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Early Voting Starts Tomorrow, 3 Katy ISD Board of Trustees Seats on Ballot

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

October 12, 2020

By Natalie Cook Clark


While the presidential race holds the world’s attention, locally, residents can vote to fill three positions on the Katy ISD Board of Trustees. Early voting starts tomorrow - get to know the candidates before heading to the polls.


The Katy ISD Board of Trustees includes seven individuals. Together, they oversee the District’s policy-making decisions and act as the official trustees for all parents, teachers, staff, students, and the taxpayers who reside within the public-school district of Katy.


Currently, Susan Gesoff, Duke Keller, Lance Redmon, and Dawn Champagne are serving out terms on the Board. Positions 3, 4, and 5 are up for election this season. The election was postponed from last May to this November because of concerns over COVID-19. The Board needed to focus their energies on leading Katy ISD through an unprecedented time.

Now, these three positions will be at the end of a long ballot, although they have some of the greatest impact over Katy families with students in Katy ISD.

Ashley Diehl Vann - Position 3

Ashley Diehl Vann is not a new face to those who follow the Katy school district. She is serving her seventh year as secretary for the Katy ISD Board of Trustees and is running unopposed for re-election.

Previously, Vann has served as president and vice president for the Katy ISD Board of Trustees as well as held numerous roles including president of the PTAs at Alexander Elementary, Beckendorff Junior High, and Seven Lakes High School. She is an avid and dedicated community volunteer who has lived in Katy for 27 years and is a graduate of James E. Taylor High School.

While she is running unopposed, Vann still shares her goals for the future.

“I plan to first to keep Katy ISD on the current and successful path of managing growth and continued excellence in curriculum and co-curricular activities,” says Ashley Diehl Vann. “Second, I want to have a transparent and high functioning board, and “Team of 8” with the superintendent.”

Vann stresses the importance of working together to ensure the safety and security of the students and staff. She is a proud product of Katy ISD and believes in this District. The Vanns have three children who have all gone through Katy schools. Their youngest daughter attends Seven Lakes High School.

Something People Don’t Know

Ashley graduated from Taylor High School the same year her husband, J. Scot Vann, graduated from Katy High School.

“One thing most may not know is that we did not know each other while in high school,” says Vann.

The pair met through friends while he attended A&M and she attended SMU.



Michael Dillard - Position 4

Running for the first time for the position 4 seat on the Board is former teacher Michael Dillard. He comes from a long line of teachers. He currently serves as a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for AECOM but was inspired to run for the school board by his wife, a Katy teacher.

“I want to work to bridge the gap in the community to work as one Katy moving forward,” says Michael Dillard.

If elected, Dillard wants to maintain fiscal responsibility, transparency, community input, and address bonds for continued District growth. In addition, he says he would focus on student and teacher/staff safety, resources for bullying and mental health, increased support for teachers, teacher retention/recruitment, and to close the achievement gap by fine tuning an already exceptional Special Education program.

“We strongly support the District’s Special Education program, having two children involved with their own 504 plans, working with the District to support their educational needs,” says Dillard.

The Dillard family has lived in Katy for 10 years.

“Our three children (13, 12, and 10) help keep us plugged into what is going on at the campus and classroom level,” says Dillard. “My wife, Annie, who is in her 10th year of teaching elementary (eighth in Katy ISD) has had a huge impact on my desire to serve our District,” says Dillard.

Something People Don’t Know

“Volunteering and giving back to my community is what drives me,” says Dillard.

He volunteers through church, the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, coaching youth sports, PTA, and more.

However, an additional fun fact is his love for music.

“I went to LSU on a full music and academic scholarship and played the trombone in both the LSU marching band and the symphony,” says Dillard. “To this day, I still enjoy playing trombone for my family.”


Leah Wilson - Position 4


Running against Michael Dillard is Leah Wilson, a Katy mom of four and retiree from the United States Air Force. Wilson and her family have lived in Katy for six years, where she has served in many volunteer positions with church, various PTAs including several years as president, a leader for a Girls Scouts troop, and more.

Wilson is a strong advocate for the mental health of Katy students.

