OUR PLAN FOR A STRONGER FUTURE
RESPONSIBLE GROWTH STRATEGY
We must acknowledge the growth challenge our community faces. In as early as 2024, the district administration estimates enrollment across all schools will exceed capacity. Our district must meet these facility challenges through both expansion of existing schools and the construction of new schools.
I am in support of funding design for schools before bonding construction. So much of a project can change during the process of design and the price changes nearly 100 percent of the time. The board owes it to the community to go through this due diligence process before asking the community to take on debt or a potential higher tax burden for school construction to accommodate population growth. It also owes the community an opportunity to see the building plans before we proceed. That process fosters accountability and also helps to generate excitement over how we are all moving forward together with community input. I am well skilled in both the design and construction process and will bring this expertise to the board to ensure we do projects right the first time... everytime!
CLASSROOM SIZES & STUDENT/PARENT ENGAGEMENT
Every year it seems class sizes for our kids get larger. For those who grew up in Drip years ago, class sizes generally weren’t much of a problem. As our community grows and our teacher shortage and facility constraints linger, class sizes go up. A natural consequence of this circumstance is less one on one instruction time for each student in the class. It also results in more parents the teacher needs to communicate with on the progress of their student. The result... a million emails a week. Of course, I am exaggerating here, but I don’t believe e-mails are the most effective way to communicate with parents outside of general information. With the exception of a couple of parent teacher conferences a year, how much are we directly communicating with our teachers on our kid’s development progress? Anyone else missing the days where parents had to sign report cards? It would be my goal to re-think parental engagement. How can we enable parents to better support their child's learning outside the classroom? In order to do that, we need class sizes that afford teachers a chance to be able to partner with us on this goal. Accomplishing both will be a priority of mine for our district.
The safety of our kids in schools is paramount. Every parent sends their students to our schools trusting that everything is being done to keep them in safe and secure learning environments. School security is a complex thing. In my experience it takes good physical security, an effective accountability system, strong discipline, and a cohesive partnership with law enforcement and other emergency services to be able to prevent the worst-case scenario while dealing with the day to day.
I am a proponent of thoughtful, effective, common-sense solutions to our school security. No one of the variables I mentioned above alone will fully address this challenge. I have almost 20 years of military, government, and church security experience that I will bring to the board in developing a comprehensive school security strategy that will include a multi-faceted approach to ensure we do everything in our power to ready our schools to prevent, react, and respond to our 21st century security challenges.
HIRING & RETENTION
It goes without saying that the effects of the school closures and lockdowns of COVID-19 in 2020/2021 have made a complete mess of things when it comes to hiring for anything in today’s school districts. Simply put, there are a lot fewer people who want to be employed in a school district than there were in 2019. In my estimation that means that DSISD needs to compete for the best administration and teacher talent we can get for our kids. It means we need to retain our most promising and successful educators that are already on our staff. I do not believe we can or should settle for anyone with a certification who applies.
All that said, I am a proponent of a comprehensive teacher recruitment and retention program that strengthens the best of our current staff and provides competitive starting wages and benefits for prospective staff. I am in favor of incentives for those who exceed expectations and deliver amazing results for our kids. I am also in favor of identifying and training teachers who need more time to develop before placing them in positions where our kids will directly feel the impact of that in a negative way. As fast as education is moving in 2023, our kids deserve and should get the very best!
Rob has over 20 years of proven leadership experience across a wide variety of sectors, each with unique challenges and opportunities. He has made a career out of being a hardworking guy who can get “tough stuff” done.
Our Dripping Springs community is in an exciting, yet difficult time. We face the challenge of meeting the demands of a continuing population growth without compromising our friendly and familial sense of community that has been in place here for more than 100 years.
Our public schools are on the forefront of this reality facing our community. It will take strong leadership to navigate both meeting the demands of new schools without losing sight of the current challenges that we are facing today, including teacher / administration turnover, retention, transportation, aging infrastructure, classroom sizes, just to name a few. Rob welcomes the opportunity to represent this community in working with the district administration to solve these complex challenges in a way that our kids have every opportunity to excel today, tomorrow, and long into the future.
"The education system is an intricate set of forces all with one goal in mind – to guide children through their learning journey with their eyes set on their full potential and access to their dreams."
ABOUT ROB MCCLELLAND
Rob currently serves as Director of Operations for a large multi-site non-profit organization (church) in Austin, Dripping Springs and the Buda/Kyle communities. His primary responsibilities are Chief Financial and Operations Officer for the organization with a focus on financial stewardship and construction / maintenance of all church facilities.
Rob has held leadership positions in several organizations in the military, federal government, business and non-profit sectors. His 12-year career as an officer in the United States Army culminated as Logistics Director at the White House Military Office in Washington D.C. responsible for all logistical operations in support of Presidential Contingency Operations. In business, Rob spent time as Director of Operations for the nation’s third largest vacation rental company in Austin with an emphasis on high quality operations excellence and the recruitment and retention of employees serving in over 30 markets across the United States.
Rob holds a BS in Construction Science from Texas A&M University (minor in Business Administration)
In terms of his School/District Involvement, he was a Previous Watch Dog volunteer at Rooster Springs Elementary, supporter of Sycamore Springs Athletics and Band where his daughter is a student, frequent attender of Tiger Football Games... Go Tigers!
Community Activities involve Commissioner of a local Dripping Springs sports organization (baseball), heavily involved in local community support and events (Founders Day) through Bannockburn Church in Dripping Springs.
Rob is married to his wife Katy of 16 years. They have two awesome kids, Meghan (12) and William (9) who both attend DSISD schools. His wife, Katy, is a native Austinite who graduated from Bowie High School.
Rob grew up in deep South Texas and a product of Edinburg North High School. After two combat deployments to Iraq and upon completion of his assignment to the White House in D.C., his family returned to Texas as quick as they could! The McClellands moved to Dripping Springs in 2017 and love being a part of this community!