Meet Your Candidate
My name is Julie Hinaman. As a parent of CFISD students, an active volunteer, and a local taxpayer, I am a voice of the community. I look forward to working as a Trustee to set goals and to provide resources to insure all students have the educational opportunities to achieve success.
[As told at the June 14, 2018 CollaborAction Luncheon for Leadership ISD]
The 1st time I ran I away, I didn’t get very far before getting caught. It was night time and dark but there was an event at my middle school that evening, and I thought if I could just make it there, I would be ok.
You see, for me…. school was my safe place. A place where grownups didn’t hit you or yell at you or… ignore you…which is sometimes worse.
School was clean and structured and had rules and you could read as many books as you wanted. School had good food…. well, I thought it was pretty good. Best of all, it was…. reliable.
The 2nd time I ran away, I made it all the way from my little town in North Oklahoma to the big city of Houston. It was the last day of school of my junior year when I left. I had a relative in Houston who didn’t want me in the house, so I stayed in his garage apartment. Senior year was pretty rough. I went from a campus that was K – 12 and everyone in town went to school together to a large high school where I knew no one. I still graduated with honors in the IB program and remember sitting on the stage at Jones Hall for graduation, crying through the entire ceremony…. not feeling proud or happy,but feeling tired and relieved.
No one told me I could go to college, but no one told me I couldn’t….so I did. Putting myself through college thanks to scholarships, a grant, a loan, and free room and board as a RA in the dorms. A couple of years as a Hall Director not only paid for room and board but also gave me a small salary to pay for books and health insurance. I’m a proud graduate of the University of Houston. Go Coogs!
Fast forward through years in the corporate world and many life events, I found myself back in school. This time as a volunteer in my daughter’s elementary school. While classrooms have changed a lot, what hasn’t changed is that school is a safe place for many kids. Through my observations as a volunteer in classrooms, on PTO Boards, and as a mentor, I see first-hand the difference our teachers make in their students’ lives.
I am a mentor for a middle schooler named Grace. Grace lives in an apartment that was damaged by Hurricane Harvey with her little brother and her mom who is unable to work due to a disability. Grace struggles in school and will be attending summer school so she can go to high school next year. (fingers crossed). Of course, we’re also waiting to see if she passed the STAAR tests. It would be easy for Grace to get lost, but her school and her teachers work so hard to keep her afloat, to let her know they see her and care about her, that they believe in her and want her to be successful.
Grace’s story is not the same as my story. She has her own story that must be respected and valued. But for Grace, like me…. school is her safe place…where she can not only survive, but also thrive.
Becoming more involved in my local public schools, talking with teachers, working with students…I found my passion. I found myself standing up to those who criticize our public schools. I started reading everything I could find on how public schools are funded, about school choice, about assessment and accountability, about governance.
As a member of the CFISD Community Leadership Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to advocate for my school district within our local community and with our state legislators. But it’s not just about my kids and my school district. We need to protect the right to an exceptional education for ALL children.
Lessons Learned as an Education Advocate
I’m grateful for a friend at Exxon in HR who sent me an email about a year ago about an organization called Leadership ISD…she said ” This sounds like you”. After the very first session, I told my husband….” I found my tribe”. But it hasn’t been a piece of cake. This year in Leadership ISD has been enlightening, empowering, and also exhausting. Learning about the foundations of educational inequity and systemic biases in education. Digging deeper into racial discrimination and institutional injustice. It’s discouraging and frustrating. It’s hard work but it’s important work.
Sharing space with all of the incredibly intelligent and passionate members of this inaugural class has been a privilege. I’ve learned so much and my own prejudices and preconceived ideas have been challenged. It has truly been an honor and a life-changing experience to know you.
Thanks to the support of Leadership ISD, I had the opportunity to testify to the Commission for Public School Finance in March. I’m learning to tell my story in hope of making connections to others, so we can do the work together.
Why I'm Running
- As a parent, I value the education my children are receiving as students.
- As a volunteer, I have observed the positive impact educators, staff and community partners have on our kids.
- As a local taxpayer, I understand the need for fiscally responsible decisions.
As a parent of CFISD students, an active volunteer, and a local taxpayer, I am a voice of the community. I look forward to working as a Trustee to set goals and to provide resources to insure all students have the educational opportunities to achieve success.
I am the parent of two CFISD students and have lived in CFISD for 16 years. I have volunteered in many capacities throughout the school district including mentoring students and serving as Chairman of the Community Leadership Committee.