“The undercurrent you’re hearing tonight is the tension between equity and quality,” said Dr. Linda K. Johnson, president and CEO of LIFT and a panelist for the Mayor’s Star Council’s November Corporate Meeting.

The November Corporate Meeting, hosted at T.R. Hoover CDC in District 7, focused on primary and secondary education in Dallas. Experts and community leaders in various roles across Dallas Independent School District and the non-profit sector offered perspectives on issues that chiefly dealt with school funding. Hot topics included total taxable value per weighted student, state funds and the recent T.R.E. (tax ratification election) opportunity. 

"We wanted the November Corporate Panel to be held at the T.R. Hoover CDC because of the life-changing childcare and education they provide for primary and secondary students in the Lincoln and Madison feeder schools since it is right in the heart of South Dallas: our MSC focus area for the month of November," said Mayor's Star Council Member David Reeves, who works with Education is Freedom and helped put together this month's Corporate Meeting and service project.

Johnson was joined on the panel by Garrett Landry, head of Education Initiatives for Williams Family Foundation; Ben Mackey, principal at TAG Magnet; Marcia Page, president and CEO of Education Is Freedom; and Bernadette Nutall, Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, District 9. April Bowman, CEO of Bold Believers United and MSC alum, moderated the conversation.

“For Primary and Secondary Education, we could have dove right into the problems, however, we decided to set the stage first by highlighting how school funding was raised  – local, state and federal – and how many kids and schools have access to the total school budget,” explained Kyle Turbitt, who is a member of Mayor’s Star Council Class Six (2017-2018) and helped plan and guide the panel.

In addition to funding, the panel delved into implementation of new systems and the progress that has been made over the past few years around in-school resources and partnerships with local community colleges.

“We tried to not just single out the budget limitations, but also issues with teachers and the number of kids leaving the public school system,” Turbitt said.


The funding-focused panel on Primary and Secondary Education in Dallas was paired with a service project revolving around college preparedness. More than 20 Mayor’s Star Council members and alumni volunteered at the HBCU College Fair at Beckley-Saner Recreation Center, organized by the City of Dallas Park & Recreation Department. Between 500 and 600 attendees met representatives from local and national HBCUs and attended a panel on the college application process organized by the Mayor’s Star Council.

“I think the pump up session before the official fair started was exciting to watch since the students were starting to get engaged and participating in the pep rally-like environment (with) band, dance performance, music, etc.,” said Aline Bass, a member of the Mayor’s Star Council Class Six (2017-2018) that helped oversee the service project. “The panel worked well and the interest from attendees was highlighted by all those who stayed after to keep asking questions to panelists.”

In all, more than 90 students and parents attended the Mayor’s Star Council college application panel.

We’d like to extend our appreciation to both our Corporate Meeting,  HBCU College Fair panelists and the City of Dallas Park & Recreation Department. Specifically, thank you to T.R. Hoover’s Sherri Mixon, who generously provided a location for our Corporate Meeting with close to 40 attendees. To learn more about T.R. Hoover, click here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbYomIm2prU) to watch a video produced by the State Fair of Texas. To become involved with the organization, Mixon broke down T.R. Hoover’s needs into four verticals: community exposure, community education, community accessibility and community partnerships.