As you probably know, I ran for the Plano ISD school board in the 2013 local elections. I lost to the incumbent board trustee by 6%. Some win elections for the wrong reasons. I lost the elections for the wrong reasons… It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I will likely use the experience and the support I gained from it to run again.
However (and this is by no means an attempt to rationalize losing the elections…), there are two advantages for not being on the board. One is that you are less restricted in what you can do. First, as a board member, you cannot “help” a principal of a school that needs your help. There are a lot of things you have to clear with the administration before you can do them. If you are not a board member—you don’t have such restrictions. Second, as a board member you have to deal with things you might be less interested in, but still have to deal with. If you are not a board member—you can really focus on what you are passionate about.
That led me to ask myself: why did I run at the first place? What was I so passionate about? In one sentence, it was to help all Plano children be successful in life, and reach their highest potential. I can break it down to three areas: entrepreneurships, strengths assessment, and values/ethics.
At this point in time, I am “attacking” the first one: the discipline of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is about more than starting new businesses. It is about finding information about the environment or market, creating plans that will lead to success, and executing them. Without someone telling you what to do.
My campaign really started at a STEM Summit held in Richardson, one that I attended as a “representative of industry”, when I was asked “what does industry need from STEM education”, and my answer was “entrepreneurs”. I went on to explain that I have been an entrepreneur all my life, whether when I started a company in my own home, or when I worked for the 35,000-employee Texas Instruments. It struck me that if we engrain the discipline of entrepreneurship in our children—they will be successful. I do not want to create a generation of employees who do what they are told by their supervisors. I want to create a generation of independent thinkers.
Right now, I am promoting the creation of a “Young Entrepreneurs Academy” to the Plano Chamber of Commerce, PISD, Collin College, the Plano council of PTAs, and anyone in the community who is interested in helping this vision become reality. In the short term (hopefully in the 2013-14 school year), I would like to launch this as an after-school program, but in the long term I’m hoping to have this as an elective in our high (and maybe even middle) schools, one that will also offer dual credit with college.
As I promised after I lost the elections—I am not going away. I have only started.
Pictures from Campaign Kickoff Party 3/6
Photos: Ken Sharp