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AISD trustees appoint Wagner to D7 spot

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by Courtney Griffin

The Austin Independent School District concluded a more than six-week appointment process at its regular meeting Monday when, in a 7-0 vote — with Secretary Jayme Mathias abstaining — board members appointed Yasmin Wagner to South Austin’s District 7 seat. District 6 Trustee Paul Saldaña made the motion, and At-Large Board Member Kendall Pace seconded.

Wagner, a 44-year-old corporate communications manager, was chosen over a single challenger, 53-year-old Jonathan “Dale” Sump, an accountant and risk management specialist, to fill the seat of trustee Robert Schneider, who died of cancer in July.

Board President Gina Hinojosa said both candidates were extremely well-qualified for the positions, but that “ultimately, Ms. Wager was very well-versed and knowledgeable about District 7, and we could more quickly move forward on very important decisions facing District 7 and the district as a whole.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, both candidates received even support from residents in the community. However, Schneider’s widow, Kathleen Schneider, voiced her favor for Sump.

“His background on auditing and risk management is well-suited to the financial and data-driven issues in AISD. I think he could hit the ground running,” she said, noting his extensive experience with bond management practices and implementation within AISD.

Wagner will now fill the District 7 seat until the November 2016 election, after which voters will have a chance to elect a representative to fill the remainder of Schneider’s four-year term.

Schneider, a longtime representative for the South Austin area, was re-elected last November. In that election, Wagner pulled in 48 percent of the vote.

Over the past weeks, Wagner touted the experience she gained during last November’s election, specifically her familiarity with issues central to her District 7 constituency. Wagner also pointed out that she has served on the parent-teacher association boards of Gorzycki Middle School and Kiker Elementary School, acted as a delegate to the Austin Council of PTAs and sat on the AISD Boundary Advisory Committee, which addresses over- and under-enrollment on campuses.

“I’m ready to jump in, I’m ready to get to work,” Wagner said, noting that she wanted to ensure that she was up-to-date with the issues. “I think I’m working with a strong board, and I’m ready to work collaboratively with them.”

The AISD board will tackle issues regarding a possible land purchase for a future South Austin high school as well as the future of South Austin’s advanced academic programming in the next two months. Wagner did not go into specifics when asked about either Monday night.

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