By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues
Dallas – She is a community and civic leader who always stresses the community’s voice and the people first when it comes to issues affecting the people.
Now, the people have dispatched here on a new mission: to give them a true voice and help change the face and future direction of education in Dallas Independent School District.
Joyce Foreman beat the odds being elected as the school board member to District 6 overcoming the onslaught of cash from big money contributors who supported her opponent and survived constant swats by Dallas Morning News who worked to water down her overall effectiveness as a leader and her years of dedication to community action and service.
“This election showed the people, if we work together we can win,” Foreman said. “Big money was spent to win this seat on the school board, but I always said “She can raise more money than me, but she can not and will not out work me. I spent countless hours knocking on doors, making phone calls, emailing, posting on Facebook and other means of communication to the people of District 6. The outcome was overwhelming. As you know, a 2 to 1 win in any election, is a big win.”
The win was a big blow to the Dallas business community and two influential education political action committees, which pumped $120,000 into Bertha Whatley’s bid, the most ever in a DISD race, according to Foreman.
Foreman, who only raised about $20,000, had Ranger’s endorsement and the name recognition as a activist who has spoken at many DISD board meeting for decades.
Foreman, who plays down those personal accolades, said once again her mission, focus and interests lie with serving the people and being their voice in shaping very critical education policies and decisions standing before the Dallas School Board.
“As you know I have been an advocate for the community for many years and believe that the people should have say in the government,” Foreman said in an interview with African-American News&Issues. “I was not endorsed by the Dallas Morning News, but the people in District 6 wanted someone they knew and could trust to speak to and act on their concerns and wishes for the education of all children. I can not remember one person asking me to change. They want a voice and want to be heard.”
Foreman is a community voice to be reckoned with and replaces former board member and education firebrand Carla Ranger, who recently vacated the seat and retired.
“Trustee Carla Ranger did an excellent job of representing the district and they wanted someone that would continue to be independent of the business community’s money,” Foreman said. “I have a true commitment to public education and believe that my knowledge of the workings of the district, along with being a former appointed official, will help to bring clarity to some of the issues that are stopping our children from moving forward with their education.”
From the board room to the streets, Foreman has marched, demonstrated and championed the cause of the people and the community being the mouthpiece for those needing their voices heard. Foreman was elected to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, representing District 6, in June of 2014. District 6 covers southwest Dallas.
However, her desire to make a difference started from her mother and neighborhood growing up.
She was born the only child and raised by a single mother in historic South Dallas Dixon Circle.
Foreman remembers those who lives impacted her growing up. Many of those were has very caring teachers, principals, parents and trustees with a single top priority – the education of all children under their care, guardianship and tutelage.
Foreman said her mother also conveyed very clearly to her at an early age of the importance of community, education and commitment.
Since those early days, Foreman has lived in Southwest Oak Cliff over 40 years. She also received her Bachelors in Management from Paul Quinn College and an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from El Centro College.
In 1981, after leading a successful career as a corporate buyer, Foreman decided to start and own a local company. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to form Foreman Office Products, a business venture that lasted 30 years until her retirement in 2011.
As both a business owner and community leader, Foreman will use her experience in education and the community to shape Dallas ISD in District 6 and throughout the district, where her efforts will directly impact students, teachers and staff.
She also brings a potpourri of community activism and experience to the Dallas School Board including over 30 years experience serving the children in DISD; 30 Years of Business Experience; service as Former Vice Chairman of DART (a $1 billion dollar agency); served on over 30 boards or commissions; served on the Commission for Educational Excellence; and currently serves on the DISD Bond Committee (since 2002) and attended most Board Meetings on a regular basis prior to being elected to the school board.
The reputation of being the community’s voice is not taken lightly by Foreman as she assumes the role of trustee. She already has marching orders from the community and has taken the position with confidence and support from her district.
Passionate about preparing our students to be the best and brightest, Foreman has held other leadership positions in the district as a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and the Commission on Educational Excellence. All this will serve her well in the new position.
“The children need and want us to do better,” she said. “I want to make sure that all of our children that can attend pre-K have an opportunity to do so, and I want to make sure that we have a certified teachers in each classroom. I also want to take a look at our discipline policy and make sure it is the best for our students and teachers.”
Other plans coming the forefront during her term as trustee will be :
Holding the Superintendent Mike Miles accountable for his job performance.
Fight and stopping the move towards Home Rule for DISD.
Reading focus. Working on plan that has all children reading at grade by the 3rd grade.
Increasing interests not only on college readiness, but also a greater focus on career readiness.
Increase parental involvement in Dallas ISD. Make parents must feel welcomed in the schools.
Incorporate time within the school day for teachers to collaborate on ways to address needs of the students, not just focusing on data alone.
“There is much work to be done,” she said. “With the help of our God and the community, we can get it done.”