“This year has proven that our children’s mental health is incredibly important,” says Leah Wilson. “I will advocate for a continuum of community support, broaden access to school mental health, and seek to improve collaboration to provide integrated mental health care.”

“I want to further expand career training education (CTE),” says Wilson. “In creating additional opportunities, students will be more prepared to pursue immediate employment.”

Wilson is also campaigning on the goals to support hiring and retention along with better pay for teachers. She also wants to focus on greater transparency through the community and build a more equitable educational environment for all students from Special Education, Gifted and Talented, English Language Learners and other diverse educational needs.

“I believe that my 20 years of service to our country, and the variety of experiences in the school districts my children have attended, has left me with the skills that make me prepared to serve as a school board trustee for Katy ISD,” says Wilson.

Something People Don’t Know

“My grandfather served in the Polish Armed Forces, and more importantly was a concentration camp survivor,” says Wilson. “His determination and strength are alive and well within me.”



Bill Lacy - Position 5


Seeking re-election, is 25-year Katy resident Bill Lacy. He may work for Independent Bank, but he’s known across the city for his passion for Katy schools, especially the Katy Tigers.

“My goals are to update our Strategic Design,” says Bill Lacy. “Our five-year Strategic Design is set to ‘expire’ in 2022. We need to take what we have done and build on it.”

Lacy stresses that Katy ISD needs to continue to strive to be a top employer in the state of Texas by increasing Katy’s academic standing in the state and plan for the next 10 years of growth.

“My background of real estate and finance has prepared me for the financial and planning aspect of being a trustee,” says Lacy. “My passion for history has helped me to look to the past accomplishments and decisions from previous boards, which has helped me to learn from their accomplishments.”


Lacy serves in a number of volunteer and school board related roles including the Katy ISD Board of Trustees Vice President, Board of Directors, delegate, training partner, Mexican American School Boards Association (MASBA) voting representative, member, and Gulf Coast Area Association of School Boards (GCAASB) member.


He and his wife Patti Lacy and have four children.


Something People Don’t Know

“My love for cooking has moved me to be on a cooking team that has won or been runner up in several charity cooking competitions for both my gumbo and chili recipes,” says Lacy.

If you see Lacy in his dress shoes, don’t forget to check out his “fun” socks!

Greg Schulte - Position 5


Engineer by trade, Katy resident for 20 years by choice, Greg Schulte is running for a Katy ISD Board of Trustees seat for the first time. Schulte is married with four children.


If elected, Schulte promises to lead by first listening to the parents, teachers, and students on challenges they are currently facing.

Katy ISD has always been an exceptional district, and there is always room to do better,” says Greg Schulte. “I have had countless interactions with concerned community members over issues from the handling of COVID-19 to racism to special education concerns to teacher appreciation and many more.”

“People have valid concerns, and great ideas,” says Schulte. “I plan to listen to the community, understand the key topics, and work with other board members and the Superintendent to identify gaps and develop action plans to correct them.”

Schulte has an engineering degree and has been a project manager of large complex international and domestic oil and gas projects for over 30 years.  He’s currently in the ownership group of a mid-sized engineering firm with over 500 employees with eight offices in three countries.

“I have served on the Board of Directors of my company for the last five years,” says Schulte. “Being a business owner, board member, and project manager, I have a wide range of responsibilities/experience. I feel these skills, along with my strong character, work ethic, ability to listen and work with others, and my sincere desire to give back to this community make me a great fit for this position.”

Schulte has played an active role in his children’s activities including soccer, basketball, theatre, and choir.  

Something People Don’t Know

“I like to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone (with anything but new food!),” says Schulte. “I am constantly looking for opportunities to stretch my mind by learning new things, reading lots of books, meeting new people and taking on new challenges like running for the Katy ISD Board of Trustees.”

His vices include any physical challenge such as mountain climbing or snow skiing.  



Voting Information

Early voting for national and local elections, including the Katy ISD School Board of Trustees, starts tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13 and runs through October 30. Click here to find an early voting site in your area, and hours of operation.

Election day is November 3. Click here for hours and locations.

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