Zornes elected DISD president; Trustees note 8-0 vote departs from past conflict

By Joshua Benton
Staff Writer

Page 30A

Ken Zornes was elected the new president of the Dallas Independent School District’s board of trustees Thursday night.

The board’s 8-0 vote was a sign that the district has moved beyond the chaos that marked recent years, trustees said.

The two previous transitions of power on the board – from Kathleen Leos to Hollis Brashear and from Mr. Brashear to Roxan Staff – were engineered with the support of only five on the nine-member board.

“I’ve been on the board for nine years, and this is the first election I can remember that wasn’t 5-4, 6-3,” Mr. Brashear said. “I think that shows the maturity of the board is changing. … This is the first time without the fighting and making a scene for the cameras.”

Ms. Staff said she had decided several months ago that she would not seek re-election to the post she had held for two years, in part because of the time the job required.

“My husband has a new name for Ken Zornes: ‘My best friend,'” she joked after the meeting.

Mr. Zornes, who has represented North Dallas’ District 1 for the last two years, said that he was taking over the board at an opportune time.

Board members have been pleased with Superintendent Mike Moses, who started in January after a string of unsuccessful district leaders. Test scores released last month showed substantial gains for district students.

“I feel very fortunate to have been asked to take this position under our current superintendent,” he said. “It’s like playing for the Yankees now.”

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Also Thursday, District 9 trustee Ron Price was elected first vice president and District 8’s Kathleen Leos was picked as second vice president. District 4 trustee George Williams was elected secretary.

Only trustee Rafael Anchia was not present for the votes. He is traveling overseas.

The previous first vice president, Se-Gwen Tyler, lost in a runoff Saturday. Her successor, Texas A&M-Commerce lecturer Llewellyn Blackburn, was sworn in Thursday night.