. He grew up in Bridge City and graduated from BCHS in 1992. He has had the opportunity to work in many different school districts and school systems. He has also chosen to run for Place 6 on the BCISD School Board.

“I feel like we’ve been fortunate with the leadership that we’ve had with Dr. Harrison,” Thomas said. “I think that the things that I am really concerned with are that we’re going to have a lot changes with getting these new buildings aligned. We’ve added a lot of new structures to the school district in the last ten years. It’s changed dramatically since I graduated.

“I am also concerned with the leadership loss we’re going to have in losing our superintendent. I want to make sure that the person that comes in is able to pick up and keep doing the good things [Harrison] was able to do.”

Jason “J.P.” Martin, 38, and his wife, Courtney Kelcher Martin, have both grown up in Bridge City and graduated from BCHS. Their two children, Cameron (age 12) and Makenzie (age 10) attend Bridge City Middle and Intermediate School.

They attend Winfree Baptist Church, where Martin and Courtney have been active in teaching the youth for the past six years.

Running for a school board seat has been a goal of Martin’s for a long time now.

“I have no agendas or platform to represent other than the desire to continue to make Bridge City one of the finest school districts in the state of Texas,” Martin said. “Having two children and many close friends and family members with children in the Bridge City School District, I want to be a part of the decision making processes that affect their learning environment and school activities that mold them for the next stages in their life. I look forward to serving you and your families and I would greatly appreciated your support.”

Mark Anderson, 51, currently the Place 7 BCISD Board Member, is the President of the George D. Anderson Surveying and Mapping, a family owned business founded by his father in 1979. Anderson has served on the BCISD for six years and held many positions on the board such as President. Prior to serving on the BCISD School Board, he served on the Bridge City City Council, the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission and as a community member of the Facilities Committee for the new Bridge City High School.

He is currently a member of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, the National Society of Professional Land Surveyors and Leadership Southeast Texas Alumni. He is an active member of St. Paul United Methodist Church and has served as member of the Firestone Community Federal Credit Union Board of Directors for three years.

“During the last six years as your Place 7 School Board member, the BCISD Board and staff have worked very hard to improve the education of our children and our facilities, and to keep your school district taxes down all in the midst of much adversity,” Anderson said.

“If re-elected, I will continue to focus on the strong achievements in the education of our children while ensuring the athletic programs and extracurricular activities are successful. I will work hard with my fellow board members to continue making financially sound decisions for our district. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Place 7 BCISD Board of Trustee for the last six years. I would sincerely appreciate your vote allowing me to continue serving a city and school district I so dearly love.”

Anderson has two daughters: Chelsea, a 2006 BCHS graduate and a 2010 graduate of Sam Houston State University, and Karli, a junior at BCHS.

Dale Simmons, 56, an instrument tech, is also running for Place 7. Simmons offers a fresh perspective to the school board and hopes to be a needed voice with the budget cut crisis that has struck the community.

“I feel like teachers need a voice with everything that’s been going on in the past two years,” Simmons said. “I just thought I could make a difference there. I always try to be very active in [my community] and have done a lot of volunteer work to help my community. I just felt like I can do a good job and be helpful to, not only the kids, but to the teachers in our district.”

The filing period for the upcoming elections ended on March 14, 2011.

The community is encouraged to get to know the school board candidates and vote this May.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers