Opinion: The Fight for McKinney’s Schools

McKinney, Texas on a map | Image by SevenMaps

McKinney, Texas is beautiful city with a small-town vibe north of Dallas. The city retains its classic Texas aesthetic: friendly residents are likely to be found wearing cowboy hats and boots, enjoying the thriving town square surrounding its courthouse-turned-fine-arts-center. In short, it is the best of classic Texas. But McKinney has recently been making headlines for another reason: the upcoming school board election. Even McKinney’s mayor, George Fuller, jumped in, vigorously taking the side of the incumbents. Fuller, outspoken on Facebook and purchasing advertisements in the community paper blasting the challengers, claims they spread a message of “hate and division,” and that this “fabricated culture war is spurring teachers to leave their careers.” And yet, many have raised concerns about financial transparency and the quality of education at McKinney schools. McKinney ISD is now a B rated school district and according to the TEA website for 2021-2022; only 33% of McKinney students are reading at grade level; only 30% are at grade level for math; and only 33% are at grade level for science. The challengers want the best for MISD, for its administrators, teachers, staff, and students. Compounding their concerns about academic performance are widespread reports about harmful ideologies being introduced. These include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), linked to a decline in mental health where it is taught. DEI and SEL seek to tear down what traditionally makes McKinney a great place to live and learn.

So who are these school board candidates making news in McKinney? Rachel Elliott, Place 5, Brittany Hendrickson, Place 4, and Jim Westerheid, Place 6 (at large) are challenging McKinney ISD incumbents. Rachel Elliott, mom to a MISD elementary student, started having concerns about MISD policies after an incident when her child’s life was threatened in an assault in the school cafeteria. Her daughter was subsequently sent back to class, while the school neglected to inform Rachel of the event until much later in the day. Her investigation into school procedures eventually led to her realization that MISD libraries have well over 200 books containing adult content, including graphic sex act depictions. Many of these books are on the booklists being investigated in school boards across the state. Rachel, an avid reader, found it difficult to believe that these inappropriate books were accessible to McKinney’s children, but after realizing it was so, said, “When I found the truth of it, it made me fight harder to protect the innocence of the children.” Additionally, she is concerned the district isn’t doing enough to prevent access to sexualized content on the ISD apps and laptops: recently a link to a drag queen reading “a children’s book, ‘Julián Is a Mermaid,’ while wearing a colorful wig, heavy makeup, and a sequined starfish bra” was discovered. She was also troubled to find CRT videos accessible to the kids on the Brain Pop app. Rachel, herself from a mixed-race family, is disgusted with the ideology that seeks to pit her own family members against one another. She says she didn’t want to be an activist, she just wants to protect her child and the children of McKinney.

In addition to wanting to protect the children, Rachel is concerned for the well-being of the teachers. After being a class mom for six years, she knows how hard teachers work to serve the kids and she wants to promote their safety by hiring more school resource officers and giving teachers more freedom in the classroom to teach in ways that best serve the individual students, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach handed down from the administration.

McKinney ISD is losing teachers at a rapid rate (over 500 in the last two years alone), and Jim Westerheid, Place 6, with his extensive corporate experience in problem solving and conflict management, wants to develop solutions that will support and encourage teachers, enabling them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Jim, a licensed engineer, respects McKinney ISD’s hard working teachers and wants to include them in decisions that directly impact teachers, including classroom instruction. Moving away from the heavily-administrative, top-down approach, he will encourage teachers to have more of a say in children’s education.

Over the past three years, Jim attended nearly every school board meeting and observed the often confrontational relationship of the board to the public, including the board having issuing a “criminal trespassing” order to a parent after he simply raised his voice at a school board meeting. Jim would like to approach these disagreements with mutual respect for all parties, while allowing room for disagreement. His driving philosophy is that of servant-leadership, which he defines according to these principles: believing in and respecting others; personal humility; ethical service; supporting the teachers; and establishing a positive tone in the organization. Jim believes transparency will go a long way in creating an atmosphere of trust where board, administrators, teachers, and parents all work to do what’s best for the students.

Brittany Hendrickson, Place 4, is passionate about transparency. Brittany, a COO and property tax consultant wants to use her extensive financial auditing experience to serve McKinney taxpayers, ensuring that the school district puts its over $250,000,000 budget to the best use for McKinney students. Brittany believes the district stonewalls financial information requests and that MISD needs to open the books and create financial transparency.

This hard-working mom became concerned about her daughter’s education after the Covid-19 shutdowns. Her kindergartner (at the time) spent hours on her laptop, and the extended screen time discouraged the child and gave her headaches. Brittany was shocked to discover the schools have children read to a computer AI, named “Amira”, taking away the personal connection and feedback young elementary students need. Given McKinney’s drop to a B-rating, Brittany says, “I am concerned with the direction our public schools are headed in. Our kids deserve A rated schools and our teachers need to feel supported and appreciated. It’s time for McKinney ISD to change course and get back to the basics of reading, writing, and math and to prepare our students for lifelong success.”

Rachel Elliott, Jim Westerheid, and Brittany Hendrickson love McKinney, love McKinney teachers and students, and want to serve the district, bringing back the basics of education to create a strong future for the children of McKinney. This is why they are running for MISD school board positions.

Support our non-profit journalism


  1. R Reason

    School ratings are down nationwide, and have nothing to do with Diversity Equity Inclusion causing mental health issues or a “tear down” of traditional (McKinney) learning. That’s a desperate leap using fear and paranoia. But, it begs the question, is “book banning” and an alternate definition of DEI (Discrimination Exclusion Intolerance) a better idea; one that will result in higher school ratings and “lifelong success”? 

    Also, sounding the alarm with disinformation about someone else’s mental health, ironically, might also be a sign of a mental health issues (psychosis), if not, then fanatically irresponsible. That survey applied to “transgender youth” (the 1.8% outliers), not the other 98.2% of (your) children.  But, it begs another question, ever wonder if the mental health of trans youth might be the result of society’s raging discrimination, exclusion and intolerance of them? 

    Grow up kids, or you’ll end up like that train wreck over at GCISD.

    • Andres

      “But, it begs another question, ever wonder if the mental health of trans youth might be the result of society’s raging discrimination, exclusion and intolerance of them?”

      Considering suicidal ideation and depression among trans youth is identical in places like San Francisco and Seattle as it is in Houston, Atlanta and Raleigh. I would say that no, it doesn’t matter about “discrimination, exclusion and intolerance of them”. Unless you believe there is no difference in inclusion in a place like San Francisco v Houston.

      As someone who used to say, with regularity, “who cares what someone does that doesn’t affect me” regarding this issue. I can admit that I was wrong. It’s clearly become a social contagion. Yes, that’s a “buzzword of the right” but it is the best descriptor.
      If it’s not a social contagion, then why is there a genetic bottleneck happening predominantly (by several magnitudes) in middle-upper class white liberal families. And almost exclusively to that population. Not poor white, or poor-upper class black hispanic or Asian liberal families. Just upper-middle class white liberal ones?

      I’m not going to go out on some tangent about “grooming” or “indoctrinating the kids” like these board members may even say. But the fact of the matter is the celebration of non-binary (beyond gay and lesbian) is absolutely having a negative response on the youth and psyche of our country. It just is.

      Now what’s the solution? I don’t know. It’s quite possible that the exclusion hurts existing trans people. But if the trade off is getting our youth back to regularity of gender norms and better mental health, I’m willing to “sacrifice” their mental health for the future of our youth’s. Harsh? Maybe. But there is rarely, if ever, a “perfect answer”. And to pretend inclusion and (moreso) celebration has zero consequences is simply putting your head in the sand for the sake of feeling morally superior.

  2. pennstate

    author is correct about alll schools in america

    the left has proven their willingness to make americans submit….”or else”

    do whats right mckinney and show the rest of texas you know how to handle the leftists

    • THORR

      During the 1920s, German Communists developed Marxist “Critical Theory”, which attempted to explain the failure of the globalist Communist Revolution (“Workers of the World, Unite!”) to spread beyond the Russian Empire. The Communists decided that concepts like National Identity, Patriotism, National Traditions, Family Traditions, and Religious Traditions were obstacles to the spread of the Revolution. During the 1960s and 70s, Communists in the USA developed Marxist “Critical Race Theory”. Basically, Marxist CRT replaces “oppressed workers” with “oppressed minorities”, as a tactic, in the spread of Communist ideology. Two of the “big lies” that derive from Marxist CRT are “Systemic Racism” and “White Privilege”.
      Some interesting books:
      “American Marxism”, by Mark Levin
      “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism”, by Paul Kengor
      “United States of Socialism”, by Dinesh D’Souza
      “BLM-Making a new Marxist Revolution”, by Mike Gonzalez
      “Dupes-How America’s Enemies Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century”, by Paul Kengor

      • R Reason

        Race-baiting…criminal defendant Trump’s worst quality.  Well done.

  3. Tammy

    Who wrote this without mentioning Serena Ashcroft? She is not an incumbent but is super conservative and a much stronger candidate than Jim for Place 6. She has the best chance of winning.

    • Jeremiah Hammer

      No, she is not.

      • Brandi

        Thank you, Jeremiah. Just thank you!

    • Brandi

      No Tammy Warren, she does not.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article