School board says goodbye to two of its own

Two longtime members of the Wharton ISD Board of Trustees were honored at Thursday’s regular meeting for 12 years of service, as they are stepping down. Trustees Rachel Rust, left, and Christine Stransky, third from right, did not file for re-election. Pictured from the left are Rust, Miguel Santes, Superintendent Michael O’Guin, Curtis Evans, Stransky, Sherrell Speer, and Fred Johnson.

Members of the Wharton Independent School District Board of Trustees said goodbye to two of their own at Thursday’s regular meeting.

Trustees Rachel Rust and Christine Stransky did not file for re-election and the meeting was their last. Both first joined the board in 2010 and they served 12 years.

Superintendent Michael O’Guin presented them with plaques.

“These two members were here when I was hired back in April of 2020. I’ve had wonderful conversations and phone calls with both of these board members,” he said. They’ve asked lots of questions, they challenged me to grow as a new superintendent and as I graduated from year one, in the year two, they both continue to push and, and tell me to be the best that I can be. They’ve been very supportive and understanding and they both have a lot of knowledge and wisdom and we’re gonna miss them as they transition off of the board and we welcome two new members to our team of eight.”

After posing for photos one last time as a board, Stransky and Rust then made presentations of their own. They took turn talking about qualities and attributes of tigers and matched them up with the remaining board members and O’Guin. They gave each one a tiger figurine as a gift.

“I did tell Mr. (Board Chair Curtis) Evans that your meetings can be a little shorter,” joked Stransky, who, with Rust, has a reputation for asking a lot of questions at board meetings.

Let’s Talk

O’Guin asked Public Relations Coordinator Bridget English to update the board on the Let’s Talk program on the district’s website that allows people to send messages to different departments within the district.

“Part of my promise to you guys is that we will be transparent, that we would answer questions that the community has, and we would do it expeditiously in a timely manner,” O’Guin said. “And so the industry standard is … that you respond within 48 hours, and if you’re not going to be able to respond within 48 hours, you at least need to make contact and let them know that you have received information from them.”

English explained to the board how Let’s Talk works and the results the district has had with it.

“It’s an innovative customer service solution that allows our parents, our students, community members to be able to ask questions, make comments, make suggestions, 24 hours, seven days a week. We began utilizing Let’s Talk in the summer of 2020,” she said.

She said the last time she updated the board in January, there were 159 completed dialogs.

“We had had 65 feedback forms and out of that 65, 60 of them are positive five were negative,” she said. “Our dialog age at that time was .4, so that was a little bit less than half a day. And our customer service score was a nine out of 10. As of April 22 … we’ve had 357 closed dialogs.

“We’ve had 135 customers complete the feedback form and 122 of those were positive we’ve had 13 negative. We are at a .6 dialog age, which means that we’re basically responding to the dialogs a little bit over and half a day. So less than a full day which is good. And our customer service score is still at a nine out of 10,” she said.

English said Let’s Talk tab can be found on the left side of the WISD homepage (www.whartonisd.net) and said the form must be completely filled out so they know where to send the communication and who gets the response. Once the information is exchanged and any questions answered, the dialog is closed. The person using the system is then asked to rate their satisfaction.

English said use of the system ebbs and flows. She said there is increased activity whenever something comes up, such as the recent decision to prohibit backpacks at the schools. She said there are a handful of parents who discovered Let’s Talk as a quick, effective way to communicate and they use it often.

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