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Meet the Candidates: Theartris Childress III, D161 (free content)

Theartris Childress III

Age: 46

Education: B.S. Biology, Xavier University of Louisiana; M.A. Curriculum and Instruction, Xavier University of Louisiana; Ed.D. Educational Leadership, National Louis University.
Job/role: Executive director, Transformations Advisory Group.
Family: Wife, Tanika Childress, and three children.
Other elected positions: N/A

School boards are faced with the difficult task of deciding how to allocate limited resources to provide a quality education for all students.

One of the most important issues facing the District161 school board is in improving student achievement through long-term strategic planning that places an even greater emphasis on student learning. This planning must address the current facility needs in older buildings that hamper the expansion of innovative academic and extracurricular student program offerings.


At its crux, District 161 has the responsibility to ensure that all students are high school ready. This responsibility includes not only meeting and exceeding academic standards, but also to be prepared socio-emotionally, having high character and obtaining the executive functioning skills to thrive in high school.

As a life-long educator, I am passionate about the deep need in the nation’s educational system for equity and excellence for all students. I aspire to assist District 161 to ensure that the academic needs of diverse students are met and that all students receive equitable educations. Therefore, I advocate for equity in resources and opportunities for all students by recognizing that not all students are the same, and those with less will need more in terms of time, attention, and support. Race and class should not predict achievement.

I fundamentally believe in the core value of educator and student relationships and the power of teacher expectations in influencing student performance. Passionate and skilled teachers build students’ strengths into confidence and competence. 

My priorities include: Mastery-based instruction. Teach to the way that students learn, rather than expecting them to adjust their learning to a rigid, set way of teaching. Teachers should focus on evidence of mastery and performance, viewing the work produced as a reflection of their teaching.

Increase the number of students who are college-ready entering high school. Align discipline practices to educational goals. 

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