Mason, Smith take home wins on TISD board

Published on Saturday, 10 May 2014 22:52 - Written by Emily Guevara eguevara

A three-term incumbent and a one-time private-school board member pulled out the victories for two Tyler ISD school board positions.

Complete, but unofficial results, showed incumbent the Rev. Orenthia Mason defeated challenger Cedrick Granberry in District 2.

In District 5, Barbara Smith defeated incumbent Ross Strader, who was appointed to the position in December.

Smith was elected to serve the remainder of an unexpired term, which will end in May 2015. The Rev. Mason was elected to serve a full three-year term.

The Rev. Mason received 242 votes, or 83.7 percent. Granberry received 47 votes, or 16.3 percent.

Mrs. Smith received 367 votes, or 57.5 percent. Strader received 271 votes, or 42.5 percent.

The Rev. Mason, 61, thanked the voters for their support and the committee that worked to help campaign for her re-election.

There is a lot of work ahead in the school district, she said. This includes the hiring of a superintendent and other key personnel, the completion of new schools and the implementation of the new graduation plan.

She said this will be her fourth and last term on the school board.

“I am excited again to have the opportunity to serve the students of Tyler ISD as well as the faculty and staff, and I invite the citizens to express any concerns that we might have so that we can continue to work together to improve education in Tyler,” said the Rev. Mason, who works as Texas College’s director of alumni affairs and external relations and retired from TISD after 30 years in education.

Granberry, 38, a small-business owner, said running for school board was a learning experience for him. Although he was saddened by the outcome, he said he is thankful for the support he received and believes that it was good for voters to have a choice.

“I really am proud for the opportunity,” he said. “The not winning does not silence how I feel. … I am still going to engage in the process of education for our children here in Tyler, and I am here, you know, to serve the people.”

Mrs. Smith, 66, praised God and thanked the voters for their support. She also thanked her family, friends and campaign manager.

“I’m excited about serving this community while representing the TISD school board, ” she said. “My platform is about community and parent involvement to bring our children to a higher, more successful educational experience while preparing them for an incredible future.

“I believe every child has gifts and talents that are (waiting) to be awakened. With parent and community involvement together we can make this happen.”

Mrs. Smith is a former educator and mother of seven children, six of whom attended TISD schools.

She taught at Bishop T.K. Gorman Regional Catholic School for five years, was a board member there for three years, and a substitute teacher in TISD for about 20 years.

Strader, 42, senior pastor at Bethel Bible Church, said in a statement that he is grateful for the opportunity he has had to serve on the school board the past five months and to make an impact on students.

“I have an even greater appreciation for all that goes into the business of educating the 18,000 children in our district,” he said. “I admire and commend our superintendent and the board of trustees for their service to our students and teachers each day, and will continue to support their efforts in every way I can. I encourage the board keep working together to give every child in Tyler ISD all they need to ensure a bright future.”