By a nearly two-to-one margin, first-time candidate Miguel Solis defeated another newcomer, Kristi Lara, in the Dallas school board race for District 8. Solis' victory on Tuesday might represent another vote in support of embattled Superintendent Mike Miles.
Solis was considered the front-runner from the start. He used to be a teacher, then served as special assistant to Superintendent Mike Miles. He knows he faces a steep learning curve in his new job, and lists building relationships as his first big hurdle.
“My father always taught me trust in relationships, those things, they start with a conversation,” Solis said. “And it starts with you saying 'Here’s who I am, here’s what I believe and I’d love to hear your thoughts, your history.' And so what I want to do, I want to start having conversations, with fellow trustees, conversations with the superintendent and conversations with the community.”
Solis knows some view him as a Miles backer. But he says he’ll be objective in his assessment of the superintendent. School Board President Eric Cowan arrived at Solis’ victory party to welcome the new trustee, and says Solis will have a lot to learn.
“It’ll take six to nine months like it does for most trustees to learn how the system works and how you maneuver through policies and procedures and board meetings," Cowan said. "He’s further ahead than I was when I won."
Across town at opponent Kristi Lara’s event, Rena Honea, who leads Dallas’ largest teacher organization, says both candidates were well-qualified. Her group backed Lara, who, like the teachers, questioned reforms pushed by Miles. Now Honea will reach out to Solis, the newest member of the board.
“We’ll see what plays from now until that election time,” said Honea, referring to the District 8 race that will be held again next May.
Solis will serve the rest of the term vacated by Adam Medrano, now a Dallas City Council member. Solis already plans to seek reelection, and could face Lara once again.